Advent and Christmas 2020

MORE CAROLS THIS TIME FROM THE NEDERLANDS     Zingen op Afstand (Dutch for: Singing at a distance)   Something a little different!

Lotte van Poppel writes:This project brings to you at home both the Schola Cantorum (the choir of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands) as well as the (closed) Nativity scene of the Saint John’s cathedral Through this way, we want to bring the Christmas spirit to everyone at home, because they are not able to attend the churches’ services, concerts and Nativity scene.

also nearer to home  A JOURNEY TO THE MANGER  at St Chad’s Romiley 



4 pm CHRISTINGLE CELEBRATION on All Saints’ Facebook Live Page

4 pm CRIB SERVICE St Thomas Mellor You can join on the youtube channel

11.30 pm MIDNIGHT CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE from St Thomas Mellor You can join on the youtube channel


10 am CHRISTMAS DAY CELEBRATION  St Thomas Mellor You can join on the youtube channel

10.15 am CHRISTMAS MORNING WORSHIP from the Vicarage on All Saints’ Facebook Live Page – see resources below


ALL SAINTS –  our online services at 10.15am on both Christmas Day and Sunday 27th December will be Worship Together services and there will be no separate kids church online service earlier. Some resources to help children ( and others!) to engage with the services.All Saints Christmas 2020

For Christmas Day there is a Christmas Day Bingo sheet. The idea is that you print it off and then colour in the pictures as you hear things referred to throughout the service. The attachment has 3 different versions of the bingo board incase different members of the household want to compete. If you would like to keep things more harmonious then please print multiple of one version!!

For Sunday the 27th There are colouring sheets that will be relevant to the service which you might like to print off to complete during the course of the service. We will be suggesting alternatives to colouring, such as creating with lego or play dough so if you prefer this idea you might like to have these available too.

CATCH UP  4th SUNDAY OF ADVENT  December 20th


You will find the service sheets for all St Thomas service  on the  website

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT  – a service of advent carols and readings from   Mellor Church   – beautiful views from within the church and of the countryside around.

                                                                           Silent Night
In 1995 a lost manuscript was discovered in the handwriting of Fr. Josef Franz Mohr, priest of St Nicholas Church in the small town of Oberndorf Bei Salzburg in the early years of the nineteenth century. Dated by investigators to be c.1820 it was the original lyrics of ‘Silent Night’

A social reformer, dedicated to children and the needs of the poor, Fr. Mohr asked Franz Xaver Gruber, local school teacher and organist, to set his poem to music for the Christmas Eve Mass, 1818. Originally set for guitar and voice, it rapidly became an iconic carol. First published in Four Genuine Tyrolean Songs(1833) it is a carol of devout simplicity and has been translated into many languages. At the Christmas Eve Truce during World War I, it was sung by British and German troops jointly in the trenches.

There is a Silent Night Museum in Salzburg and a Joseph Mohr school in Wagrain. In 2011 UNESCO declared this unforgettable carol a cultural heritage

                       Hark! the Herald Angels sing
The Wesley brothers, John and Charles, headed the Oxford Methodist movement in the eighteenth century. Charles wrote an astonishing number of hymns and poems – reputedly over 6,000 – impacting on the lives of countless people. For Christmas Day 1739 he wrote the lyrics for this carol.

One hundred years later a Festgesang( Festive Hymn) by the composer Mendelssohn was first performed in the open air in Leipzig to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Gutenberg’s  invention of  printing.  W.H. Cummings, an English organist and musicologist, adapted a chorus from Mendelssohn’s work to the words of Charles Wesley, forming this most popular carol.

                           O Come All Ye Faithful
A carol with an intriguing history. Originally ‘Adeste Fidelis’  in Latin , the poem has been attributed to several authors including medieval monks and John IV of Portugal. The composer is unknown, but it probably comes from the eighteenth century.  Although difficult to trace its origin, a manuscript dated 1751 is in Stonyhurst College and the Henry Watson Music Library in Manchester. It was signed by John Francis Wade, an English supporter of Bonnie Prince Charlie, who fled to the Continent after the failed 1745 Jacobite Rising.  He settled in Douai where he taught music. During recusant times this carol was particularly associated with underground Catholicism and reputed to contain subversive Stuart references.

See Amid the Winter’s Snow
The words are by Edward Caswall, translator of many hymns into English. It was published in his collection The Masque of Mary and Other Poems (1871), having been written shortly after his conversion to Catholicism, becoming a priest and joining the Oratory of St Philip Neri.

John Goss, organist  at St Paul’s Cathedral and composer to the Chapel Royal, set it to music in 1871. Clarity of words and melody, with references to the manger, shepherds and heavenly choir, make this an approachable undemanding carol. The melody has been used in several protest and political songs from 1960s onwards.

        In the bleak Mid-Winter
Words by the English poet Christina Rossetti, describing the reality of a lonely mother giving birth in a strange environment, it first appeared in Scribner’s Monthly Magazine in 1872. Sister of the Pre- Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel, she suffered from ill health finding comfort in writing religious poems. This small masterpiece – sombre, delicate and personal- has an irregular rhythmic pattern requiring a well-constructed melody. It was set to music by Gustave Holst in the English Hymnal (1906). The final verse has the poignant message that rather than expensive gifts we should give the love from our hearts at Christmas.

                   O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Possibly the oldest carol that we sing, the original Latin words date back to the ninth century. The melody, apparently plainchant, could have originated in a fifteenth-century processional hymn sung by French nuns. This haunting carol, with its sombre melody, appeared in an English translation in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) by John Mason Neale. An Anglican priest, scholar and hymn writer who translated many hymns from Latin and Greek, he gained much encouragement from the late nineteenth-century Oxford Movement led by John Keeble and St Henry Newman.

 These notes  were compiled by Tony Walker