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News article

Students and staff welcome the community for York St John Carol Service at York Minster 

Published: 23 November 2022

A choir and a little drummer boy perform in York Minster

Messages of hope, togetherness and protecting the planet as much loved Christmas performance event returns to full capacity. 

The York St John Carol Service has been one of the highlights of the Christmas calendar in York for many years. Students and staff perform a specially curated programme of carols and readings, alongside bespoke performance pieces written for the event.  

It offers a chance for the local community to celebrate the festive season together in the beautiful, atmospheric surroundings of York Minster, free of charge. 

This year the event returns to full capacity for the first time since the pandemic and the teams have pulled out all the stops to make it extra special.  

The theme for 2022 is The Message of the Angels, with twenty-four specially crafted pairs of giant willow and tissue wings set to dominate the scene in the Minster.  

York St John University Chaplain Jane Speck will lead the service. Jane said: “We’re delighted to be back in the Minster with seating at full capacity this year.  The students are rehearsing hard and preparing to delight, inspire and uplift the congregation with dance, music and some truly enormous wings.   

“This carol service is always huge fun, and we all love the chance to worship so creatively in the beautiful Minster.  So do come and join us for carols, prayers, original music and more, then warm up with mulled wine and a mince pie back at the University afterwards.” 

Associate Head: Fine Art Helen Turner has worked on the environmentally friendly props with her first and second year students. They’re made of biodegradable materials and are each up to two metres in length. Helen said: “The brief was angels wings, but we’ve played fast and loose with this. I love the idea that angels will save us but I’m more convinced that we’ll be saved by the winged ones on earth, the insects, the pollinators.  

It’s a call to care for our own ecology and the creatures in it. Maybe these winged ones are the manifestation of angels on earth.  So each pair of wings is unique and references an insect, a bird or even a bat.”  

The evening will feature several student performances with contributions from Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre students, as well as the University and Communitas choirs. 

Bailey Wilcock-Picknett, first year Theology and Religious Studies student, is giving a reading. Bailey said: "The best feeling about the YSJ Carol service is being able to come together and worship in such an important cathedral. It's at the heart of the Christian community in York so to be involved in this event is a great privilege." 

The event takes place on Monday 5 December 2022, 7.30pm to 8.30pm (doors 6.45pm) 

 Booking is via Eventbrite 

Contact us

Communications team

York St John University, Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7EX

01904 876 466

To contact us out of hours, phone 07812 365 499