Carol service with a difference

Five villages are coming together for an online carol service this year.

Monday, 14th December 2020, 3:03 pm

In a bid to stick to social distancing and cut the risks of coronavirus, Boston Spa, Bramham, Clifford, Thorp Arch and Walton, will celebrate Christmas in style.

“While some outdoor carol singing events are still going on, this year it was clear that packing into our village churches was neither possible nor a good idea, said Rev Nick Morgan of the Bramham Benefice, who has organised the service.

“But we know that local churches and schools are always keen to step up to serve their communities. That is why we decided to take the festive cheer online.”

The service lasts about an hour and is hosted online by the Bramham Benefice on the Online Services page of their website www.BramhamBenefice.org and their Facebook page Facebook.com/bramhambenefice and it goes live at 7pm on Wednesday December 23.

It involves clergy and musicians from nine local churches, four schools and members of the wider communities to the east of Wetherby.

The readings and prayers will be led by representatives of the Anglican, Methodist, Pentecostal and Salvation Army churches of the area as well as the Anglican chaplain of HMP Wealstun and the chaplain of Martin House hospice.

There are musical and artistic contributions from Boston Spa Academy, Bramham Primary School, West Oaks School and St Mary’s CE School.

“In many ways it’s a traditional carol service, in that it simply retells the familiar story of the birth of Jesus in Bible readings and carols,” explained Rev Morgan.

“But there is a huge variety of musical styles in the mix this year.

“As well traditional carols with organ to join in with at home, we have a school choir, a pop band, a folky twist on Away in a Manger, a Yorkshire setting of While Shepherds Watched retold in an unusual way, a carol signed in British Sign Language, a Cajun drumming ensemble, and a big band carol!

“We even have a real donkey in the service: Gary the donkey was able to take a local Joseph and Mary and get them to Bethlehem safely for a video of Little Donkey.

“I am immensely grateful to the pupils, the school staff, Gary’s friends Annie and Val, the musicians and colleagues across the churches for their support. It promises to be a fantastic celebration of the birth of Jesus, and of our community spirit.”