for the
Family Service
St. Augustine's

2005 December 11

These are notes and comments on some of the items which appear in the Family Carol Service script. Links from the script point to these entries; clicking the links in the left hand column of the table takes you back to the corresponding link in the script - or, where more than one link from the script points to the note, back to the first such link.

The comments are typically related to features of the service which are specific to our church or the time of the service, or which for some other reason we think might require alteration for another setting.

For references to the internal geography of the church, it might be helpful to inspect the plan.

Furniture : Manger and two chairs at Hospital side.

One chair in front of altar.

Christmas tree : decorated with plain lights, the words "GOD IS WITH US" in large red letters strung across the tree, "gold" streamers flowing down from the top to the bottom.

On the curtain behind the altar : The word "EMMANUEL" in gold letters.

Mary, Joseph, and ( standing child ) Jesus figures on the altar.

Suspended from the cross above the curtain : a smaller cross shrouded in gold gauze, pulled in to make a four-pointed star, with the cross visible through the gauze. A stream of gold gauze flows from the foot of this cross to the Holy Family on the altar below.

Properties : "Camp fire" at Hospital side for shepherds' story.

Straw and water by Christmas Tree for Rachel to pick up.

People : Stage hand at front behind Christmas tree.

Narrator at front behind lectern.

Computer operator at computer.

BEHIND THE CHRISTMAS TREE That means "hide". Our Christmas tree is next to the wall, so there's a convenient hiding place behind it. Any hiding place wil do.
ALL GLORY BE ... Tune for "While shepherds watched their flocks by night".
CAMP FIRE This is a simulated ( electric ) "camp fire" which looks more symbolic than realistic, but does the trick
CHOIR It was not an ambitious choir. We just made sure that someone knew the carol, which was a new one to us. Ideally, you need rather more rehearsal than we had - the singers should be good enough ( and numerous enough ) to give a strong lead to the congregation.
EMMANUEL The passages on mauve backgrounds together comprise a poem based on Mary's thoughts about her Child, and the events connected with His birth.
GOLD The colour gold ( not the metal ! ) was emphasised in our Christmas decorations - see above.
JACOB Jacob is one of the shepherds. He's the only one who acts independently, so he's the only one identified by name.
NURSE Our baby Jesus was a real baby; if yours is a doll, you won't need the nurse, who plays no part in the performance itself.
SHEEP Some of the shepherds carried toy sheep. It sounds a bit silly, but worked in the service, perhaps because we had some very small shepherds.

Instead of our usual "gold" star on the Christmas Tree, we had a special Christmas star suspended from the cross above the curtain. This was a smaller cross shrouded in "gold" gauze, pulled in to make a four-pointed star. A stream of "gold" gauze flowed from the foot of this cross to the Holy Family on the altar below.

V MARY, V ANGEL "V Mary" and "V Angel" are the Voices of the actors Mary and Angel during the reading. Mary and Angel mime their parts, while the Voices speak their words as part of the Bible reading. This allows Mary and Angel to concentrate on the acting, and greatly improves the flow of the reading.

( To some extent that's because we have too little preparation to be sure that the actors will learn their parts, so they are often reading from scripts during the service. Even if that were not so, though, the effect is good. )