Whitehall Carol Service 2012 - Wednesday 19th December
More than 2000 civil servants from across government joined together with Ministers, members of the foreign diplomatic community and senior staff, including the Head of the Civil Service, to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas in the annual Whitehall Carol Service on Wednesday 19th December. The Service was held in the historic setting of Westminster Abbey for the second time, with the world famous Abbey Special Services Choir leading the congregation in the singing of carols. The highlight for many was the sight of fanfare trumpeters of the Grenadier Guards appearing high above the congregation in the Organ Gallery to trumpet fanfares to accompany carols such as 'O Come All Ye Faithful' and 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing'. The combination of the choir, organ and trumpeters performing together proved to be a magical combination and few will forget the dramatic sight and sound. The Choir also gave beautiful and moving renditions of the carol 'O Holy Night', William Walton's arrangement of 'Verbum caro factum est' and Eric Whitacre's 'Lux Aurumque'.
The leader of the Salvation Army worldwide, General Linda Bond, made history by becoming our first female speaker, and reminded us that Christmas was a time for celebration of Jesus' birth and subsequent death and resurrection. She also said that Christmas was a time for compassion, speaking about the work of the Salvation Army but highlighting that, for the Christian, compassion was not just for Christmastime. The Education Secretary Michael Gove and Pensions Minister Steve Webb were amongst our distinguished guests who joined us for the Service and gave readings together with a number of Permanent Secretaries. Attorney General Dominic Grieve and Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt read prayers. We were also delighted that diplomatic representatives from a number of countries joined us at the service. There was a retiring collection towards the costs of the service, the Salvation Army and the Children's Society. This raised £3402.