Westminster College's 39th Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols will take place at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, both in person and via livestream from the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, part of America's National Churchill Museum.

The livestream can be accessed on the Facebook and YouTube pages of America’s National Churchill Museum, as well as Westminster’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

The popular annual event takes place each year at the College on the second Sunday of Advent. This year, a record crowd is anticipated and highly celebrated: This is the first time Lessons and Carols will be open fully for the public since before the pandemic.

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 24-member 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."

"Lessons and Carols is a beloved Westminster tradition,” explains Churchill Singers Conductor Dr. Natasia Sexton. "The student singers and I look forward to this music every year, and this year we hope to have a capacity crowd join us in the singing of our favorite carols." 

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.

Full Holiday Schedule at the Museum

November 14: Orders open for 2022 holiday ornament featuring the original Churchill painting Beach at Walmer

November 30 - January 6: Christmastide Decorations on Display in St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury

December 2, 6-8 pm: High Roads to the Holidays event

December 3: opening of Holiday in the Trenches exhibit by Westminster College Museum Studies students, Anson Cutts Gallery (preview during High Roads to the Holidays event)

December 4, 5-7 pm: 39th Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols, St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury

December 8, 4-6 pm: 1914 Christmas Truce Interactive Historical Reenactment event led by Westminster College Museum Studies, Latshaw Plaza

“Leave the past to history especially as I propose to write that history myself.”

Winston S. Churchill