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St. Peter’s Episcopal Church will hold a traditional Candlelit English Christmas event, entitled “Lessons and Carols,” tonight at 5 p.m. at the church, which is located at 59 Main Street across from Cheshire Academy. Lessons and Carols is a service in which the lesson of Christmas is punctuated with the sounds of traditional carols, in this case sung by three distinct choirs from the parish; the parish choir (mainly adults), the Choristers (children and young adults), and the Madrigal Singers.
The event was started by the Dean of the Cathedral in Truro, Cornwall, England to encourage the town’s people to come to church on Christmas. It has been a part of traditional English Christmas celebrations for many generations. A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is the Christmas Eve service held in King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. It was introduced in 1918 to bring a more imaginative approach to worship. It was first broadcast in England in 1928 and is now broadcast to millions of people around the world.
It will be led by The Rev. Sandra Stayner, Rector of St. Peter’s and a native of Bristol, England.
The three choirs will each be led by June Hale, St. Peter’s music director and the decades-old pipe organ will be played by Walden Moore, organist for Trinity on the Green, the Episcopal Church on the Green in New Haven. There will also be a “sing-along” to enjoy.
The service includes carols and readings from the Bible. The opening carol is always “Once in Royal David’s City.” This family service, which features the traditional story of Christmas and enrapturing music sung by the choirs, is open to the public without charge.
The church invites the community to take a break from the Christmas preparations and join in a free multi-generational event.