On Sunday evenings in the fall to the spring, a variety of fascinating music emanates from the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. This is the result of the Sundays@Seven services, a variety of alternative worship services that occur thanks to the contributions of David and Jan Buley, musicians and Christians themselves. But what exactly are the Sundays@Seven performances, where did the idea come from, and why should you go to see them? That’s what I wanted to find out when I sat down with David Buley today.
“I look at the options that we have…for having diversity of experience, of worship and meditation; they’re designed to be kind of open ended” says Buley when asked of the designs of the Sundays@Seven performances. Wait, performances? “People can approach that in their own way,” Buley says. The services can be considered performances, services, even something different, and have been created to fill a spiritual void in the community. They’re a service for people who have interest in worship that’s a little different from the standard Sunday morning service
As for the content in these services, it varies! Everything from Taize-style meditation, to traditional evensong services and compline, to vespers and jazz vespers services, and more! Every type of service has its own distinct style and tone, and they’re all different, so there is certainly something for everyone. As for picking a favourite? “Oh my dear, [laughs] I don’t think I can. Frankly Claire, I think they all have their own kind of flavour,” Buley laughs.
This year, there will hopefully be some new services! Buley has been in conversation with Deantha Edmunds about a project for spring 2022: “A great piece in Lent…It’s a piece called The Confession Stone by Robert Fleming…it’s a cycle of songs from the point of view of Mary [Jesus’ mother]”. Additionally, many of the services from past Sundays@Seven will be returning. How exciting!
As for turnout and impact? “It’s a small crowd who attend but those who do, really appreciate it,” Buley says. He hopes that Sundays@Seven has touched those who have attended, and will continue to do so. Sundays@Seven returns this fall, which is sure to be full of fascinating Sunday evening services! The fall program will of course include services seen in previous years, as well as some never-before-seen experiences like The Confession Stone! Make sure to check them out at the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Sundays at 7pm of course! It’s clear they’re going to be something you won’t want to miss.