“Love and joy come to you,
And to you glad Christmas too.
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year,
And God send you a Happy New Year!”
An Annual Caroling Tradition
Christ Church Christiana Hundred has a long tradition of caroling. Recently, we revamped our yearly caroling event to reach more young families, and to be more mission-oriented.
The Friday before Christmas we offer caroling, craft activities, and dinner for two groups of carolers. Both groups use the same booklet of carols, which we have tweaked over the years. The entire event is coordinated by the Parish Life Committee, with support from the Minister for Children and Youth. We publicize the event to the entire church community, and especially to the families of our church preschool.
Two Groups for Flexibility
We start at 3:30, so that families with young children can join. We begin with crafts, which includes making cards for the people to whom we will sing. There are generally about 60 carolers in the early group. They leave at 4 p.m. and visit one location where they sing and pass out cards. Last year, we sang at a group-home for women recently released from prison; this year we will be at a local nursing home.
Our second group of 25-30 gathers at 5:30, just as the other group is returning. With about 45 minutes of overlap, everyone shares a pizza dinner, cookie decorating and face painting. The second group leaves around 6:00. This group visits home-bound parishioners and several nursing homes, returning around 9:30 or 10:00 – a long evening!
Caroling on a large scale is fun and intergenerational – especially at a time when everyone is in need of some cheer and restoration. It also creates connections, in this case, connecting preschool, church, and the communities where we sing. Finally, we get to sing more carols than we can ever possibly sing in church!
Lynne Jensen is the Minister for Children and Youth at Christ Church Christiana Hundred in Wilmington, DE. As part of her duties, she is on the staff of Christ Church Episcopal Preschool. Lynne has been involved with children’s ministry in the Diocese of Delaware for 26 years, including 25 years as a Godly Play teacher and trainer.
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