Wreathing Day, Candlelight, and Our Advent Season

In preparation for Candlelight 2017, we wreathed and greened our church with cedar garlands, pine trees, and fir wreaths to set the scene for this wonderful service. We ordered two types of poinsettias--sunset-colored and red--ahead of time so that they'd be delivered fresh the day before. Prepping for the season, there's nothing like editing our liturgy, greening our spaces, and setting out our Advent candles to remind us of the glorious celebration to come.


Each year, our historic St. George’s Church on Stuyvesant Square is the magnificent setting for Candlelight--a service that we love to put on as a gift to our city. St. George’s is a New York City landmark and is also on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and has, for years, stood as a witness to both mission and service in our city. Each year for over 125 years at Candlelight---after weeks of musicians' rehearsals, decorating, organizing our acolyte procession, determining readers, training ushers, and refining the liturgy---we throw open our doors to the city of New York to invite the outside, in. It's a lovely occasion for our parishioners to invite friends who have never heard the gospel, nor wondered about the juxtaposed themes of darkness and light in Advent. 

How do we do this?

At the heart of everything we do at Calvary-St. George's, the focus never turns away from Christ on the cross and the reality of God's work. Candlelight is a service of lessons and carols. Many linguists believe the word “carol” derives from the Greek “Kyrie Eleison” (Lord have mercy upon us). Candlelight through lessons & carols gives us a chance to recall the merciful acts of God and reorient our lives to that mercy working through us, loving others as he has loved all of us.

Wreaths for greening ; A line forming outside of the historic St. George's Church on Stuyvesant Square, waiting to enter Candlelight.

Wreaths for greening ; A line forming outside of the historic St. George's Church on Stuyvesant Square, waiting to enter Candlelight.

This year, under the direction of our music director Kamel Boutros and his associate, Alex Nguyen, the parish choirs and orchestras performed musical settings by Antonín Dvořák, Harry Burleigh, Daniel Taylor, John Rutter,  Benjamin Britten,  and others, with plenty of congregational caroling binding the service together. Our young musicians of the Calvary-St. George Music Academy performed “Mary! Did you know” with soloist Fela James-Jackson.

Additional highlights included: a new choral work sung in Coptic (one of the historic languages of Christians in the Middle East), works by the highly acclaimed Norwegian choral composer Ola Gjeilo, and as always, everyone's favorite Christmas carols.


Candlelight took place early in the month, on the first Sunday of Advent, but our Advent offerings extend past Candlelight. See below:

  • At the Forum this upcoming Sunday (December 10), we have invited the well-known author and speaker, The Reverend Fleming Rutledge, whose books include The CrucifixionGod Spoke to Abraham: Preaching from the Old Testament, and The Battle for Middle-earth: Tolkien's Divine Design in The Lord of the Rings. She graced us with her presence last year at The Forum and most recently at the annual Mockingbird Conference this past April. See you in Anderson Hall at 61 Gramercy Park North at 12:30pm.
  • The Children's Tableau & All-Parish Party takes place on December 12 at 6:00pm.
  • Click here to view our Christmas Eve & Day services

Stay tuned for news on our renovated Clock Towers at St. George's!