Join SFTS for the 36th annual Lessons & Carols

The theme for the 36th annual Lessons & Carols service Dec. 3-4 at San Francisco Theological Seminary is “Rest, and Hear the Angels.”
The beloved carol, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, contains the text from which this year’s theme originates:
            Look now! For glad and golden hours
            Come swiftly on the wing;
            O rest beside the weary road,
            And hear the angels sing.

Just as this carol, written by Edmund Hamilton Sears in 1849, has traditionally been sung in churches around the world for more than a century, SFTS is once again excited to invite people from throughout Marin County, and Seminary alumni and friends to this holiday celebration. Held in Stewart Memorial Chapel at 7 p.m. both nights, the service traditionally attracts people from a broad spectrum of religious persuasions, making it one of the most popular campus events all year.

The candlelight service observes Advent's time of preparation and the coming of the Christ Child. Started in 1975 by SFTS Professors David Esler and Wil Russell, Lessons & Carols follows the pattern and liturgy of the Advent festival as presented in King's College Chapel at Cambridge University in England.

Over the years, the liturgy has been modified to include some contemporary musical compositions. However, the basic format of the service has remained unchanged from its rich original mix of selected scripture lessons, Advent hymns and Christmas carols. The program features inspired readings from scripture, special music from the Seminary Singers, the Dobbins pipe organ and congregational singing.

Admission is free, but there will be a freewill offering. Everyone is welcome, but seating is limited, so SFTS encourages those planning to attend to arrive early. Shuttle van service will be available from Kensington Road to the top of Seminary Hill. A reception outside on the Geneva Terrace will follow the service.

>> Click here to view the 2009 Lessons & Carols photo gallery

Two great reasons to spend Dec. 3 on our San Anselmo campus

The SFTS Office of Alumni & Church Relations invites you to First Friday Fellowship on Dec. 3, featuring special guest Laurie Garrett-Cobbina, Shaw Family Chair for Clinical Pastoral Education. 

As director and supervisor of the CPE program, Garrett-Cobbina helps students become competent spiritual leaders, who have a theological, psychological and pastoral conceptual framework informed by critical self-reflection that integrates knowledge of self, others, system and God in their ministry praxis. Grounded in the reformed tradition, Garrett-Cobbina builds on the concept of John Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion” to create an outstanding program that enhances the education of our seminary students. 

Hear more about this groundbreaking program on Dec. 3 at 9:30 a.m. in Montgomery Hall, room 301. Coffee and pastries will be served, and all will receive a copy of our new faculty booklet. At 10:15 a.m., join the SFTS community for worship, communion and a chance to connect with our current students.

In addition to our Dec. 3 First Friday Fellowship, we invite you to join us for Lessons & Carols later that day at 7 p.m. in Stewart Memorial Chapel. The theme this year is "Rest, and Hear the Angels."

We are excited this year to encourage alumni to return to campus for a little holiday cheer and worship.

First Friday Fellowship is open to all SFTS alumni, friends of the seminary and local pastors, and is hosted by Lynn Dunn, associate vice president for Alumni & Church Relations. Dunn can be reached by phone at 415-451-2882 or by e-mail at

Special dinner for SFTS alumni and friends during APCE conference

The Association of Presbyterian Church Educators national convention is set for Feb. 2-5, 2011, in Albuquerque, N.M. The theme is “Walking in Balance.”

SFTS Vice President for Institutional Advancement Rev. Peter Crouch will be on hand for a special dinner for seminary alumni and friends. The dinner is set for Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. at McGrath’s Restaurant located inside the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The cost is $15 per person. To sign up, please contact Gill Harris, executive assistant to the VP for Institutional Advancement, at 800-447-8820 x821 or via e-mail at

APCE is a professional association committed to the advancement of education in the church. The organization aims to connect, enrich, empower and sustain persons serving educational ministries in the Reformed family of churches.

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