Lessons & Carols 2020 Choir

Grace Episcopal Church offers its annaul Lessons and Carols program, with COVID-19 modifications, on Dec. 13. Left to right: Sara Pope, Sue Wilson, Jeff Snedeker, Garrett Snedeker, Marilyn Wilbanks, Maureen McKinney, Tip Hudson, Dan Shissler (Rhoda Barber is playing organ in the background).

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Grace Episcopal Church presents the 32nd Annual Lessons & Carols Service on Dec. 13 with modifications to comply with COVID-19 restrictions, according to a news release from the church.

Each year, about 300 people attend this ecumenical service of scripture, carols and hospitality at Grace Church. This year because of COVID concerns, Grace Church will be offering the service online. There are two ways to participate:

• Via Zoom at 3 p.m. for live welcomes and to view together the Lessons & Carols video recorded from our readers and musician’s spiritual and personal homes.

• Watch the video directly from Grace’s website at 3 p.m. in unity with others in the Kittitas Valley community.

• Can’t make the 3 p.m. showing? Watch the video of the service anytime. It will be posted on GraceEllensburg.com by noon on Saturday, December 12.

Patterned after the original 1918 service used at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, the celebration begins with the English carol, “Once in Royal David’s City.” Readings and anthems by representatives of area churches from upper and lower Kittitas County follow with carols sung by everyone.

Lessons and Carols was first broadcast by the BBC in 1954 and has become an integral part of the Christmas season throughout the world. It’s been a tradition in Kittitas County since 1988. Grace Church especially wanted to continue this tradition in these days of social isolation.

“We’re excited to be able to offer this joyful service once again. A benefit of a virtual service is that we can share it with more people because we aren’t limited by the size of our sanctuary. Knowing that our neighbors from upper to lower county are joining us from their own homes gives this year’s service a different and rather special feel,” said Sandi Peck, Bishop’s Warden for Grace Church. “We’re committed to continuing our tradition of warm hospitality and open-hearted welcome through this seasonal offering. We’re very grateful for the participation of other local churches in this ecumenical community celebration.”

Although this year people will not gather to share the hot mulled cider and holiday cookies, Grace is trying to uphold this tradition as well. The recipes are posted on Facebook and at GraceEllensburg.com. The Grace Hospitality team invites you to make these favorites in your home and share them during the viewing.

Each year is a unique experience with different readers, musicians, anthems, and carols. Each year, including this one, features carols played on Grace Church’s Kaynor Memorial Pipe Organ (played by Rhoda Barber this season). Although not able to get home to Ellensburg this year, Margret Gries, whose vision initially brought the service to Kittitas County, will be able to participate from afar. She will be playing the prelude and postlude from another John Brombaugh organ at Church of the Resurrection in Eugene, Oregon where she lives.

This year’s service features readers from Church of the Resurrection, Rosyln; Kittitas Sheriff’s Chaplaincy; Kittitas Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation, First United Methodist Church, First Christian Church, First Lutheran Church, and Grace Church from Ellensburg. Our musicians are Peggy Gries, Kara Hunnicutt, Fiddlers on the Wind (Chloe Clyburn, Laurae Lygre, Barb Riley), Jan Jaffe, Roberta Clark and Tim Henebry, Marilyn Wilbanks, Jeff Snedeker, Garrett Snedeker, Tip Hudson, Maureen McKinney, Sara Pope, Dan Shissler, Sue Wilson, Rhoda Barber, and Jake Houser.

Follow the details and get the links at GraceEllensburg.com and at Facebook.com/GraceEllensburg.

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