On 14th December 2023 – and for the first time in 3 very long years – the Livery congregated at St. Lawrence Jewry for the annual Carol Service.
Not only was this our new Master’s first “internal” event, but we had the pleasure of welcoming Fr. James Titley – the new incumbent of the recently restored Guild church – as our new honorary chaplain, on the retirement of the Reverend Canon David Parrott. To mark his appointment, the Clerk (in conjunction with Canon Parrott) quickly invented a new “ancient” admission ceremony at the very beginning of the service, during which the Master asked Fr. Titley whether he would faithfully undertake his duties as Chaplain and, upon confirmation of the same, presented him with his badge of office. Then, we were back to the standard format of carols, lessons read by the Wardens (or, more accurately: IPM Chris Searle masquerading as Upper Warden; PM Riley masquerading as Middle Warden; and Alderman Vincent Keaveny masquerading as Renter Warden – for he is currently only “Renter Warden Elect”) and the Master, some rather lovely motets sung by the choir, and a choice inaugural sermon – featuring a brown bowler hat, no less! – which has set the bar high in terms of future Carol Services (and graces!).
At the end of the service, we repaired to the 3rd floor dining room in the Guildhall where, after a short welcoming address, we sat down to a delicious buffet supper courtesy of The Cook and The Butler – and some rather fine bin ends from our own cellars!
Many thanks to the Master for supplying the fizz (although I was somewhat aghast to hear him – a Master of Wine, no less – describe Nyetimber as “Champagne” (!), but to be fair he quickly corrected himself…) which, this year, was wisely only on offer to those who were actually attending the supper.
Judging by the emails the following morning, the event was deemed a great success. In short: the Carol Service is back. Alleluia!