Residents, councillors and staff gathered at Waltham Abbey Church to celebrate Christmas by Candlelight on Thursday 13 December 2018.
The congregation enjoyed the Abbey at its most stunning as the lights dimmed and candles were lit for the annual Civic Carol Service hosted jointly by Epping Forest District Council and Waltham Abbey Town Council. The service was conducted by Rector Rev Peter Smith with Director of Music Jonathan Lilley leading Waltham Abbey Church Choir.
Readings from King James Bible
Councillor Richard Basset, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council opened the event and welcomed the congregation before the Rev Smith began the service.
Waltham Abbey Town Mayor Jeane Lea, Councillor Jodie Lucas, the Rev Helen Gheorghiu Gould, Daniel Mehr from Epping Forest Youth Council and Cllr Richard Bassett, gave readings taken from the King James Bible.
Traditional Christmas carols
The congregation joined in with traditional Christmas carols and prayers before Cllr Lea closed the service and invited everyone to join her for mulled wine and mince pies over the road at Waltham Abbey Town Hall.
The offertory collection will be shared between Waltham Abbey Church, Cllr Bassett’s charity – Community Transport and Cllr Lea’s charity – Essex Air Ambulance.
Christmas message from EFDC Chairman
Chairman Councillor Richard Bassett said: “It’s almost Christmas, a time when most of us can look forward to spending time with family and friends. But I believe it is also a time to reflect on others, particularly those who don’t have family and friends to enjoy the festive season with….and to make sure we help our friends and neighbours at times of need.”
“A few weeks ago I slept out at Chelmsford Cathedral to raise money for the homeless at Christmas. Not only did it give me a real insight into the challenges others face every day, but it also made me think about the difference that charities like Chess Homeless make to those who have no homes to go to. I found it a very humbling experience.
“As I have been visiting around the district this year I have met many people who, because of unfortunate circumstances, find themselves in difficult situations requiring our assistance and I see so many volunteers doing such an excellent job of helping them.
“Christmas should be a time of peace and goodwill to everyone, not just the materialistic giving of presents.
“Therefore at this joyous time of year can we also think of those less fortunate or lonely and, if an opportunity arises, help where we can.
“I would also like to say thank you to everyone I have had the pleasure to meet this year and wish you all a very Happy Christmas.”