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Masthead showing parish logo, followed by photos of the two pubs and the church

Click for Parish Council Website A PDF version of the entire Millennium Book is available on request from the Parish Clerk (parish-clerk@berrickandroke.org.uk).

CHRISTMAS AT BERRICK

This record of life in Berrick at the turn of the millennium would be incomplete without reference to Christmas at St Helen's. During the week before Christmas, a small group of villagers, young and old, and accompanied by candle lanterns, sing carols from one end of the village to the other, pausing only to partake in mulled wine and mince pies when invited indoors, but meanwhile raising money for one of the local charities.
The Christmas Eve Carol Service is very special, as demonstrated by its standing-room-only congregation. Our journey to church is guided by candles in jars, suspended from the bushes by the inhabitants of Church Lane. The Church itself is kept beautifully throughout the year by the rota of cleaners and its flower arranging team, started by Leo Percival and now led by Anne Smith, but the Christmas arrangements are extra special, and complement the crib and the tree.
An ancient three-panel altar embroidery, renovated by Angela Willifer, sparkles with golden thread, and occasionally the East window is filled with a stained glass-effect painting by artist David Pelling. The final touch completing the medieval atmosphere is provided by the hundred candles, carefully placed, lit and supervised by Chris Whittle.
The service itself consists of a variety of readings and carols that Ian Cohen has assembled, sensitively accompanied by organist Mary Whittle at the harmonium. The highlight is always the pair of Berrick Carols by our resident composer, John Hyde. These are cleverly written and composed to suit the skill-level of the villagers in any given year, including variously: individual parts for solo voices and instruments, special parts for children, and other parts for adults.
While the Carol Service is magical, medieval and packed, the Christmas Day Service in contrast is a quieter Communion Service, a joyful celebration of Christ's birth. Christmas at Berrick is a truly spiritual coming-together of the whole community.

Marian Shaw

Christmas Day 1999