Carols at the Inn: Room for all at the Inn. Photo: Alison West

Lessons and Carols welcome at the Inn

The patrons of the Boliqueime Inn and the parishioners of St Vincent’s Anglican Church, Algarve, celebrated together an unusual service of Lessons and Carols on Friday night, December 13, in aid of the Vale Silves Community Centre.

Music was provided by the Guinness Brothers, Colm Ó Ceallaigh (guitar) and Rodrigo Carreira (mandolin), plus the solo vocals of Jane Hennessy and Emily Hamilton, with the Rev. Reid Hamilton, Chaplain of St. Vincent’s, on fiddle and guitar, and the voices of everyone present. Readings from scripture were given by a number of local residents – British, Dutch, Irish and Portuguese.

The service of Lessons and Carols is a Church of England tradition dating from the late 19th century. Many people are familiar with the annual Lessons and Carols service from King’s College, which was first broadcast on BBC Radio in 1928. The service is very adaptable, and we wanted to try it in a different context from the usual solemn candle-lit church setting.

Traditional readings included the story of the birth of Jesus, when his parents Mary and Joseph found no room at the inn (Luke 2:1-7), read by Paul Bonafin, proprietor of the Boliqueime Inn. Favourite carols like “O come, all ye faithful” and “Hark, the herald angels sing” featured, as well as some unusual pieces including “Jesus gonna be here soon” by Tom Waits, performed in authentic blues tradition by the Chaplain.

The event raised €250 for the Vale Silves Community Centre. It turns out there was room at the Inn for Jesus after all!

The Rev. Reid Hamilton
St. Vincent’s Anglican Church

Rev Reid: The Rev. Reid Hamilton sings the blues. Photo: Alison West
Carols at the Inn: Room for all at the Inn. Photo: Alison West
The Rev. Reid Hamilton, Jane Hennessy, Rodrigo Carreira, Colm Ó Ceallaigh / Photo by Bob Slowgrove