St Paul’s Fairfield service to pray for refugee crisis

The St. Paul’s Choir will present Richard Causton’s The Flight during a service of choral evening prayer, or evensong, to raise awareness of the plight of refugees and to raise funds for Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven. The service of choral evensong featuring the St Paul’s Choirs will take place on Saturday, May 7, at 5 p.m., at  St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 661 Old Post Road, Fairfield. The sermon will be delivered by Chris George, executive director of IRIS. There will be a welcoming tea at 4 p.m.

St. Paul’s was moved to compassionate action by the global refugee crisis. Members of the parish were exploring the feasibility of resettling a refugee family, and were frustrated by recent changes in the process. “The refugee problem in our world is massive and complex. Coming to grips with the issue, especially from within the orderly and well-resourced precincts of our lives in Fairfield County, is difficult and entirely appropriate for spiritual people,” said John Abdenour, director of music at St. Paul’s. The clergy and staff decided to respond for now with prayer and music, inviting Chris George from IRIS to preach about the struggles of refugees.

Richard Causton’s The Flight is a challenge to sing, the music is complex and frequently bewildering. Composed as a Christmas carol in 2015, the piece sets to music a poem written by George Szirtes about the refugee crisis. A poet originally from Hungary, Szirtes has lived in the United Kingdom for most of his life after coming to the country as a refugee at the age of eight.

The poem begins with these words:

The child on the dirtpath

finds the highway blocked

The dogs at the entrance

snarl that doors are locked

The great god of kindness

has his kindness mocked

The St. Paul’s Choir, made up of boy and girl trebles and adults with lower voices, is built and trained to sing music in the English cathedral choral tradition. Recalling that the Christian tradition is rooted in the story of a child born in poverty, away from home, and forced to flee to a foreign land with his parents, Music Director John Abdenour says “Through the medium of music, our young choristers are working hard to step out of their accustomed world, into the unfamiliar and the bewildering, becoming strangers in a strange musical land. We offer this to illuminate the reality of lives with no security of place, or language, or legal standing, fleeing the unimaginable.”

The event is offered without admission charge. All are welcome. A freewill offering will be taken to support the work of IRIS, which has resettled refugees in Connecticut since 1982.

For more information visit

About author

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. Fairfield Sun, 1000 Bridgeport Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress