Girls' School Carol Service 2014

November 25, 2014 at 3:21 PM

‘Let us imagine for a moment, the dawn of Christianity in New Zealand 200 years ago. Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands is a place of beginnings for all New Zealand. It was here in December 1814, that The Reverend Samuel Marsden and his missionaries established the first permanent European settlement in Aotearoa New Zealand. He conducted a simple ceremony for a Maori and Pakeha congregation, which heralded the introduction of Christianity into New Zealand on Christmas Day 1814.’

All those who gathered last night at St Mary’s Church for the Girls’ School Carol Service were invited on a journey, to seek and discover again the mystery and joy of Christmas. Titled, ‘A Pohutukawa Christmas’, the Nativity Service was based around celebrating Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere and the 200 years since Samuel Marsden brought Christianity to New Zealand and preached to a Maori and Pakeha congregation up north. On that warm evening children, staff, families and special guests of Saint Kentigern sang old carols, shared some new ones and listened to the joyous message of the Christmas story.

The Very Reverend Jo Kelly-Moore, Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral welcomed the congregation to Saint Mary’s then Principal, Dr Sandra Hastie greeted our families before the Chaplain to the Schools, Reverend Reuben Hardie gave the call to worship.

Year 8 student, Zoe Spencer opened the readings, setting the theme for a service focussed on Christmas in the summer season being such a stark contrast to the northern hemisphere winter Christmas. For New Zealanders today, she said, roaring fires, snowmen, roasted chestnuts, holly and ivy are reminders of the pictures on Christmas cards from our childhood. Year 8 student, Sophia Pettigrove continued the narrative saying that as a nation we are more familiar with summer barbecues at the beach, red pohutukawa trees, pavlova and strawberries. But across the hemispheres, the Christmas story that was shared is the thread that binds us together.

The 3 and 4 year old special guests from the Preschool then all came together to sing an animated, ‘Don’t Tell Anyone’ which was followed by the Girls’ School readers resuming their Christmas tale of poems, songs and stories. As the service continued to unfold, the girls through their readings, songs and actions gave life to a Christmas tree that started the evening bare. The juniors adorned the tree with pohutukawa decorations and the girls carried donated gift boxes down the aisle to lay underneath for the less fortunate children of Dingwall Trust.

Reverend Hardie told the girls that Christmas was a time of vision; a time when we dream of the world as it ought to be – a world of love and happiness. He believed that God’s joy should be shared with others and that Christmas reminds him of bubbles; the wondrous, joyful feeling bubbling away inside and also best shared with others. In fact, he said as pulled out his own bubble making machine and blew a stream of bubbles into the air, he had a special gift for every student to take home - over 200 pots of bubbles!

This year, for the first time, the Performers' Choir sang the Saint Kentigern Girls’ School Blessing. Reverend Hardie wrote the words for the blessing and Chris Artley, the former Head of Music at Corran School, composed the music.

As the Performers' Choir sang, the Year 1 girls came down the aisle in pairs to create an angelic nativity scene at the front of the church. With the service coming to a close, our Year 8 students came forward to receive their Leavers' Candle, a poignant moment for the girls and their families as their time at the School comes to an end.

We give thanks to: Mrs Janine Bennett, Mrs Judith Dobson, Mrs Nicola Brown, Dr Michael Jenkins and Reverend Reuben Hardie for their work in preparing this service with the girls. 

Readers: Zoe Spencer, Year 8; Zoe White, Year 5; Sophia Pettigrove, Year 8; Ava Darbyshire, Year 4; Keeley Berkovits, Year 3; Ms J Davidge; Alexandra O’Connell, Year 2; Emerald Bendall, Year 8; Mrs M Bendall, Anudi Thilakarathne, Year 7; Kristen Hansen, Year 7; Dr S Hastie, Mrs J Dobson, Charlotte Lindsay Smail, Year 8, Ms T Walker; Taylor Hastings, Year 6.

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