Central to present a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
The Chancel Choir will sing a mix of brand new and time-honored favorites at A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Central United Methodist Church on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m.
This service retells the Christmas story from the Old Testament through the birth of Christ, to the visits of the shepherds and magi. The music ranges from bright and rhythmic to serene and reflective. Included will be “Jesus Child” and “What Sweeter Music,” both by John Rutter; “I Saw Three Ships” arranged by Ian Humphris; Malcolm Archer’s arrangement of “A Virgin Most Pure; There is No Rose of Such Virtue and Torches” by John Joubert; Bob Chilcott’s setting of “Away in a Manger;” and “The Three Kings” by Peter Cornelius.
In between the lessons and carols, guests are invited to participate in the singing of favorite carols including “Once in Royal David’s City,” “Unto Us Is Born a Son,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Organ accompaniments and soaring descants will enhance the singing.
The original Festival of Nine Lessons was held on Christmas Eve 1918 at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. It has been celebrated there every year since and the annual broadcast reaches an audience estimated to be in the millions. The Order of Service was revised in 1919 and since that time, the opening hymn has always been “Once in Royal David’s City.”
While the lessons and prayers remain virtually unchanged each year, the choice of carols varies. Almost immediately after its inception, the service was adapted by other churches and the tradition has spread around the world.
The community is invited. Civic leaders will read scripture passages, along with pastors and lay readers. This year’s readers include Peggy Knight, Chancel Choir Member; Ashley Taylor, The Well representative, Octavia Williams-Blake, Florence City Council; Laura Ballenger, SNAC Representative; and Nicole Hupfer, Central Council Chair.
An offering will be received to support SNAC.
A recital of Christmas organ music will begin at 3:40 p.m. and a reception will follow the service.