The Southport Group annual family carol service was held at Emmanuel Parish Church, which saw over 200 brethren from the Southport Group and their families and friends come together. The Reverend Irene Cowell, Vicar of Emmanuel Church, lead the proceedings with the carols and music being provided by organist, Dr Brian Hodge, the choristers of Emmanuel Church and the Marshside Brass Band under the direction of Peter Lockett. There were a number of Southport Masons who are members of both the choir and the brass band.
The usual dispensation having been received enabled the brethren to wear their Masonic regalia if they wished at this event, and It was nice to see so many lodges and chapters represented. Before the start of the service, the congregation was entertained with Christmas music from the band, ensuring that everyone was in the Christmas spirit and ready to sing at the top of their voices.
The director of ceremonies for the day was Paul Heaney who lead the procession of readers, group officials and grand officers during the opening carol ‘Once in royal David’s city.’ They were then joined by the excellent turnout from Masons who were representing their respective lodges, chapters and other Masonic Orders. The choir and curate of Emmanuel Church followed the Masons and took their rightful place in the choir stalls in the chancel.
The Reverend Irene Cowell, then welcomed the congregation and said how nice it was to see so many people in attendance. Lessons and readings during the service were given by Roy Hedges, Andrew Peddler, Peter Martin, Chris Taylor, Martin Lockyer, Tony Hall, Kevin Collins, Neil Latham and Irene Cowell which were punctuated with the carols and hymns which the congregation all performed with fine voices.
Favourites such as ‘O little town of Bethlehem,’ ‘Away in a manger,’ Silent night,’ ‘Hark the herald angels sing’ and ‘Good King Wenceslas’ and the choir performed ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High.’
At the end of the service ‘O come, all ye faithful’ was sung as the recessional carol which was the sign for the brethren to formally make their way out of the church to the church hall where, tea, coffee, biscuits and chocolates were provided. This gave everybody an opportunity to socialise and comment on how much they had enjoyed the service.
Special thanks go once again to the vicar of Emmanuel Church for allowing the Southport Group of Freemasons to hold their annual carol service within their church and to the choir and the Marshside Brass Band for their splendid contribution to the carol service. Thanks also go to John Walters for organising the proceedings and for coordinating the event, Brian Skinner who recruited and organised the stewards Brian Mason and John Vaughn, Mike Robinson for his part in organising the procession of the brethren, Paul Heaney for acting as DC and the other Masons who assisted during the service.
The offering on the day was divided equally between Emmanuel Parish Church and Friends of Tithebarn.