Service celebrates reason for season

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Contributed report

LaGRANGE — LaGrange College will present its annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Callaway Auditorium.

The Rev. Adam Roberts, chaplain and director of spiritual life, said the service has become a treasured holiday tradition.

“It’s one of the most beloved holiday events in our community,” he said. “I’m often told that people in LaGrange consider it the true beginning of the Christmas season.”

The event will include familiar elements, but also a surprise or two, said Beth Everett, director of choral activities.

“Last year, we filled the auditorium with light,” she said. “This year, we will fill it with something else, but you’ll have to attend to see what it is.”

The college’s chamber choir will be featured, as well as the LC percussion ensemble, members of the new college band and the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. The service is modeled after one first held in 1918 at King’s College of Cambridge University and tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ in nine scripture readings. Traditional carols and modern adaptations are sung between readings.

Guest readers for the 2015 service will include board of trustees president Scott Hawkins; board member Nancy Durand; the Rev. Cade Farris, new senior pastor at First Baptist Church on the Square in LaGrange; the Rev. Brian Germano, 1988 graduate and new senior pastor at First United Methodist Church of LaGrange; Gretta Wright, assistant professor of education; Val Jones, assistant women’s basketball coach and assistant to the athletic director; the Rev. Katie Mattox, new pastor at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church; and student Shelby Stephen.

Everett said the message of Nine Lessons and Carols is especially meaningful today.

“Our readers come from all walks of life, demonstrating that God’s word is accessible to us all,” she said. “We are celebrating the birth of our savior who came for all people, not just a few. In these times, this is a really important message.”

The service is open to everyone, especially families.

“It’s appropriate for children of all ages,” Everett said. “It isn’t a long service, and it is always moving and changing. We think it is a perfect way to kick off the Christmas season.”

From a press release submitted by LaGrange College.