A Peaceful Night, A Perfect End

Mar 12, 2021 | Stories from the Diocese

Every Wednesday evening, parishioners at St. Andrew’s, Arlington gather online for Compline, the short, simple service that helps us reflect and center ourselves before bedtime. Rector Dorota Wright-Pruski initiated the online Compline service at the beginning of the pandemic as a way for people to connect mid-week for prayer and fellowship.

A small number of parishioners decided to “try out” this quiet evening service, which was new to all of them. However, it quickly became a much-anticipated midweek event.

For the first several months, the service was planned and led by staff. But in September, Rev. Dorota proposed an idea: what if the compline service was led by lay people, not clergy? Parishioner Lloyd Starns admits, “We were a little hesitant but agreed to take a ‘leap of faith’ and try it.  With Rev. Dorota’s encouragement and support from our seminarian Annie Jung, we embarked on this journey and quickly discovered how meaningful the service could still be for us.”

Now, nearly one year since the beginning of the pandemic, St. Andrew’s parishioners continue to meet every Wednesday night at 8:30 for Compline. It is typically a small, intimate gathering of about 7 or 8 worshippers, although more folks have joined during Lent.

“We are grateful that this ancient service has become a part of our worship fabric at St. Andrew’s and,” Starns adds, “we celebrate the willingness of lay members to step out of their comfort zones and try a different format for communal worship.”