Episcopal churches celebrate King Charles III’s coronation with watch parties, tea, music

By Shireen Korkzan
Posted May 5, 2023

King Charles III on a walkabout outside Buckingham Palace, London, to meet well-wishers ahead of the coronation on May 6. Photo: Press Association/AP Images

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal churches across the United States will be celebrating King Charles III’s coronation with festivities ranging from organizing watch parties to hosting special evensongs. The coronation will take place May 6 starting at 6 a.m. Eastern and will be broadcast live on multiple news stations and streaming channels with coverage starting at 5 a.m. Read ENS coverage of what to expect during the coronation here

The following is a list of some congregations hosting coronation events. Check online for additional events hosted by local churches.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church — At St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury, North Carolina, organist Stephen Williams will perform an all-British organ recital. The free concert will start at 7 p.m. Eastern on May 5.

St. John’s Episcopal Church — On May 5 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, James O’Donnell, former master of the choristers at Westminster Abbey, will perform a free organ recital at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lafayette, Indiana. Music will consist of pieces from England, France and Germany from the 17th to the 20th centuries. O’Donnell currently teaches organ at Yale University.

All Saints’ Episcopal Church — All Saints’ Episcopal Church’s choir and orchestra will perform a coronation concert at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, California, featuring works by George Frederic Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach. Handel’s coronation anthems, included in the program, were composed for the coronation of King George II in 1727. The concert will take place on May 5 at 8 p.m. Pacific. Admission costs $25 for adults and $15 for students and seniors at the door. Admission is free for people with Music Guild donor season passes.

St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church — In Massillon, Ohio, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church will host a coronation watch party and offer a full English breakfast, activities for children and church building tours while livestreaming the ceremony on May 6.

Old North ChurchOld North Church in Boston, Massachusetts, will celebrate King Charles III’s coronation during its worship service at 11 a.m. Eastern on May 7 featuring live music commissioned for the church’s tricentennial. Peter Abbott, British consul general to New England, will lead prayers for the royal family. Phil Budden, former consul general, will read a lesson during the service, which will be followed by a garden reception featuring tea sandwiches and small desserts. Anyone interested in joining the service is asked to register online.

Built in 1723, Old North Church is the oldest standing church in Boston and is known for aiding patriots during the American Revolution.

The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea — On May 7, the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, Palm Beach, Florida, will play coronation-themed music and some of Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite hymns, including “Praise, My Soul, The Kingdom of Heaven,” during its monthly evensong starting at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

“People love this music, and it’s a major world event,” organist and choirmaster Stuart Forster told the Palm Beach Post. “I thought, ‘Let’s enjoy a little piece of it here.’” Forster is Bethesda-by-the-Sea’s associate for music and liturgy.

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral — Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Miami, Florida, will host a special evensong on May 7 starting at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. The event is a collaboration between the Diocese of Southeast Florida and the Consul General of the United Kingdom in Miami and will be open to the public. Alistair Church, British deputy consul general to Miami, will give the welcome from the consulate. The Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Choir and the Anglican Chorale of Southeast Florida will sing music by Anglican composers from the United Kingdom. The choirs will also sing one of George Frederic Handel’s coronation anthems.

St. James Cathedral — St. James Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois, in collaboration with the British Consulate General in Chicago, will host an evensong featuring music performed at past coronations starting at 4 p.m. Central on May 7.

St. Paul’s Parish — St. Paul’s Parish in Washington, D.C., will host a special evensong and benediction in thanksgiving for the coronation on May 7 at 4 p.m. Eastern to commemorate King Charles III’s coronation. Music will include works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Henry Purcell and more. A community tea will follow the evensong and benediction.

Saint Thomas Church — On May 7 at 4 p.m. Eastern, Saint Thomas Church in New York, New York, will host a special evensong service of thanksgiving for King Charles III’s coronation featuring music performed by the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. A live webcast from Saint Thomas Church’s website will be available for anyone unable to attend.

-Shireen Korkzan is a reporter and assistant editor for Episcopal News Service. She can be reached at skorkzan@episcopalchurch.org.