The Congregation Gathered before the Service

Our annual Carol Service is held, appropriately, in St Peter’s Church in Ashton. It is appropriate because St Peter’s stand just opposite Ashton Masonic Hall on the other side of Manchester Road. We hold the service early in December, in fact we are usually the first Carol Service in St Peter’s. It is always a lovely service. We start at 3 in the afternoon which means that, at this time of year, the light slowly fades out of the Church as we progress.

This year our service was led by Rev Roger Farnworth, as it has been for several years. It’s a very normal Carol Service with one major difference. We sing several Carols, we listen to four readings which tell the unchanging Christmas message, we listen to Roger’s homily and we go home. There is something very comforting in the old, old story of the Christ child.

The Banner Team getting ready to process into Church

The one major difference is that we parade the Masonic Banners of many of the Lodges at Ashton and Audenshaw. They are carried forwards during the singing of the first Carol and they stand proudly behind the Communion Table during the Service.

This year our four Readers were Peter Wood from Rose of Lancashire Lodge, Stephen Guest from Lodge of Union, Victor Murphy from Parnassus Lodge and Rev Canon Richard Hawkins who is our new Assistant Provincial Grand Master. Peter Lee sang two Carols for us and Rev Roger Farnworth spoke about the real message of Christmas before leading us all in prayer.

The Charity Stewards who took our Collection this year

Then it was time for the singing of “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, the Banners were taken back from the Sanctuary and it was time to go back out of this little bubble of Christmas and re-join the normal world. Oh yes, and some of the attendees go off for Dinner at the Broadoak!

Words and photographs are by Kevin Hall. District Communications Officer, Ashton & Mossley District Freemasons.