The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Trinity Episcopal

By Kevin Shannahan

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Natchitoches’ Trinity Episcopal Church continued a beloved community tradition of over 25 years with its annual Lessons and Carols Dec. 12. A choir consisting of NSU students, alumni, Trinity congregation members and guests from other churches filled the church with a variety of sacred music in between Bible readings. The Rev’d Suzanne Wolfenbarger led the service while Dr. Kristine Coreil conducted the choir.

The night’s service “The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” was first presented at the Chapel of King’s College shortly after the end of the First World War in 1918. The service has been broadcast each year since 1928 by the British Broadcasting Corporation. During the Second World War, there was no heat in the church and the stained glass windows had been removed to protect them from Nazi bombs. The service continued nonetheless, an example of “the long continuity of our institutions” that Sir Winston Churchill spoke of in 1940. The service’s roots in the aftermath of the First World War can be seen in this famous passage from the original Bidding Prayer that opens the service “Let us remember before God and all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Words made flesh, and with whom we for evermore are one.”