WFU advent festival helps prepare hearts for Christmas

Continuing the tradition begun last year at Wake Forest University, the university’s Divinity School and the music department will join to hold the second annual “Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols” at Wait Chapel Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The word “advent” means “coming” or “arrival.” According to Jill Crainshaw, coordinator of the event and associate dean for vocational formation in the Divinity School, the “Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols” is designed to celebrate the mystery of the birth of Jesus Christ. “It symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a congregation, as they affirm that Christ has come, that Christ is present in the world today and that Christ will come again,” said Crainshaw.

The one-hour service will feature eight Scripture readings from the biblical books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Haggai, Luke and Mark; choir and ensemble performances; and congregational hymns that will take participants on a journey from the promise of the Messiah to the Israelites in the Old Testament to the birth of Christ and his anticipated return in the New Testament.

Highlighting this year’s event will be the unveiling of the first piece of commissioned textile art for the Divinity School’s liturgical art collection. Karen Dresser, a first-year Divinity School student, was commissioned to create a piece on Mary, the mother of Jesus.

The procession will also incorporate an original musical composition with music written by Susan Borwick, professor of music, and lyrics co-written by Crainshaw and Sheila Hunter, a Winston-Salem musician.

The procession and song will precede the seventh lesson, which tells of Gabriel’s visit to Mary. The reading will be followed by a solo from Bach’s “Magnificat in D Major” sung by Teresa Radomski, professor of music.

The music chosen for this event will also celebrate the diverse backgrounds of Christians throughout the community and the world and include pieces such as an Israeli traditional song, a contemporary gospel song and an African-American spiritual.

The “Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols” and the commissioned artwork were funded through a Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Mich., with funds provided by Lilly Endowment Inc. The event is part of the Divinity School’s “Welcome Table Project,” which emphasizes worship, diversity and dialogue in conjunction with the Wake Forest theme year, “Fostering Dialogue, Civil Discourse in and Academic Community.”

The event is sponsored by the Wake Forest Divinity School and the music department. For more information about the service, call 758-3957.

NOTE TO THE EDITOR: To arrange coverage for this event, contact the News Service at 336-758-5237.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Community, Events