Jazz Vespers

A service with a difference

Jazz Vespers logoSunday 28 April 2019 at 6.30 pm

Our evening service for April takes the form of Jazz Vespers with Dan Forshaw and his band. All are welcome.

As this is a service, not a concert, there are no tickets or admission charge. This is also a circuit service, when we are joined by the other churches in the Sutton Methodist Circuit.

Download the order of service

What is Jazz Vespers?

Jazz Vespers is simply an evening service using jazz to create a space where as a congregation we may worship God.

Jazz is one of the ultimate creative art forms: each musician responds to the music with spontaneous creativity built up from many years of practice and study.

You can listen to tracks from Dan Forshaw's Jazz Vespers album on his website.

How Jazz Vespers started

In 1964, the late Revd John Garcia Gensel began an evening service in St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City, primarily for the benefit of jazz musicians who were unable to attend the morning service owing to their late night occupations. The great Duke Ellington was one for whom St. Peter’s became a spiritual home.

Service format

Our service focuses on the Blues. We will reflect on what is means to suffer, to be enslaved, but most of all to rise up out of that hardship without masking the true feelings of those dark places. The Blues was formed in the New World by the work songs of African American slaves, the cry for justice, and the knowledge of redemption.

During the service you are invited to meditate, pray or simply enjoy the creative music being performed, not as an object of personal accomplishment, but as a offering of praise to the ultimate creator, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The service will explore suffering, lament and a new hope, echoing themes that Dr Martin Luther King Jr gave in a speech to the Berlin Jazz Festival shortly after his visit to Methodist Central Hall, Westminster in 1964:

‘Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life’s difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.

Jazz is triumphant music … everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith. In music, especially this broad category called jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these.’


Dan Forshaw (saxophone)Dan Forshaw

Dan Forshaw started a Jazz Vespers ministry while he was the worship minister at St James’ Church in Hemingford Grey, Cambridge. Since October 2015 he has led regular bi-monthly Jazz Vespers services at Methodist Central Hall Westminster.

Dan has also led jazz services at St. Paul’s Cathedral and Ely Cathedral, and is part of the Blue Church network of Christian jazz musicians from all over the world.

Forshaw’s charismatic approach to music leaves audiences engaged, entertained and enthralled. A student of theology & philosophy as well as music, Forshaw's eclectic approach, is a breath of fresh air.


Page last updated: 9th Apr 2019 9:36 AM