Festival of Lessons and Carols
The service of Lessons and Carols comes to the Episcopal Church from England, where the first such service was held at Truro in Cornwall, in 1880, supposedly to keep men out of the pubs on Christmas Eve. It was designed by Bishop E.W. Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury, and held in a temporary wooden structure, as Truro Cathedral was still being built. Decades later, in 1918, Eric Milner-White adapted the service for King’s College in the University of Cambridge, where he was Dean of Chapel. Over the past century, Lessons and Carols has become associated with King’s throughout the world. It was first broadcast on the radio in 1928, and at King’s they are proud to say that since then, ‘with the exception of 1930, it has been broadcast annually, even during the Second World War, when the ancient glass (and also all heat) had been removed from the Chapel and the name of King’s could not be broadcast for security reasons.’
We join with churches and cathedrals and chapels throughout the world in offering our own rendition of this beautiful re-telling of the Christmas story, in word and song.