The University of Tulsa: A Festival of Lessons and Carols

On Sunday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m., Sharp Chapel and the University of Tulsa’s Chamber Choir will present one of TU’s most anticipated Christmas traditions: “A Festival of Lessons and Carols.” Led by Chaplain Jeff Francis, the holiday service is free and open to the Tulsa community.

200 Years of History

“A Festival of Lessons and Carols” dates back to nineteenth century Europe. It is composed of traditional hymns alternated with Christmas and Advent readings, which will be read by the members of TU Chorale. The service was first organized in 1918 by Eric Milner-White and has been adapted multiple times over past two centuries. His original composition was derived from a form of worship created by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who at that time, delivered it in a wooden shed that was used as his cathedral.

Following the first performances of the service, surrounding churches in England began to adopt the tradition—and soon enough, it spread worldwide. For the University of Tulsa, it became an annual tradition, cherished by the students and faculty and the city of Tulsa.

Not Just a Place of Worship

The performance will take place at TU’s Sharp Chapel. The university was founded by Presbyterian ministers in Muskogee and its first location in Tulsa was situated next door to the original First Presbyterian Church. Today, Sharp Chapel is the main sanctuary for their worship on campus but offers even more to all TU students. “It is used not only as a place of worship, but also as a gathering place for faculty and students,” stated Mary McKee, Assistant to the Chaplain. Members of Sharp Chapel invite all students to take advantage of their study rooms and provide free refreshments during finals. They also welcome students to come relax by the fireplace or play the piano as a study break!

Today, Sharp Chapel remains an important part of the Tulsa community. It has become a very popular spot for the weddings of students and alumni and continues to help students find their home at TU.

Article written by TU media studies senior Jennifer Martin, and the video was filmed and edited by media studies students.