‘Sing, sing about Christmas’ are words from the popular Catterall carol, penned by the much-missed Rev John Finch, a local Mason, and the packed congregation at the 23rd Lancaster Group Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols needed no second bidding – making the rafters ring in a wonderful service of reflection and celebration held in St Michael’s on Wyre Parish Church.
This beautiful church – the oldest in the district now in its 828th year – was again the superb venue for this, the group’s celebration of Christmas when brethren, their families and friends come together for what has come to be regarded by many as signalling the start of Christmas celebrations.
Joining the congregation at the service, which saw the lessons read by representatives of lodges from across the Lancaster Group, were PrGM Tony Harrison, group chairman Jim Wilson, vice chairman Neil McGill, group secretary Scott Devine and Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Chris Butterfield.
This year saw a very warm welcome given to the June Baker Singers who replaced the Hambleton Choir after a 22 year ‘season’ of support to the Festival. June and her team of singers are certainly very accomplished and are well-known in the Garstang and wider area for their professionalism and support for good causes. They certainly confirmed their credentials with superb renditions of ‘The Angels Choir’ by John Rutter and ‘Be a Gift to the World in Need’ by Allen Pote.
Accompaniment on the church organ throughout the service was by the very talented David Tattersall. Although the evening is one which embraces the whole group it is hosted by St Michaels on Wyre Lodge No 8348 and grateful thanks were again expressed to Allan Brown as the event’s ‘guiding star’ in maintaining the impetus of this important event in the group’s calendar.
Allan and the group officers also again expressed gratitude to Vicar Andrew Wilkinson who led the service and also to the church wardens and the PCC for their continued warm welcome and support in making the event such a happy and enjoyable one.
Following the service mulled wine, sherry and mince pies were served which presented the opportunity for everyone to exchange their own personal good wishes for the festive season.