Archbishop Holgate’s School celebrated their annual carol service in York Minster this December. The 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.

Those present heard the Christmas story retold through music, drama, bible readings, carols and dance. This was done with a particular focus on the challenges and joys that faced Mary and Joseph and how the Christmas story is about the one who is ‘The Guiding Light’.

Over 200 students from Archbishop Holgate’s participated in the service as singers, readers, actors, dancers, musicians, ushers and technical crew. The school was also joined by over 175 pupils from nine primary schools across York and the East Riding who sang together. This year the Community Choir consisted of parents, governors and staff from Archbishop Holgate’s School and others in Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust.

The preacher at the service was the Reverend Paul Deo; Vicar of Heworth Christ Church, a governor at Archbishop Holgate’s School and also part of the chaplaincy team there. Paul spoke of one of his favourite seasonal songs being “I wish it could be Christmas everyday”. He shared why he loves Christmas so much, what are his favourite traditions and gave us an insight into how he and his family celebrate the season. He then read some of his favourite carol verses and the immense truths they convey. He concluded by exploring how it could indeed be Christmas everyday if we cultivate a relationship with Jesus. Explaining how the baby born in the past, can bring meaning to the present and hope for the future.

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 Revd. Paul Deo, a member of the schools chaplaincy team, share with us his thoughts on the impact Jesus can have both on today and all our tomorrows.”