Glasgow City Council’s annual service of the Blessing of the Crib was held on 7 December 2011. Despite the forecast heavy rain, the evening was in fact dry if somewhat chilly, but everyone involved had dressed for the cold, particularly the Gorbals Children’s Choir, composed of pupils from St. Francis and Blackfriars Primary Schools. The children came wrapped up in bright woollies and were excited to discover that they were to sit on bales of straw (although one little girl was less than impressed to discover that straw was scratchy, not soft).
The children were supported for the event by the Alba Brass Quintet and friends plus some of the St. Mungo Singers, church leaders representing Glasgow Churches Together and Lord Provost Bob Winter, as well as members of their families and friends.
The service opened with the singing of “O Come All Ye Faithful”. In welcoming the assembled crowd, Lord Provost Winter commented that this was his fifth and final time at the celebration as Lord Provost. It was a great honour to be present at a service which was a fitting reminder to all of the central purpose of the season’s celebrations and a time for reflection on how we can contribute to the New Year.
The children then sang a lively song “Love Shine a Light”, accompanied by two members of the Alba Brass on trumpet and trombone, with infective enthusiasm. This was followed by the singing of part of the Christmas story from the Gospel of St. Luke by cantor Gerry Healy, and the blessing of the Crib by Archbishop Mario Conti. Fittingly the next carol was “Away in a Manger”, begun by the children.
The Rev. Alan Anderson, Superintendent of the Methodist Church in Glasgow brought
greetings from Glasgow Churches Together, wishing everyone hope for the whole world, a world blessed by love. The Rev. Sandra Black, Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery, then led those present in prayer for the city and the world, before the church leaders joined in the blessing and everyone was invited to exchange a sign of peace with those around them.
After the vote of thanks, given by Rev. Paul Romano, everyone joined in singing the final, well known, carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. A lovely final touch was added by sisters of the Missionaries of Charity handing out bright home made stars with a figure of the Christ child at their centre to those attending the service as they made their way out through the busy Square and its many other attractions which, for a short time at least, had faded into the background.