On Monday of this week we celebrated the showcase of our Advent preparations with the annual Carol Service at Our Lady and St Alphege’s Church. As in previous years we joined with St John’s Primary school, giving almost two hundred students from both schools the opportunity to lead us in prayer as they sang, read and even performed a drama sketch.
Focusing on the theme of ‘Preparing Our Hearts’, many of the musical pieces, traditional and modern, explored the central message of God being born into our world as a baby, but also being born into our hearts today – just as his arrival moved the shepherds and wise men of old. Beginning with a rendition of ‘Somewhere only we know’ from our year sevens, the packed congregation were flanked by a procession of candlelight in the dim Church as the lyrics sang of a hard journey. The famous Old Testament reading from Isaiah 9 ‘the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light’ was proclaimed from the lectern and the Church was filled with ambience as we began exploring the familiar Christmas story.
There were some truly magical and heart-warming performances from St John’s primary school choir with ‘When love was born’, as well as the collaboration with our own choirs and orchestra for the spine tingling John William’s classic ‘Somewhere in my memory’. A welcome addition this year came from some of our performing arts students with their sketch talking about the real meaning of Christmas, being with the people we love and being present.
Hopefully, many of our parents, friends, parishioners and community will have left the service knowing that their own hearts were that little bit more prepared. Special thanks must go to all of the students who have been rehearsing for months, to Miss Townsend, Mrs Richards and Mrs Smith along with their peripatetic staff and to Fr Alex for making us so welcome. On behalf of Bath Welcomes refugees and Julian House we would also like to thank everyone for their generosity with the retiring collection, several hundred pounds was donated.
Mr M Robinson