For many Feltmakers, Christmas began Wednesday 9 December as 140 Liverymen, friends and family gathered at the historic church of St Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield for the Company’s annual carol service.
The service began in the candlelit church with “Once in Royal David’s City” and traditional procession of the choir, Clerk, Wardens, Master and clergy. The service was led by Liveryman the Reverend Andrew Prichard-Keens who welcomed those gathered and read the Bidding Prayer. The familiar lessons telling the Christmas story were read by Liverymen Louise Waller, Simon Curtis, Cynthia Gresham, The Clerk, Past Master Susan Wood and Master Peter Simeons.
Music was central to the service. The excellent choir, under the Direction of Peter Foggitt and accompanied by organist Richard Moore (who had also played a festive musical medley before the service), sang a number of solo pieces including Bob Chilcot’s “Shepherd’s Carol” and John Gardner’s “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day”. The congregation had the opportunity to sing many favourite carols, with the choir adding the descant to “O Come all Ye Faithful” and “Hark the Herald Angels”.
Our chaplain, the Very Reverend Colin Semper, preached. He delivered a heartfelt and thought provoking message on the meaning of Christmas; tragedy, comedy and fairy-tale combining with the resultant triumph of light over darkness being at the core of the Christian faith. Colin also delivered the Blessing.
The congregation then walked the short distance to a festively decorated Haberdashers’ Hall for a delicious buffet supper. The evening concluded with the Master wishing all those present a very Happy Christmas. Yes, Christmas had begun.