St. John's Chancel Choir will offer its annual Lessons and Carols service on Friday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. Based on the "Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols" produced annually by Kings College Cambridge, the service was conceived by Eric Milner-White, the Dean of King's who wanted a "more imaginative worship" for the Church of England on Christmas Eve. The service was first held on Christmas Eve 1918 at Cambridge, and was directed by Arthur Henry Mann, the organist.
The following year the service order was revised, and the hymn "Once in royal David's city" opened the service. To this date this has not changed, and the readings and prayers have remained basically the same. The service was first broadcast on BBC in 1928 and has been broadcast annually ever since, with the exception of 1930. Today the service is performed in churches all over the world during Advent, and King's College has received "copies of services held.in the West Indies and the Far East" and even "in a tent on the foothills of Everest"! According to Milner-White, "the main theme is the development of the loving purposes of God.through the windows and words of the Bible."
The Chancel Choir, which has been offering Lessons and Carols for nearly a decade, will perform several anthems including Adam Lay Y Bounden (B. Ord), Oh Thou the Central Orb (C. Wood) and There is No Rose (S. Caracciolo). The youth will be reading the nine lessons from "The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language", a translation created by Eugene Peterson beginning in 2003. A reception in the Marsh Hall will immediately follow the service.