Gary and Suzanne Rose were responsible for organizing Carol Services this year, which were held on Sunday 20th December. It was evident from first entering the Citadel that a lot of time and effort had gone into this event, with special lighting adding to the Christmas atmosphere. The three services followed the same format with the chosen theme “Emmanuel – God with us”. Each service began with a video presentation reminding us of how busy this time of year can be for us all, and how easy it would have been to be elsewhere getting on with other things, but the narrator asked us to BREATH and take a break, relax and take time to be still and remember what Christmas is really all about. Carols were sung, the Band and Songsters, Singing Company and YP Band all took part, all bringing their unique message but there was something different this year too. A few of the young girls in the Corps had been rehearsing very hard for a number of weeks, under the guidance of Karen, and they presented a Timbrel item. Complete with santa cloaks and tinsel. It was great to see this item back on the programme after a break of a few years and the congregation certainly seemed to appreciate it. No carol service would be complete without a nativity play and today was no exception. This year was very special though as the Christmas story was narrated by our very own youngsters, having been recorded earlier and expertly edited to provide the background for the primary children bringing the story to life in a way only children can. Special mention too for the lovely costumes the children wore. Thanks to all concerned for this item, as it was obvious this was well planned in advance and proved to be a really special time within this lovely service. As is custom during these services, the offering is split between a local charity and the Salvation Army Christmas appeal in Kettering. This year the chosen charity was MIND, the Mental Health Charity in Kettering. During each service, a representative from the charity came along to give an appeal for support for this cause. A short video by Stephen Fry, the main patron of MIND was shown, highlighting the acute need for better support for those suffering from mental health issues. This charity in Kettering is providing much needed help for not only the 1 in 4 people in the population who will suffer from this illness but also for their family and friends. The total collection from the three services came to £1309.31 with half going to MIND and half going to help fund the 160+ Christmas hampers delivered by the Salvation Army to those in need within the Kettering area.
Each service was well attended and surely enjoyed by all. One young lady said, having attended for 25 years “this is where Christmas really begins for me” and she had now brought her boyfriend along for his first time. Congratulations to Gary and Suzanne for a job well done. See you all next year!