St Columb’s Cathedral was filled almost to capacity on Sunday for the Sunday School Carol Celebration.
The service revolved round the youngest members of the church, and the highlight of the morning was the Nativity Play, which featured 12 children aged four or just under, and around 12 children aged five. The oldest members of the cast were just seven years of age, and they were applauded for their marvellous telling of the Christmas story.
There are currently over 60 young people in the Sunday School, and a high percentage of them are in the junior classes.
“The numbers we have in Sunday School at present augur really well for the future,” said the Dean of Derry, Very Rev Dr William Morton, who went on to praise the children for their confidence and creativity performing in front of so many adults and children.
“It was an excellent occasion on Sunday, and it was wonderful to see so many adults, over 300, join us for the service and showing support for the children. We have over 60 pupils in the Sunday School now,” the Dean said.
Hymns included ‘Once in Royal David City’, ‘Come and join the celebration’, ‘Child in the manger, infant of Mary’, ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem and ‘Hark the Herald Angels sing’. The Organise for the event was Ian Mills.
The Boys Choir sang the anthem ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ with Ross Duncan as soloist for first verse.
The Dean welcomed everyone to the Cathedral for the service and lead the prayers and order of service, assisted by Canon John Merrick.
The readings were from Isaiah 9, 2, 6 and 7 telling of Christ’s birth and Kingdom; St Luke 1: 26-33, 38, on Mary being saluted by Archangel Gabriel; St Luke 2: 1-7, giving an account of the birth of Jesus, and St Luke 2: 8-16, telling of how the Shepherds went to the manger, and a reading from St John 1: 1-14, the story of the unfolding of the mystery of Christ’s birth.
Actors in the Nativity Play were: Narrators, Chloe Burns, Kodie Donaldson, Elle Arbuckle, Sam Hughes, Lauren Bell, Jasmine Foster and Katie Hewitt.
Angel Gabriel, Ruby Hughes and angels, Emily Fielding, Kalie Dalzell, Emma bell, Alexandra Street, Sophie Campbell and Madison Gracie.
Joseph was played by Sam Reilly, Mary was played by Chloe Bradley and the innkeepers were Elliott McClintock, Oran McConomy and Ava Copestake.
The villagers were played by Katelyn Warke, Ellie McIntosh and Ellie Moyse, while the Roman soldiers were played by Ben McKnight, Dylan Bradley, Jack Duddy and Christian Campbell.
The shepherds were Evan McConomy, Ewan Copestake, Sam Moyse and David Carr.
The ‘big star’ was played by Mya Arbuckle, and the Kings were Scott Burns, Clark McClintock and Sewth Campbell.
Herod was played by Jake Hewitt.
The senior classes of the Sunday School, led by Elliot Boyd presented ‘The Christmas Turkey’. The participants were Steven Burnett, Zoe Warke, Cleo Walker, Elliot Boyd, Thomas Burnett, Farrah Foster, Morgan Street, Andi Anderson, Sofie Thompson, Leah Warke, Holly Callen and Louis Callen.