Three local churches join forces to Bring Lessons & Carols to Ridgefield on December 18

Three Local Churches Join forces to Bring Lessons & Carols to the Community on December 18, 2022 at 3PM

Jesse Lee Church, Danbury United Methodist Church (UMC) and Bethel United Methodist Church (UMC) are coming together to lead the Lessons & Carols worship on Sunday, December 18 beginning at 3PM at Jesse Lee Church, 207 Main Street in Ridgefield, CT.

Lessons & Carols has a long tradition at Jesse Lee. Historically, it took place during a Sunday morning worship service. When Sarah Fox joined Jesse Lee as the Music Director in 2020, she moved the service to its traditional time of 3PM in the afternoon on the Sunday before Christmas Day. This way, Jesse Lee is engaged in a tradition that started in Cambridge, England in 1918 and is now being performed at churches around the globe on the same day and time.

In 2020, at the height of the COVID pandemic, Sarah Fox and Andrew Levine, the Music Director at Danbury United Methodist Church, put Lessons & Carols together over Zoom and congregants from both churches watched it via livestream. Andrew Levine (MD at Danbury UMC) wrote and performed (alongside Jeanine Pardey-Levine, soprano) a new composition based on a traditional Lessons & Carols text: "There is No Rose." The virtual, live-streamed Lessons & Carols served as the world premiere of this work, which has been performed several times in other venues since.

This collaboration went very well, so in 2021, Sarah and Andrew decided to work together to perform Lessons & Carols again, this time in person. This service was the home of the world premiere of Andrew's trio for three voices "Little Lamb," based on a William Blake poem. In addition, the traditional hymns, organ music, and choir music of many well-loved Lessons & Carols services were present.

In 2022, Lessons & Carols collaboration expanded once again. Jesse Lee Church and Danbury UMC brought in the Bethel UMC. Jessica Bardelli, the Director of Music at Bethel UMC was hired as the Church Office Manager at Jesse Lee which began conversations of collaboration. The three directors decided to invite the singers from churches in both their Cooperative Parishes (groups of churches formed by the United Methodist Conference). This year's Lessons & Carols will include invitations for singers from 11 churches to join!

Lessons & Carols in 2022 features beloved Christmas hymns, beautiful choir anthems, octets (small groups of singers), and yet another newly composed work by Andrew Levine. 

The event is free. All are welcome to attend this seasonal favorite service of worship in song and prayers.

Submitted by Ridgefield, CT

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