Christ Episcopal Church brings back its musical holiday tradition

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:18

    NEWTON-For 25 years, the Christ Episcopal Church, at 62 Main St., in Newton has presented holiday music for the community at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. On Dec. 19 the Sussex County yuletide tradition will again continue with a presentation by the Christ Episcopal Church Choir directed by Joseph Mello. Accompanying the renowned choir at the 7:00 p.m. performance will be S. Gregory Shaffer on pipe organ, plus a brass quintet. A BBC favorite in Britain, the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols has been broadcasting there since the 1930s. Its origins, however, go back to Christmas Eve 1918 when Eric Milner-White was appointed Dean of King's College in Cambridge and believed that the Church of England needed a more imaginative worship. A revision of the Order of Service in 1919 rearranged the Lessons and from that date, the hymn, "Once in Royal David's City" has begun the program. Now Lessons and Carols has millions of listeners worldwide. Locally, the Christ Episcopal Church, which was chartered by King George II in 1774, has adapted this tradition of alternating carols and lessons (readings about the birth of Jesus Christ) which are read by church members. Visitors from around the county have identified the Christ Episcopal Church as the place where Christmas music is performed in grand style. Choral Master Joseph Mello and the Parish Choir sing familiar Christmas classics as well as hauntingly memorable anthems. Lessons and Carols adds spirit and meaning to the entire holiday season. A good will offering is requested and a reception will follow the service. For more information, call the church office at 973-383-7129.