We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Background to Compline

Compline is one of the 8 services for the day in the Catholic “Liturgy of the Hours”. It was added to the Episcopal Prayer book in 1979

Compline is a service to close the day, an opportunity to give thanks for the joys and graces experienced, a chance to confess the (many) sins committed throughout the day, and the perfect moment to close the day the same way it started: in prayer and asking for God’s protection during the night to come. It is descended from the night prayers said before bed at the end of the monastic round of daily prayer and can be traced back to the 4th century and referenced by St. Benedict, St. Basil, and St. John Chrysostom.

St. Benedict had this to say about the simplicity of Compline: “Let Compline be limited to the saying of three psalms, which are to be said straightforwardly without antiphons, after which let there be the hymn of that hour, a lesson, a versicle, the Kyrie, and a blessing to conclude.”

There is a beautiful and simple prayer near the opening of the Church of New Zealand’s Order for Compline that offers a portal into all that follows:

Dear God, thank you for all that is good, for our creation and our humanity, for the stewardship you have given us of this planet earth, for the gifts of life and of one another, for your love which is unbounded and eternal.

It is a litany, really—a comprehensive list of what we can claim as gifts, having been received by us for a purpose as we strive to live our lives in relation to God and the goodness that flows from God through us and into the world. The rest of Compline—indeed, the rest of life in general—is an invitation to consider what to do with those gifts.

Society of Saint John the Evangelist in Boston holds a compline service nightly.


From the Book of Common Prayer – “O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in thy mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen.”

“Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.”