Westminster Abbey held a Whitehall Carol Service on Wednesday 20th December 2017 in partnership with Christians in Government UK.
The service was conducted by the Sub-Dean of Westminster, the Reverend Professor Vernon White, who said in his Bidding: ‘We have come together as the family of God, in our Father’s presence, as we look forward to the great festival of Christmas. In this service we hear and receive the good news of the birth of Christ and we offer to God our thanksgiving in the joyful singing of carols. As we gather together in the name of Christ, we pray for the world he came to save: for the Church, that it may be enabled in our generation to surrender anew to God’s holy wisdom, and bear the good news of God’s love to a needy world; for the world, which is already Christ’s, that all its peoples may recognise their responsibility for its future, and may be inspired by the message of Christmas to work together for the establishment of justice, freedom, and peace everywhere; and for all in special need: the sick, the anxious, the lonely, the fearful, and the bereaved; for those supported by Christians Against Poverty, to whom our collection will be given this evening; that the peace and light.’
The Address was given by the Reverend Hugh Palmer, Vicar of All Souls’, Langham Place.
Lessons were read by Edward Troup, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (Genesis 2: 4b-9, 15-25); The Lord O’Shaugnessy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Isaiah 9: 2-7); Claire Moriarty, Permanent Under-Secretary for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Civil Service Faith Champion (St Luke2: 1-7); and Sir Robert Devereux KCB, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions (St Luke 2: 8-16).
Prayers were led by the Sub-Dean, and said by Sue Breeze, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Christians in Government; Richard Emmens, Cabinet Office and Christians in Government; and Sijuola Anibab, Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service and Christians in Government.
The service was sung by the Westminster Abbey Special Service Choir conducted by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Peter Holder Sub-Organist and before the service by Benjamin Cunningham, Organ Scholar. A fanfare team from the Band of the Scots Guards also played.