Sunday, 11 December 2011

Needlemakers’ Carol Service with the Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers

For the first time this year we had a combined service with the G&S Wyre Drawers on Tuesday, December 6. It was a very joyous occasion with the honours and duties shared out amongst the two companies, our respective chaplains and the Priest-in-Charge at our home church, St James Garlickhythe.

The church is a beautiful 17th Century Church occupying a place that has been sacred since 1100. Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt St James in 1683 to be full of light, since when it has become known as ‘Wren’s Lantern’. It is not a very large church and between the two companies we filled it comfortably. The choir was in excellent form – as was the congregation.

It is a tradition of our company that we bring gifts to put under the Christmas tree, which are then distributed to underprivileged children. It was lovely to see a pile of beautifully wrapped presents each with a removable label indicating for what age child it is suitable.

We then walked to a local restaurant for an excellent and very jolly dinner. On a personal note it was lovely to spend some time with Vernon Knapper, the Master G&S Wyre Drawer and Christina (she and I share a passion for crime fiction). It was also good to catch up with the Needlemakers’ Chaplain, the Rt Reverend Christopher Chessun, The Bishop of Southwark, about his recent visit to Zimbabwe with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I spent five years at a Church of England school in South Africa and enjoyed the carol singing there and enjoyed hearing some familiar songs and some new ones on Tuesday. Lord Sacks, the Chief Rabbi told the Scottish Parliament “Jewish and other faith communities love the fact that Christians celebrate Christmas. When I go to Trafalgar Square and hear carols being sung I feel uplifted.” I agree with him – where religious institutions preach love and caring for others does it matter what denomination they are? We are alone with our thoughts when we pray.

Whether the next few weeks are ‘shop till you drop’, time in church, candles and chocolate money for Chanukah or just a few days off work with family and friends – may they be peaceful and time to recharge your batteries.

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