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A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is Sunday at St. James

The annual candlelight service, “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols,” will be at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. James Episcopal Church, 101 N. Fifth St., Marshall.

Since first introduced by King’s College, Cambridge, England in 1918, the service begins with the singing of “Once in Royal David’s City.” It is one of the signature liturgies of any Anglican or Episcopalian parish.

Traditionally the first verse is sung by a young person. Readings of the Nine Lessons will be members of the congregation and community. Carols sung by the congregation and Choir and Youth Musicians offerings will accompany each of the 9 Lessons.

The King’s College service was adapted from an order of worship used on Christmas Eve in 1880, “a little service for Christmas Eve – nine carols and nine tiny lessons”. The lessons and prayers have remained virtually unchanged since that time. Readers of the Nine Lessons begin with the traditional chorister reading from Genesis telling of the Fall in the Garden of Eden and continues with readings that tell of the unfolding of the great mystery of the Incarnation and the birth of Christ.

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