Westminster College's 40th Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols will take place at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, both in person and via livestream from the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, part of America's National Churchill Museum.
The popular annual event takes place each year at the College on the second Sunday of Advent. A capacity audience anticipated, so those wishing to attend should plan to arrive early to secure seating.
Patterned after the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College, University of Cambridge, England, the service includes the reading of nine biblical scriptures that pertain to the Christmas story. Each reading is followed by a reflective carol.
A number of faculty and staff members, area musicians, members of the local community, and the Churchill Singers — Westminster's choral ensemble — will have roles at the event.
Like the yearly service at Cambridge, Westminster’s Lessons and Carols service begins with the processional "Once in Royal David's City" and features a Churchill Singer who performs the first verse of the song a cappella from the church balcony.
The event will end with Westminster's tradition of the Churchill Singers performing “Joy to the World" after the ninth reading and the congregation joining with the choir in singing "Silent Night."
"Now in its 40th year, Lessons and Carols is a venerable Westminster College tradition," explains Timothy Riley, Sandra L. and Monroe E. Director and Chief Curator at America's National Churchill Museum. "The Museum is very proud of our long and historic association with this beautiful event."
The Festival of Lessons and Carols is co-sponsored by Westminster’s Center for Faith & Service, the College’s Fine Arts department, and America's National Churchill Museum.