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Carols by Candlelight

On a mild December evening, The Feltmakers gathered within the hallowed walls of St Bartholomew the Great for our annual celebration of the Lord’s Nativity.

Our esteemed Chaplain, who conducted the Service, was joined by St Bartholomew’s Rector, The Reverend Marcus Walker. As ever, the resident choir led the congregation in a wondrous arrangement of traditional carols, interwoven with some glorious, less well-known versions.

The Master, our Clerk, Wardens Gilly Yarrow, Nigel Macdonald and Simon Wilkinson,and Assistant, Simon Millar, each read a Lesson with great sensitivity and meaning.

Company Chaplain, Andrew Pritchard-Keens, opened his Address in witty fashion by summarising the three stages of Christmas we experience through life: stage 1 –you believe in Father Christmas, stage 2 –you don’t, stage 3 –you are Father Christmas!

He went on to muse about the Lord’s relationship with His parents as He grew up, a period of His life about which we know very little. Did His Mother Mary, explain the nature of His birth to Him? Did His father Joseph explore the firmament with his curious son? Did Joseph carve wooden toys for his child?

Many of us were humming Silent Night or O Little Town of Bethlehem as we made our way to Habersdashers’ Hall, where a delicious buffet supper awaited us.This year, we had the pleasure of including guests from our sister Guild from Zurich, the Zunft zur Waag. They will also be joining us alongside The Feltmakers’ Float when we process at The Lord Mayor’s Show on 9 November 2019(an important date for your diary).

After our repast, Past Master Peter Keens, proposed the toast, declaring that Christmas officially starts for The Feltmakers on this night of carols in “the most marvellous church in London”. He thanked the Rector and the delightful choir, before closing with gratitude on behalf of the Company and our guests, to the Master and his family for a beautiful evening.

The Master responded by admitting that few things are more terrifying than following Past Master Keens, who is “always to the point”. He went on to thank our Chaplain for rescuing the Order of Service by suggesting it be printed by an excellent firm he uses for funerals, before remarking on the choir and wonderful soprano.

As we went our separate ways, we could only echo the Master’s sentiments, that it had, indeed, been “an absolute joy” and a fitting start to the true Christmas festivities.

REBECCA NELSON

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