The church exists first to offer worship (honour) to God and to thank him for the gifts he gives us, and secondly to honour and support each other because we're all fellow creatures of God, and so by honouring each other we honour him too.
As well as the Seasons and Major Festivals which help us worship God, the church celebrates several 'Special Days' throughout the year to remember, honour and support each other and our work in God's world. Celebration of the "Special Days" is usually optional, Christians chose which they want to remember, including: (Return to top)
This much loved Festival is held in many Christian churches and schools at Advent or Christmas every year. It uses short extracts (usually 9) taken from both the Old and New Testaments sections of the Bible and interposes carols or hymns, which together tell the history of humanity's 'Fall from Grace' (through sin), God's promise to send a Messiah (a 'chosen one') to save us from that state, and the birth of that Saviour - Jesus of Nazareth. (Return to Top)
The Service was devised by Edward White Benson when he was Bishop of Truro for a Service on Christmas Eve in 1880, before he went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury in 1883. (Return to Top)
The Service was made popular when it was adopted by Kings College, Cambridge. Kings first held the service in 1918 but revised the order of the readings in 1919 and have used that ever since. The Kings College version always starts with the carol 'Once In Royal David's City' and then follows a traditional format, although they introduced other carols from time, many written especially for them by the eminent holders of their office of organist and choirmaster.(Return to Top)
Many local churches, cathedrals and schools follow the Kings College format in which the choir, if there is one, sing some of the carols, possibly with one or more sung by a soloist, and the people singing the rest. (Return to Top)
The corresponding Bible extracts or 'Lessons' are often each read by a different person, usually a range of different members of the church, the school or the organisation holding the Service.(Return to Top)