(Post originally appeared at Goodwyrds)

On December 14 in the Year of Our Lord 2014, we conducted our annual Festival of IX Lessons & Carols at Uptown Church, or as we affectionately refer to it, #L&C. If you are not familiar with this service, it comes out of the Anglican tradition, specifically King’s College in Cambridge. More on that here and here. Every year I intend to write a follow up blog post about the service, but this year I’m actually going to post a follow up blog post about the service. So here goes.

Note: All of the musical selections are at the end of this post. I put them last because I want to draw recognition to all of the other amazing talent that is so important to this event. But if that’s what you are looking for, just scroll down.


This year, I hired Emory Cash to do some hand-lettering for me. Emory is an extremely talented artist, designer and entrepreneur from Greenville, SC, as well as a dear friend and brother. (If you have seen the giant blue painting I have in my office, that is also his handiwork.) I asked him to letter out Isaiah 60:1, and this is what he came up with:


For print publicity, we hired Mom and Pop’s Printshop, a local business and they printed posters and invitations for us.

uptown lessons carols 1

uptown lessons carols 2



We always hang a large wreath on the organ pipes, but this year local florist and Uptown member Aubrey Rich created something pretty unique. This wreath is made entirely of pages from old hymnals. It is 6 feet in diameter, and Julie buried white lights in between the pages to make it glow. It was pretty special. Aubrey is the owner and operator of Willow Floral Boutique in Huntersville. She arranges flowers (and hymn book pages!) like nobody’s business.



The original art this year was created by our own talented musician and painter, Cate Miller. There are three pieces, and each piece was inspired by a section from John Donne’s divine sonnet, La Corona. The pieces were breath-taking which pictures do not fully capture. She used metallic paints in each pieces to capture light in a unique way, and they really came to life in the sanctuary. Images of the paintings are below and are each followed by the verse of La Corona that inspired them. Also, these paintings will be for sale at the JWU RUF silent auction dinner in a couple of months, so make sure you are there if you’d like to bid. To commission art from Cate, you can email her at “a[dot]cate[dot]miller[at]gmail[dot]com”

Title: Entwine
30×30 Acrylic, Salt and Sand

Cate Miller - Entwine - 2014

Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise,
Weaved in my lone devout melancholy,
Thou which of good hast, yea, art treasury,
All changing unchanged Ancient of days.
But do not with a vile crown of frail bays
Reward my Muse’s white sincerity;
But what Thy thorny crown gain’d, that give me,
A crown of glory, which doth flower always.
The ends crown our works, but Thou crown’st our ends,
For at our ends begins our endless rest.
The first last end, now zealously possess’d,
With a strong sober thirst my soul attends.
‘Tis time that heart and voice be lifted high;
Salvation to all that will is nigh.


Title: Imprisonment
30×30 Mixed Media

Cate Miller - Imprisonment - 2014

Salvation to all that will is nigh;
That All, which always is all everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
Lo! faithful Virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb ; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He’ll wear,
Taken from thence, flesh, which death’s force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created thou
Wast in His mind, who is thy Son, and Brother;
Whom thou conceivest, conceived; yea, thou art now
Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother,
Thou hast light in dark, and shutt’st in little room
Immensity, cloister’d in thy dear womb.

Title: Heaven Came Down
30×30 Acrylic

Cate Miller - Heaven Came Down - 2014

Immensity, cloister’d in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-beloved imprisonment.
There he hath made himself to his intent
Weak enough, now into our world to come.
But O!  for thee, for Him, hath th’ inn no room?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from th’ orient,
Stars, and wise men will travel to prevent
The effects of Herod’s jealous general doom.
See’st thou, my soul, with thy faith’s eye, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.


Finally, this was the song lineup. I hope you’ll follow the links and go support the artists who write this music. The overwhelming majority of the music that we use is not written by artists who are getting wealthy off their work. They’ve chosen to work independently of the mainstream music industry (hence the term,”indie”) so they depend greatly on word of mouth advertising and individual music sales.

(Side note: I always intend to mix down the audio of the service and make it available, but I just never get it done. This year I’m finally just paying someone else to do it. Hopefully in a couple of months, we’ll have a recording. So stay tuned!)

Rejoice, Rejoice! – The Oh Hello’s
listen | purchase

Once In Royal David’s City – Traditional
listen | infopurchase

Out of Heaven – Bifrost Arts
listen | infopurchase

Creator of the Stars of Night – Cardiphonia
listen | infopurchase

Do You Hear What I Hear? – Copeland
listen | infopurchase

Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light – Andrew Pressley
listen | infopurchase

Song of Simeon – Good Shepherd Band
listen | info | purchase

Little Drummer Boy – Erin McCarley
listen | infopurchase

Angels We Have Heard On High – Evan Wickham
listen | infopurchase

Glory Be to God On High – Chicago Metro Presbytery Music
listen | infopurchase

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree – Traditional (I’ve often received questions about the imagery and language in this obscure hymn, so here’s an interesting writeup about it)
listen | infopurchase

Of The Father’s Love Begotten – Traditional
listen | info | purchase

Begin and Never Cease – The Oh Hello’s
listen | info | purchase

That’s it! Looking forward to #LandC2015!

Written by : uptownworship


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