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A Look Inside: Vespers All Saints’ Day Service

Every year, Grove City College holds an All Saint’s Day Service the Sunday before November 1st.  All Saint’s Day is a celebration of the saints in the church, those who have glorified God through their lives and have made a positive impact in the realm of Christianity. This year, the Vespers service was held on October 29th at 6:30 p.m. in Harbison Chapel.

The service began with the Chapel Choir leading the processional hymn “For All the Saints Who From Their Labor Rest.” The officiant for the service was Rev. Ronald J. Baillie. Rev. Baillie has been an Anglican priest for 50 years, serving in the diocese of two parishes in Pittsburgh. He is currently the Rector of St. Thomas Anglican Church in Gibsonia, PA.

The Chapel Choir sang excerpts from Vivaldi’s concert Gloria, as well as Nunc Dimittis by John Rutter. Nunc Dimittis is Latin for “now let depart” and is taken from Luke 2:29-32 which says, “Lord, now lettest thou servant depart in peace: according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of thy people Israel. 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.” The Chamber Singers were also present and sang a Latin piece by John Rutter entitled Magnificat. The echoing tones rang throughout the chapel. It was beautiful.

The sermon preached by Rev. Baillie was entitled, “I mean to be one, too!”  “And so today, as we recognize those who have gone on before us, we actually celebrate the unity of the body of Christ throughout all time. And the rest of the community turns out to be very very large indeed… On All Saints Day, we remember those individuals that we have lost to death in the past year. It gives us a moment to grieve those who have past, but it also gives thanksgiving for the life and their place now among the saints that are all there gathering in the presence of God. Rev. Baillie says how loss comes in many forms. Loss can come from disappointment at work, home, and school. All Saints Day is the time to reflect on the losses we have experienced in the past year, in whatever form the loss has come in. Saints are not only those put on pedestals in the church, but all of us should be saints too because of the grace of God. “To be a saint, you need not be famous, or perfect, or dead.  You just have to be yourself…that God created you to be…To embrace your capacity, the world, and to shine your little light like the sun.” Rev. Baillie then called everyone to remember the saints in our lives. Those who have main a positive impact and influenced us for the better are those we give thanks for.

The ending hymn entitled, “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” by Lesbia Scott, was a song I had never heard before, but really enjoyed the lyrics:

“I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true, who toiled and fought and lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew.  And one was a doctor, and one was a queen, and one was a shepherdess on the green: they were all of them saints of God, and I mean, God helping to be one too.”


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