The solo first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City” marked the start of the service as the choir, Clerk, Wardens, Master, Chaplain and Rector processed down the centre aisle. The Bidding Prayer was read by our Chaplain, The Reverend Andrew Prichard-Keens, and this was followed by the familiar pattern of festive carols and seasonal readings, which this year were delivered by the Clerk, Liveryman Jane Way, Past Master Nicholas Heal, Assistant Sarah MacLeod, Past Master Anthony Phillips and the Master.
The choir, under the Direction of Ben Horden and accompanied by organist Charles Andrews, sang beautifully, their programme including a couple of traditional carols, “Ding Dong Merrily on High” and “Sussex Carol”, as well as the more modern, “My Lord has Come” by Will Todd. There was an equal amount of enthusiasm and enjoyment on our part when it was our turn to sing the congregational carols.
Andrew gave the Address, telling how from birth the child Jesus showed the greatest promise and had the greatest capability to do good and change the world. His story speaks of the potential that has been presented to and implanted in us, providing us all with the opportunity and power to bring a better quality of life to the world in which we live, to be blessed and to bless others too.
Following the Blessing by the Rector, The Reverend Dr Martin Dudley, we made our way to Haberdashers’ Hall after stopping to inspect Damien Hirst’s gilded bronze statue “St Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain” which has recently been returned to the church. At the conclusion of a delicious buffet supper, the Master thanked The Reverend Dr. Martin Dudley, mentioning that Dr. Dudley would shortly be retiring The Master then wished everyone present a very Happy Christmas. Past Master Peter Keens responded, thanking the choir and echoing everyone’s feeling that this special occasion always signifies the beginning of Christmas.