A Humble Crumble Christmas

December 10, 2019 at 9:10 AM

Boys’ School Carol Service

As we enter the season of Christmas trees, carols, gifts and treats, at a time of year when there always seems to be so much ‘busyness’ in our lives, it’s always a joy to stop for an evening, to sit quietly in the splendour of the Holy Trinity Cathedral and enjoy time with our boys, their teachers and families, as we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

In time honoured tradition, the joy of Christmas and the re-telling of the birth of Christ was ushered in with an evening of song and worship at the Boys’ School Carol Service last night. As families gathered, the jazz band played a medley befitting the season – and the congregation sat and wondered what scenario Chaplain, Reverend Reuben Hardie might have concocted for his Christmas message this year!

The service opened with the clear, high voice of Year 8 student, Charles Adams singing the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City from high a balcony above the congregation, leading them to join in the first of the carols.

After Reverend Ivica Garcia welcomed all to the Cathedral, Principal, Mr Peter Cassie reiterated the words of welcome. Mr Cassie said that the Carol Service is undoubtedly his highlight of the School year. He said, ‘It brings our community together; it is a wonderful opportunity to hear our Performers’ Choir singing in a Cathedral; we are able to give thanks to our Year 8 graduates for all they have contributed and wish them well as they prepare to leave. And most importantly, we are inspired by Reverend Hardie as his message will challenge us to remember the real purpose of Christmas.’

The accomplished Performers’ Choir were the first school group to sing, delivering ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’ beautifully, leading the way for Head Boy, Will Ormond and his mother, Josephine Forsman to take the first readings. Next it was time for the Junior Boys to turn and face the congregation to sing the lively, ‘C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S!’  There were a few wide eyes when they saw the extent of their audience, but they soon slipped into the rhythm of their carol, with beaming smiles as some spotted their parents!

Deputy Head Boy, Charlie Dickinson took the third reading, leading to former student, Paddy Leishman being invited to sing, ‘O Holy Night.’ Paddy started in Year 1 in 1999 and is well remembered for his singing. He has recently returned to the School as a Gappy.

We farewell two staff this year who have shown tremendous service to our school – Carolyn Williams has served for 12 years and Gaye Pilkington for 30 years. They were invited to read the final lessons.

The Middle School choir were next to perform singing ‘Christmas Hallelujah,’ the classic Leonard Cohen number reworded for the season, with small groupings bravely stepping forward to take turns as the leads.

Each year, the staff also join as one to present a carol. This year they sang, ‘We Three Kings’ which segued nicely to Reverend Hardie’s message. The carol speaks of three kings from the Orient following a bright star to bring gifts to the King of Kings, the new-born babe of Mary. How might a King of Kings look? And so Reverend Hardie called on Year 3 student, Maddox Bedford to come forward and don the royal robe of a king, and adding a sceptre, a crown and a little bling, calling for choir, a throne and a footstool – the latter in the guise of Year 6 boy, George McGuiness! With a crown on his head, this is what the three Kings may have expected to find, for in those days, success was measured by power and wealth. And yet, Jesus wasn’t the King of Kings in the way our world expected him, and herein lies the essence of Christmas, for the King of Kings was born in a stable to humble parents and spent his first night lying in a manger. The beauty and wonder of Christmas is that a humble boy named Jesus transformed our world forever through his compassion, through his confidence in God and his amazing humility.

Reverend Hardie told the boys that at Christmas, we can get caught up in extravagance and expense, complicated Christmas plans and tricky recipes - but maybe we need to dial that back. Instead of robes and a crown and fussy food, Rev Hardie served up Mrs Pilkington’s classic humble crumble. The crumble serves as a reminder that the story of Christmas points us to one of the values we place great importance on at our school - the value of humility.

As we reflected on the night that Jesus was born, Paddy Leishman returned to sing the opening verse of ‘Silent Night,’ before the congregation joined in.

As the service came to an end, Chapel Prefect, Cayden Lin-Vaile led the Prayer of Saint Kentigern. The final moments of the Carol Service is always a poignant moment for the families of the boys in Year 8 as their association with the School draws to a close. At the conclusion of the service, the Year 8 boys came forward to light a candle, before Head Prefects, Will and Jamie led their peers from the cathedral, marking the start of a new chapter in their lives.

We are incredibly proud of our young men. As they leave our school, we hope and pray that they will always know that they belong – that they will always be sons of Kentigern.


‘Go with confidence and humility
 May you know
 God’s love all around you
 God’s peace in your heart
 God’s wisdom to guide you
 God’s strength each day’


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