Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense,

and let the lifting up of my hands be as an evening sacrifice.



Vespers, together with Mattins, form the two major daily offices of the community of Bose. The structure is in continuity with the ‘monastic’ format but has been adjusted with an ecumenical ‘eye’ so as to contain (in differing degrees) elements of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox traditions of worship in a coherent, new and contemporary form. Like all offices, its centre is psalmody and the Word of God. Our service adds a short address, which, at Bose, often occurs at Compline on Sundays. While Bose uses an ecumenical lectionary, our scheme of psalmody and scripture readings is thematic and relates to our chosen theme for reflection/study. Our service also includes the hymn Phos Hilaron (O gracious light), an ancient third-century hymn, which, at Bose, is an optional part of Vespers on Saturdays as a preparation for worship on ‘the Lord’s Day’.

In devising Vespers (and Mattins) the community has invested the service order and content with ‘movement’. They describe this movement

toward the Father in the Introduction and psalmody

through the Son in the biblical readings (the Word of God)

in the Holy Spirit in the contemplation, intercessions, prayers and blessing

Our evening sacrifice of praise is offered not just to but in the Trinity, our dwelling ‘place’ through baptism.

Tapers may be lit during the intercessions; feel free at any point in that final part of the service to use your taper as a token of your intercession for another, and stand it in the bowl by the icon, and then return to your seat. Or just keep the taper with you to remind you that you and your prayer are part of God’s precious ‘harvest of light’.

Most of the worship texts are translated from the community’s Preghiera dei Giorni (Daily Prayer) for use at St Helen’s; psalmody is from Common Worship; texts for musical settings are taken from Preghiera, or in some cases adapted from various musical sources, including The Hymnal 1980


Themes & Scripture Readings 2018 -July 2019

Introduction - Why read the Old Testament?

September 2nd - The Double Mirror   Hebrews 1

October 7th - Creation from nothing    Genesis 1.1-5

November 4th - The Creation of humankind    Genesis 1.26ff

December - NO VESPERS SERVICE  [Advent Music & Readings]

January 6th - The 'fall' of humankind    Genesis 3.1-22

February 3rd - Cain and Abel    Genesis 4.1-16

March 3rd - Noah's ark and the flood    Genesis 6.11-22

April 7th - The tower of Babel    Genesis 11.1-9

May 5th - The call of Abraham    Genesis 12.1-9

June 2nd - The covenant with Abraham     Genesis 17.1-27

July 7th - The hospitality of Abraham    Genesis 18.1-15

The addresses at Vespers are not 'scientific' analyses of the scriptural passages. They are attempts to understand the episodes and their dramatis personae from the point of view of Christian faith and theology. As such the addresses aim to help hearers understand God, the world and themselves better as those 'drawn into a lively and life-changing conversation' through Jesus Christ in the Spirit.
Notes provided at each service aim to extend the opportunity for reflection on the readings and the theme of the day. Please follow links above where available or contact the Parish Administrator.





  • 8.00 am – Holy Communion (at St Helen’s during the months of October, December, February, April, June, August; otherwise at St Nicolas’ in the Market Place)
  • 9.15 am – on the 2nd Sundays of the month: Morning Praise (short service)  
  • 10.30 am – Sung Eucharist with Junior Church
  • 5.30 pm – Evening Service:     
    • 1st Sunday – Vespers  : a reflective and prayerful service combining traditional and contemporary worship inspired by the religious community at Bose in Italy, with prayers, readings and a short address
    • 2nd Sunday – Taize worship     
    • 3rd Sunday – Choral Evensong     
    • 4th Sunday – Service for Healing and Wholeness     
    • 5th Sunday – Sung Holy Communion from the Book of Common Prayer      

(Any changes to these patterns are found in the weekly Newsletter or on the EVENTS page. For example there may be different service times on Remembrance Sunday in November.)    

In faithfulness to Jesus’s command ‘Do this…’ the people of St Helen’s celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday.

The 8 am Communion is celebrated according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (slightly adapted) with readings according to the ecumenical three-year cycle. A short sermon is preached. The service takes about forty-five minutes.

The 10.30 am Sung Eucharist is the main service celebrated in contemporary language with full-robed choir according to Order One of Common Worship. Children and young people join in the service in different ways (see ‘Children & Young People’), and lay people play a full part as greeters, sidesmen, servers, lectors, intercessors and sacramental assistants. A sermon is always preached at this service, sometimes as part of a series including local and visiting clergy.

Refreshments and fellowship follow the service in the South Aisle of the church.

Evening Worship at 5.30pm offers variety of form and style for those who cannot attend morning worship, or who wish to honour Anglicanism’s strong tradition of Sunday evening devotion. 

On the first Sunday of the month Vespers is a short service of Biblical prayer and praise, exploring the rich tradition of Christian chant, and featuring creative engagement with Scripture through discussion, imagination, contemplation, music, and the visual arts.

On second Sundays Taizé Worship offers a relaxed, contemplative form of evening prayer with chants from the ecumenical community at Taizé, France, accompanied by instrumentalists. The service takes place in the South Aisle gathered around the ‘Taizé Cross’. A short address or spiritual reading is offered. The service is about 45 minutes.

Choral Evensong on third Sundays is offered according to the order for Evening Prayer of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (slightly adapted). The service includes hymns, and Preces and Canticles and an anthem sung by full choir. The service is about 40 minutes. Very often this service is preceded by an informal concert and teas. Please see the EVENTS tab or check the newsletter pages.  Occasionally the third Sunday service is a simple Evensong.

The Service for Healing and Wholeness on the fourth Sundays is the Eucharist which includes laying-on of hands and anointing for healing for those who wish it. Two of the morning readings are used, and a short sermon is given. The service is about 45 minutes. 

On the occasional fifth Sundays when they happen through the year, there is the 'Winchester Service', Sung Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer.



Morning Prayer at 9.10 am – The Lady Chapel. Using the order for each season from Common Worship, this service lasts about twenty-five minutes. A hymn is usually sung and time of open prayer, silently or aloud, is included.

Wednesday Church at 10.30 am – The South Aisle. This simple celebration of Holy Communion using an adapted form of Common Worship’s traditional ‘Order Two’ includes a brief homily. It is followed by fellowship and refreshments in the South Aisle. Those who have become part of this weekday congregation enjoy the sense of togetherness enormously. This is an ideal way to share in worship and life at St Helen’s if you can’t make Sunday morning at 10.30 am but are free on Wednesday mornings. During winter months this service may be held in the Parish Centre opposite the North Door of the church.


Evening Prayer at 5.10 pm – The Lady Chapel. Using an adapted short order from Common Worship, this service lasts about fifteen minutes. A hymn is often sung. This service includes intercessions for each member of St Helen’s congregation.

SPECIAL SERVICES Consult the weekly Newsletter for notices about special weekday services or see the calendar at