for the
Family Service
St. Augustine's

2006 December 10

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.

Decorations : On blue curtain, Shalom, peace etc.

Furniture : Chair in front of altar towards Hospital side for Mary, then Joseph, then Elizabeth, then Herod to sit on;

Two chairs and manger in stable in Hospital corner, with doll hidden ready to be baby Jesus;

Chair for angel next to organ;

Lectern by Hospital wall.

Properties : Christmas tree with doves on it;

SIGNS "Mary's home", "Elizabeth's home", "Joseph's home", "sheep fold", "Herod's Palace" on card table at back;

Door at organ side just in front of altar rail;

Camp fire at Hospital side ready to move in front of altar.

People : Narrator at lectern;

Reader at lectern;

Angel Gabriel on chair next to organ;

Computer person at computer;

Organist at organ;

People to hand out orders of service;

Someone ready to give out music if required.

ANGELS The number of angels is arbitrary, but if there are too many they might clutter up the view. ( That hasn't been one of our problems. )

They are dressed in white gauzy outfits with "wings" attached to their arms; they "fly" by running with arms outstretched and held up a bit. This is surprisingly effective.

CAMP FIRE This is a simulated ( electric ) "camp fire" which looks more symbolic than realistic, but does the trick

CHRISTMAS TREE We customarily have a large Christmas tree topped with a "star of Bethlehem" in the church during the Christmas season, and we fit it into the carol service somehow if we can. This year, we decorated the tree with paper doves instead of lights. Apart from references to the doves and to the star ( and a few purely geographical references ) the tree plays no part in the service.

DOOR The door should be set up somewhere fairly out of the way of movements during the service, but clearly visible to the congregation, who should be able to see when it's opened and shut. Ours was across the passage between the first row of seats and the performance area.

We used a "paper door" which we've used before.

HOUSE The "stable" is assumed to have changed in the "house". The alternative is to have another "building", or at least to have Mary, Joseph, and Jesus move out and in again. In practice, simply letting them stay there worked perfectly well, as the action makes it clear what's happening.

O PRINCE OF PEACE This is not a common carol, but we included it because it fits the message of the service perfectly. More details here.

The original tune was not well suited to easy learning, so we used the tune Salus Mortalium ( in "Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised" ) with the short line repeated as many times as required. People seemed able to pick it up quite well.

SHEPHERDSAn arbitrary number, but avoid too many. There are speaking parts for five; you could probably get away with fewer by adjusting who says what a bit.

SIGNS The signs are used during the Christmas story to identify the place of the current action. They should be big enough to see from anywhere in the hall, and easily attached to and detached from some suitable support. ( We used "Blue-Tak" - a sort of sticky putty - to attach the signs to the face of the altar. )

STABLE A "building" representing the stable. It's later used as a house.