Mark P. Bangert

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In the Sunday New York Times from March 16, 1997 a short piece with accompanying picture offered a report on a weekly liturgy at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, a liturgy which is very popular with young people. Entitled "The Faithful Are Casual at This Sunday Service," the article concerns a forty-year tradition of doing sung compline in a space which is almost totally dark except for about fifteen male singers, bedecked in cassock and surplice, who stand dimly lighted at portable choir desks. Young people hurry to the 9:30p.m. service to sit in the pews, lie prone on their backs or in fetal position, some kissing each other, both those straight and those gay. Ushers carry calligraphic signs that urge silence and no whispering. It's a kind of date night, attendees say, and it is well-liked because the service is not preachy but offers both anonymity and community. A former liturgist at the cathedral reflected that "in our culture we do things regarding love and spirituality better by candlelight, at night. "

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