Who Knew There Were So Many Chipotles?

This is a post from Nicholas Evancho a seminarian from the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania who just completed his first year at Virginia Theological Seminary.  Nicholas’ home church is Epiphany, Grove City.  To read about our other seminarians, Click here . 

200px-Virginia_Theological_Seminary_Alexandria,_VAMy first year of seminary has been an eventful and formative experience and more has happened in the last year than I ever expected. I have had the opportunity to connect with people from all over the Communion and the Episcopal Church in ways that have been both exciting and challenging. Being immersed in the Seminary community has shown the breadth of the Episcopal Church and the life and opportunities that are present in her.

During my first semester I had the privilege of singing in the choir at the consecration of the Immanuel Chapel presided over by Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori with Archbishop Justin Welby serving as preacher. It was exciting to meet them and other big names in Anglicanism and to put personalities and faces to the names that receive so much esteem in church circles.

Being a musician on campus and one of the staff choristers for the Seminary Choir has given me the opportunity to participate in the diverse liturgical life of the Seminary community. I have served as everything from soloist at Lessons and Carols to service organist, to the background pianist at a cocktail party for the Alumni Association 50th Reunion and everything in-between. My most rewarding musical experience has been being a part of the Schola Cantorum which performs acapella motets and chorales for services of Solemn Evensong and other special services throughout the year. This is a totally student run ensemble that has managed to grow into a professional quality group that has become a valued part of the worship life of the community.

red-peppers-296655_640It has also been exciting, and at times scary, to get my first car while living in the Washington, DC area. I have been able to venture around DC and to see many of the monuments and museums that are scattered throughout the city. I have also gotten to take advantage of my horrible sense of direction since many of my discoveries in the city are due solely to my ability to get lost following even simple directions. (Who knew there were so many Chipotles?) It has been a joy to have many family and friends come and visit me and I have, as Bishop Sean warned me I would, become a great DC tour guide over the last year. It was a special gift that many of my classmates from Grove City got together for a reunion in the DC area and spent the weekend together playing games and catching up on developments in life.

For the first semester this year I was able to visit different parishes around the Dioceses of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington in order to find a place to serve as parish seminarian for the following two years. These churches ranged in character and history spanning from parishes at which George Washington and Robert E. Lee attended, to the National Cathedral, to those with newer worship styles using praise bands and contemporary liturgical ideas. I eventually settled on doing my Field Education at Christ Church, Georgetown which is an historic parish in the oldest neighborhood in the DC area. I am excited to serve there each Sunday and to begin to experience the life of a congregation unlike any I have ever encountered.

Now that I have finished my first year I have completed studies in New Testament, Greek Translation, Old Testament, History of Spirituality, Liturgical Music, and the Theory and Practice of Ministry. These classes have not only enriched me academically but some even involved community volunteer work that broadened and expanded my understanding of what it means to be a minister to a wide range of people. These classes have prepared me to enter Clinical Pastoral Education this Summer during which I will serve as a chaplain at a local Nursing Home/Rehab center in order to get experience with ministry in crisis situations. This will certainly be a great opportunity to grow in my vocation and begin to practice ministry in real-world situations.

Your prayers are greatly appreciated as I continue on my journey and I could not do any of it without the support of the great and Godly people of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania. If you would like to continue to follow and support my journey you can find periodic updates at my website: http://www.walkingtowalsingham.com

Nicholas Evancho

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Downton Abbey Evensong Sunday March 6th at 4 pm

downtoncastleWhere did the Crawleys, Painswicks, Barrows and O’Briens head after Carson served Sunday tea? Perhaps to Choral Evensong, a distinctly Anglican tradition ofprayer and music that would have drawn the good people of Downton Abbey-both upstairs and downstairs-to evening worship.

On Sunday, March 6, the Cathedral of St. Paul, 134 W. 7th St., will celebrate the final episode of the massively popular British historical drama with a Downtown Abbey-themed Evensong. The 45-minute service begins at 4 p.m. and will feature music and prayer typical ofthe series’ post-Edwardian era, including the Cathedral Choirs singing evening canticles by Irish-born and Cambridge-educated composer Charles Villiers Stanford, a contemporary of the fictional Lord Grantham.

“Downton’s Anglican cathedral would have been the one place where there might have been commonality, and even a measure of equality, among the social classes,” The Very Rev. Dr. John P. Downey, Dean of the cathedral, said. “While we’re approaching the service as great fans of the television show, the equalizing power of worship is something that should be celebrated.”

All fans of Downton Abbey who attend this Evensong are asked to remember those in our own community who live neither upstairs nor downstairs and have nowhere to call home. We’ll be collecting money, men’s socks and long underwear, and toiletries including toothbrushes, disposable razors and soap, for the Emergency Overflow Shelter Program that rotates among several downtown Erie churches. We’re going to have fun emulating the very rich while remembering to help the very poor,” Downey said. “We think even Lady Violet might approve.”

The Downton Abbey Evensong will be followed by a reception of tea, cookies and scones, all accompanied by the music of the Dolanc String Quartet. Period costumes are welcome but not required. Baskets will be placed throughout the cathedral for the donation of money and goods. For additional infonnation about the service and reception, visit http://www.cathedralofstpaul.org or call the Cathedral of St. Paul office at 814-452-3779.