Boys' School Carol Service 2014

December 02, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Bring back the simple to Christmas

In what must be a first for the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell, a cricket pitch was set up in the nave as Chaplain to the Schools, Rev Reuben Hardie urged the congregation to return to the simple pleasures of life this Christmas! 

As the jazz band played, the boys, their families, staff and special guests, along with the children from the Preschool, filled the cathedral to capacity. Every chair was brought out and still there was standing room only!

The service opened with the clear voice of Anthony Gu, from on high, as he sang the first verse of ‘Once in Royal David’s City,’ accompanied by Sam Looker on the hand bells. This opportunity to sing solo in the grandeur of the cathedral is an annual feature of the Boys’ School service; a moving start to an evening that brings the Saint Kentigern community together to celebrate as a family, give thanks for the year, to rejoice in the joy of Christmas and to farewell the boys in Year 8 as they prepare to move on to their next stage in life.

In his opening words of welcome, Principal, Mr Peter Cassie told the boys that there were only 24 sleeps to Christmas and the time had come to enjoy singing carols and decorate the tree. It’s a time to enjoy summer weather, beaches, barbecues, holidays, family, friends and laughter. It’s a time of gifts and giving. And it’s a time to remember what we are really celebrating as we rejoice in the birth of Jesus.

As the service unfolded, Head Boy, Benjamin Lerner and his mother, Rachel gave the first two readings, followed by retiring staff member, Mr Barry Kemp. We enjoyed performances from the Performer’s Choir, including a solo from Deputy Head Boy, Beck Robson. The staff then joined them to sing ‘Carol of the Bells.’

Reverend Hardie said he didn’t often acquiesce to special requests but as this one came from a higher authority – his wife – he arranged for some Middle School boys to introduce Joy to the World with hand bells. The congregation agreed with his wife; a worthy addition! Well done!

The Junior School boys sat as quietly as possible for inquisitive 5 and 6 year olds in full view; resplendent in the white shirts of their chapel uniform and that oh-so-tempting tie on elastic, until it was their turn to sing ‘The Angels Sang.’ They were promptly upstaged by the Preschoolers who came forward to present ‘Five Little Christmas Trees’ with the children who are transitioning to school in the New Year, taking the lead.

Reverend Reuben Hardie, once again delivered a service that had appeal for all age groups. In these increasingly busy times, many of us continue to add stress to our already pressured lives. He asked if we really need to overload the tree with gifts,  glaze the ham in yet another new way, make 25 different side dishes, rush from one Christmas event to the next or plan over-elaborate holiday trips? He reminded us that the original Christmas wasn’t that complicated. The wise men limited themselves to only three gifts. Joseph clearly didn’t bother himself with calling ahead or over-complicating the itinerary and Mary didn’t seem to worry too much about anything - a stable was good enough for the night and she contented herself with a manger to lay her baby. For the most important thing that night was that God loved the world so much he gave his only son.

Rev Hardie urged us to take away the unnecessary and learn to gain pleasure from the simple things that Kiwis have come to enjoy at Christmas time. And with this introduction, the cathedral was transformed as a cricket pitch was set up, the boys fired up the barbie, rustled up a tent and a sleeping bag and found themselves some hokey pokey ice creams. The four boys who scored the final role definitely didn’t draw the short straw!

The Reverend concluded by saying he hoped we will remember that the most important thing in life is love. And that God’s love came to us in a very simple way, ‘For unto us a child was born.’Jesus was born into the world to help us focus on the things that truly matter.

At the conclusion of the service, the Year 8 boys came forward to light a candle; a poignant time for the families as their long association with the School comes to an end.

The School offers thanks to Rev Tony Surman for his words of welcome and for hosting our service in cathedral and to the organist, Mr Philip Smith, for providing the accompaniment to our carols.

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