AN intriguing mix of the ancient and modern is included in a new and different service held at a Chester church.
The service, at St Thomas of Canterbury on Walpole Street, takes place in the quiet of the evening, each Sunday at 9pm during term time at the neighbouring university.
The vicar, Father Peter Walsh, says it combines the best of modern Catholicism and the charismatic movement.
Long after most churches have packed away their hymn books and tidied their prayer books after evensong, a group gathers around a coffee table at the back of the church.
Striking in its simplicity, the small area provides the setting for a service which takes the simple tradition of night prayer (compline) and combines it with holy communion to form a eucharistic service which is deeply quiet and still at the end of the day and at the start of the week.
“It is an expression of profoundly simple Catholic spirituality in an age that is searching for the holy,” says Father Walsh.
“It is open to anyone seeking a deeper spirituality and a more profound sense of the sacred found through the slow, quiet simplicity of worship.”
Music is both modern and traditional and the service includes an address.
“Our Nine O'Clock Service attempts to give meaning to life.
“In a world that is so busy and in a lifestyle that is so pressured by the constant demands of work and deadlines, this service is a contrast that lifts us out of our human condition to a vision of the holy other,” added Father Walsh.
The service, which is a combined event with the chaplaincy of the university, lasts about 45 minutes. It is not exclusively for students.