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Tending an Eternal Flame

Colin Lynch
August 7, 2019

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son:

and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be:

world without end. Amen.


By my count, the Trinity Choirs will sing this familiar text 52 times during daily services at Wells Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral in England between August 4th and August 18th. This pithy one-sentence hymn of praise, the Gloria Patri, has been sung or said at the conclusion of Psalms, Canticles, and Preces during the Daily Offices of Evensong and Morning Prayer, presumably every day since these magnificent cathedrals were completed. Wells, known for its famous Scissor Arches and Vicars’ Close was completed in 1255 and Salisbury, home of the Magna Carta and England’s tallest spire was completed in 1258.


I’m struck by how the mission of our choral pilgrimage can, in a way, be summed up in this doxological mantra. As the choirs of Wells and Salisbury embark on their summer holiday, 26 Trinity choristers and 36 adults will take their place in a centuries-old continuum of daily choral worship. We become humble caretakers of this ancient rhythm of worship, like Vestal Virgins tending an eternal flame. We take our place in these venerable choir stalls to ensure that what has been will continue forever; we ensure that these words we sing are put into practice. This sacred duty is an awesome responsibility to which the Trinity Choirs will wholly commit themselves through 16 choral services and over 35 hours of rehearsal. Much like those who inhabited the pre-reformation monasteries of England, we will live in an intergenerational Christian community praying, eating, working, and learning together. I dare say we might even have more fun than those medieval monks!


We have a saying in the Trinity Choir: “We are a choir and by definition we do things TOGETHER.” Through the financial and prayerful support of our parishioners, we are Trinity Church and we are doing this ceaseless work together. May we faithfully tend this eternal flame of Trinitarian praise and may it last forever and ever, world without end. Amen.



Colin Lynch

Associate Director of Music


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