|38th annual Lessons & Carols
The 38th annual Service of Lessons & Carols will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at San Francisco Theological Seminary's Stewart Memorial Chapel. The services start at 7 p.m. each evening and will be followed by a reception on adjacent Geneva Terrace.
This year’s theme is “Hope of All the Earth” from the beloved Advent hymn, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus written by Charles Wesley. The hymn is based on Haggai 2:7 and Isaiah 9:6.
People from throughout Marin County join the SFTS community, including students, staff, alumni and friends, to begin the Advent season with song and reflection. The service attracts people from a broad spectrum of religious persuasions, making it one of the most popular campus events all year.
“The Lessons & Carols service is one of the highlights of the academic year,” said Rev. Scott Clark, chaplain and associate dean of students at SFTS. “The SFTS Seminary Singers lead worship with amazing music, and we invite folks from across the community to serve as readers, as we tell the Advent story. Stewart Chapel is decorated for the season and there’s a great reception with cookies and cider afterwards.”
The Lessons & Carols service observes Advent's time of preparation and the coming of the Christ Child. Started in 1975 by SFTS Professors David Esler and Wil Russell, Lessons & Carols follows the pattern and liturgy of the Advent festival as presented in King's College Chapel at Cambridge University in England.
Dr. Dan Hoggatt, professor of church music at SFTS, says Lessons & Carols is one of his favorite events of the year because music plays such an important role in the service.
“Music has always been bound together with the season of Christmas,” Hoggatt said. “Music is also a key component for Lessons & Carols and a way we reach out to the community.”
Among the favorite hymns that will be sung during this year’s Lessons & Carols are O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Angels We Have Heard on High and Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. This event is free and open to the public.