On Wednesday 13 December Archbishop Holgate’s School celebrated their annual carol service in York Minster. This event has grown in recent years to become a popular community occasion and one of the largest school carol services in the region. Over a thousand parents, governors, friends of the school and members of the public filled the nave and aisles of the Cathedral, joined by Alison White, the Bishop of Hull.

There they heard the Christmas story retold through the music, drama, bible readings, carols and dance. This was done with a particular focus on how the Christmas story reflects the power of God. Over 200 students from Archbishop Holgate’s participated in the service as singers, readers, actors, dancers, musicians, ushers, technical crew and in a British Sign Language choir. The school was also joined by over 150 pupils from nine primary schools across York and the East Riding who sang together. This year the Community Choir had almost 80 parents, governors and staff from Archbishop Holgate’s School and others in the Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust.

The preacher at the service was the Right Rev. Alison White, Bishop of Hull. She was very enthusiastic about the quality of the service and remarked on how we had seen the familiar Christmas story through new eyes and presented in a new way. She reminded us that you never know who you’ll meet when you set out looking for God. It could be wealthy wanderers or the commonest of shepherds. However, together their lives were changed, and ours can be too.

Richard Nihill, the School’s Chaplain, said “It is a real privilege to present our interpretation of the Christmas story in the beautiful setting of York Minster. We know that for many of the congregation this is their main opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ birth. To have the opportunity to share this with over a thousand people is wonderful. For me the annual carol service is one of the highlights of the school year and a wonderful reflection of our school values. We were delighted to have welcomed the Bishop of Hull to join us in our celebrations”.

After the evening service everyone stayed for refreshments, sharing in mulled wine and mince pies donated by parents. Such was their generosity that, after everyone had eaten plenty, dozens of boxes were then destined for a Senior Citizens Christmas Lunch that the school is hosting.