Imagine, if you will...

Candlelight services

It is 6.30pm, on Advent Sunday. The church, packed with hundreds of people, is in almost complete darkness; the only light is from the baptistry, where the choir has silently gathered. As the last few haunting bars of the Brahms organ prelude, Es ist ein ros' entsprungen die away, a single voice is heard in the stillness - "I look from afar: and lo, I see the power of God coming...". the Matin Responsory begins the Advent Procession of Carols by Candlelight.

As the service progresses, the candlelit choir procession moves through the body of the church, pausing to sing at various points and the story of Advent unfolds in words and music. Finally, the choir reach the high altar, the sanctuary now aglow with flickering light, and our advent journey comes to a climax. The service finishes with that greatest of all Advent hymns, "Lo, he comes with clouds descending"

Just a few weeks later, on the Sunday before Christmas, we are gathered once again in a darkened church. Tonight, however, as the organ prelude finishes, we hold our breaths, waiting for that childs' voice to sing the first verse of "Once in Royal David's City", signifying the start of the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Advent and Christmas Services 2024

Come and celebrate Christmas at St James the Greater

Find peace, spiritual reflection and the joy of the Christmas message here in our welcoming, inclusive Church.

Enjoy the anticipation of the season through Advent, the traditional splendour of the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, the family Crib Service, culminating in the great celebration of Midnight Mass at 2330 on Christmas Eve. Our choir complements worship, moving from the reflective to the joyous, with choral classics and well-known carols.

Advent Sunday, 1st December 2024

8.30 am - Holy Communion
10.30 am - Sung Eucharist
6.30 pm - Advent Procession of Carols by Candlelight
The service starts with the choir at the back of the darkened church, progressing slowly through the body of the church towards the High Altar, as the candles are gradually lit and the story of Advent unfolds in words and music.

Advent 2, 8th December 2024

8.30 am - Holy Communion
10.30 am - Sung Eucharist
7.30 pm - Caring at Christmas - Leicester Community Carol Service by Candlelight
This is a FREE ticketed service, please see Concert Booking page

Advent 3, 15th December 2024

8.30 am - Holy Communion
10.30 am - Sung Eucharist
6.30 pm - Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols by Candlelight
The Choirs enter from the back of a darkened church, singing Once in Royal David's City. Then in candlelight, a sequence of readings from Holy Scripture unfolds the story of the loving purposes of God from the beginning until now, with the birth of Jesus Christ as the turning point of history.

Christmas Eve, 24th December 2024

8.30 am - Holy Communion
10.30 am - Sung Eucharist
4.00 pm - Children's Carol Service
Craft activities, Christmas Carols and the Christmas Story retold
11.30 pm - Midnight Mass (by candlelight) - Anticipation & celebration
What an extraordinary time to go to church! in the expectant hush is to be found a sense of God. This is not exclusive to Christmas night, but is heightened because we can give undivided attention to God, so that mere curiosity and the desire for something out of the ordinary gives way to wonder and adoration. Communicants are asked to abstain from food and drink for at least two hours before the service

Please Note - There is no Choral Evensong on Christmas Eve

Christmas Day, 25th December 2024

8.30 am - Holy Communion
In the stillness of the early morning, as service according to the timeless Book of Common Prayer
10.30 am - Family Service
'Wrap-up a child and bring it to church' for this informal celebration of the greatest gift the world has ever known
11.45 am - Holy Communion (shortened)

First Sunday of Christmas, 29th December 2024

10.30 am - Holy Communion

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