Thanks to the skills of our Chaplain, the Rev Katherine Hedderley, the traditional Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols went ahead on 10th December, both at All Hallows by the Tower and simultaneously in a virtual setting.
The service opened with splendid organ music played by Prof. Jonathan Melling FRCO and we were able to sing traditional carols, including Oh Little Town of Bethlehem and Once in Royal David’s City, in our sitting rooms with the help of the St Martin-in-the-Fields Online Voices. Our soloist, Mark Denza, gave very moving renditions of O Holy Night and the Angels’ Carol, and members of the Company read the lessons.
In her address the Chaplain spoke about the good news of Christmas which was that God comes to be with all of us wherever we are with comfort, light and hope: to the person who is isolating away from close family, to the NHS worker on a night shift, to the teacher, to the bus driver, the supermarket shelf stacker, the GP, the person who has been on furlough and is uncertain about the future, to the person recently made redundant, to the corporate leader weighed down by their responsibilities, to all in our world struggling with the virus. So, her Covid-19 Christmas guideline was: Have a socially distanced Christmas but don’t keep God 2m away!
The service closed with a recording of the Bishop of London’s Christmas message in which we saw what Livery Companies, among others, had been doing to ease the stresses caused by the pandemic in the City, and, after a Christmas greeting from the Master, members enjoyed some festive cheer in breakout groups over a glass of their favourite Yuletide beverage.