Advent Lessons & Carols

It is a yearly tradition for many of us to listen to the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, broadcast every Christmas Eve from King’s College in Cambridge. The first time King’s College held this service was in 1918, and it has been broadcast since 1928. Our Advent Procession of Lessons and Carols, which we will celebrate this Sunday at 5:00 p.m., is a modification of that service for use during the Advent season. The choir will process and sing from various places throughout the church, symbolizing our journey through Advent, from darkness into light. As we move through the service, the congregation will join in the singing of carols and the choir will offer anthems both familiar and newly composed. 

The first of these anthems, Elizabeth Poston’s beautiful Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, is often sung at carol services following the retelling of the story of Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Renaissance composer William Byrd’s joyous Laetentur Caeli follows the lesson from Jeremiah, a promise of a new covenant with God’s people. 

An anonymous text provides the inspiration for Canadian composer Mark Sirett’s intimate anthem, Thou Shalt Know Him When He Comes. In this poem, we are told not to look for the coming of Christ through any worldly fanfare, but through the change, his coming makes within our hearts. Equally intimate is Kim Andre Arnesen’s setting of William Blake’s The Lamb, a text that is very familiar to Lessons and Carols services, but here is newly heard through Arnesen’s beautiful, close-set harmonies. British composer Bob Chilcott’s The Rose in the Middle of Winter answers the final lesson with a dancing celebration of the coming of Christ. 

At the end of the service, St. Peter’s Choir will sing Jonathan Dove’s extraordinary anthem, Seek Him that Maketh the Seven Stars. Dove takes the text of this piece from the Book of Amos and Psalm 139. For most of the duration of the piece, the composer focuses on the first line of text: “Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion,” with the words “Seek him” repeated again and again in increasing intensity. A central dance section builds to a final, emotional cry of the full text:

Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into morning. Alleluia, yea, the darkness shineth as the day, the night is light about me.

As we continue our journey not only through this season of Advent but also through this long season of challenges and uncertainty, the messages of hope and light that Advent Lessons and Carols bring seem all the more important.

But first, let us pray for the world that God so loves… for those who walk in darkness and the shadow of death, and for the Church in this place and everywhere, that it may be freed from all evil and fear, and may in pure joy lift up the light of the love of God.” (from the Bidding Prayer for Lessons and Carols)

Elizabeth Lenti, Director of Music & Organist

This Week

Daily Office Morning Prayer, Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m., Zoom*
Evening Prayer, 5:30 p.m., Zoom
*Morning Prayer is offered virtually weekdays, as well as in-person on Tuesdays & Thursdays.

Sunday, December 5
Holy Eucharist, Rite I, 7:45 a.m., Church
Holy Eucharist, Rite II, 9:00 a.m., Church
Annual Meeting of the Parish, Church & Livestream,  10:00 a.m.
Child and Youth Formation, 10:00 a.m., Parish House
Parents Connect, 10:00 a.m., Parish House Rooftop
Holy Eucharist, Rite II, 11:15 a.m., Church and Livestream
Advent Procession of Lessons & Carols, 5:00 p.m., Church

Monday, Bible Study, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Holy Eucharist, Rite II, Noon, Chapel
Wednesday, Book Group, 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Bible Study, 7:00 p.m., Zoom

Join us for Sunday Worship. Our safety procedures at each service allow us to welcome all those who feel that in-person worship is safe for them at this time. Many COVID-19 protocols, including mask-wearing, are in effect. Socially distanced seating is available in the chapel. Diocesan guidelines require masks indoors at St. Peter’s for all services and other gatherings, regardless of vaccination status. 

Vestry Election, Sunday, 10:00 a.m. The election of four new Vestry members to follow the class of 2021 will take place during the Annual Meeting of the Parish. Voting continues today in the Parish Offices from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and begins at 9:00 a.m. in the gallery on Sunday.  All confirmed parishioners 16 years and older may vote in the election, only in-person voting is allowed. You can learn more about the nominees for Vestry Class of 2024 and watch our Vestry Nominee Forum from November 21 online at st-peters.org/vestry-nominees.

The Annual Meeting of the Parish, December 5, 10:00 a.m. This year, the Annual Meeting of the Parish will take place in the Church, rather than the Parish Hall, allowing us to livestream the meeting so parishioners of all comfort levels may attend. Please join and celebrate the year that is past and to hear reports from clergy, staff, and parish lay leaders. 

An Advent Procession of Lessons & Carols, Sunday, 5:00 p.m. Join us for a service of Lessons & Carols featuring the St. Peter’s Choir, the St. Peter’s clergy, and members of the parish. This year’s observance will include a solemn Advent procession, moving from darkness to light, in a candlelit setting. Incense will be burned at this service. 

Charlotte Choir School Christmas Concerts, December 10 and 11, 7:30 p.m. Charlotte Choir School makes a triumphant return to St. Peter’s with Christmas at Charlotte Choir School, its twenty-ninth annual Christmas concerts, Friday and Saturday, December 10 and 11. After the beloved holiday tradition was presented virtually last year, the 2021 Christmas concerts return in person this season. Program highlights include familiar Christmas favorites and new repertoire that are sure to put attendees in the holiday spirit. Purchase tickets online at charlottechoirschool.org.

Christmas Honoraria and Memorials Benefit Church Decorations and Special Music. If you would like to honor or memorialize loved ones by offering a donation for Christmas greenery, decorations, or special music, including guest instrumentalists, the deadline to print acknowledgments is noon on Monday, December 20. You may donate online or mail donations with acknowledgments to Parish Administrator, Leigh Dixon (ldixon@st-peters.org). 

Welcoming Dusty Beert. Facilities Manager Dusty Beert joined St. Peter’s staff on Tuesday, November 30. Dusty comes to St. Peter’s from Discovery Place where has worked as an Exhibit Technician in the Facilities Department. Dusty moved to Charlotte, along with his wife, in 2020. He has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Delaware and comes with a wide range of job experiences, including  building maintenance, design, and woodwork. You will see Dusty around the Parish House on Sunday mornings and throughout the week. Join us in welcoming Dusty to the St. Peter’s staff. 

2022 Annual Giving Campaign

Over the course of nearly 200 years, the people of St. Peter’s have built a legacy of giving—contributing in every way to support programs, worship, music, and the broader community. God continues to call us to use our generosity to bring the message of the Gospel into the world. Your pledge of financial support can help amplify that message. 

Learn more and pledge today >>