Join us Sunday morning, December 8 for A Service of 9 Lessons and Carols where we’ll journey to the manger through song.
9:30am Sunday School
10:30am A Service of Nine Lessons and Carols
A little about the service, from Rich Lowder (Interim Minister of Music)
The traditional Lessons and Carols service was drawn up by E.W. Benson, later archbishop of Canterbury, for use in the wooden shed which then served as his cathedral in Truro, England, at 10:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1880. A.C. Benson recalled: “My father arranged from ancient sources a little service for Christmas Eve – nine carols and nine tiny lessons, which were read by various officers of the Church, beginning with a chorister and ending, through the different grades with the Bishop.” The suggestion had come from G.H.S. Walpole, later Bishop of Edinburgh. Almost immediately other churches adapted the service for their own use. A wider fame began to grow when the service was sung at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, and first broadcast in 1928. With the exception of 1929, it has been broadcast annually, even during the Second World War when the ancient glass (and also heat) had been removed from the Chapel, and the name of King’s could not be broadcast for security reasons.
Wherever the service is heard and however it is adapted, whether the music is provided by choir or congregation, the pattern and strength of the service derives from the lessons and not the music. The main theme is the development of the loving purposes of God seen through the windows and words of the Bible. Local interests appear in the bidding prayer, and personal circumstances give point to different parts of the service. Many of those who took part in the first service must have recalled those killed in the Great War when it came to the famous passage “all those who rejoice with us but on another shore and in a greater light.” To that end, I would like to dedicate this service of worship to the glory of God and to my incredible sister, Kelly, who loved to celebrate the Christmas season and eagerly awaited the King’s College radio broadcast every year.