In his first paragraph of the Music Notes found in the Order of Service for “A service to honour Queen Elizabeth II and her Ninetieth Birthday” Christ Church Cathedral (CCC) chorister, Stephen Wright penned the following: "This weekend (June 11 and 12, 2016) marks the official celebration of the Queen’s ninetieth birthday as we acknowledge with gratitude a lifetime of ongoing service as Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”
We sometimes forget that Queen Elizabeth is “Defender of the Faith”, a dedicated servant of God and someone very committed to her faith and to the Church.
This traditional Evensong Service was celebrated at 3pm on June 12 at Christ Church Cathedral. The music in worship was led by Cathedral Choir; the Cathedral’s organist and director of music, Rupert Lang; and conducted by guest conductor, Bruce Pullan. In the Order of Service Welcome section the congregation was reminded that “Much of this service is sung by the choir, and as the choir offers its music, we are released from the need to form our own words and phrases. As music and words come together and enrich each other, our senses and intellects, our hearts and minds are drawn closer to God, who is above all and in all and through all.”
The service began with the Introit “We wait for thy loving kindness, O God…” composed for the marriage of the then-princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in Westminster Abbey, November 20, 1947, and then there was a stirring singing of the first (and best known) verse of O Canada.
The Bidding Prayer, thanking God for the reign of the Queen was offered by the Reverend Dr. Ellen Clark-King. The Old Testament, 1 Kings 1:32-40 was read magnificently by long-time Vancouver actor, Shirley Broderick, and likewise the Epistle, Ephesians 1:15-23 by Bernard Cuffling. Both Cuffling and Broderick left their native England for careers in Canada and have been in this country for most if not all of the Queen’s reign. The choir with cantor, Troy Topnick led the Responses and Collects, Cathedral clergy, the Reverend’s Philippa Segrave-Pride and Alisdair Smith offered a Thanksgiving Prayer. The service ended with a blessing from Dean Peter Elliott, an exit procession featuring piper, Alex Galloway and the singing of God Save the Queen.
Considering that the afternoon of June 12 contained the only few hours that weekend of decent weather , the turnout was excellent. Approximately 150 gathered to honour the Queen and be inspired and uplifted by the music of: McKie, Smith, Davies, Stanford, Howells and Wood beautifully sung by Cathedral Choir.