Carols in a wooden shed in Truro

For many in the Anglican tradition, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. Churches all over England and beyond will be having their own carol services this week, and of course the service from the chapel of King's College Cambridge on Christmas Eve will be broadcast around the world. But how far back does the tradition go?

It was Edward White Benson, the first Bishop of Truro and later Archbishop of Canterbury, who created the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. It was first held at 10 pm on Christmas Eve 1880 in the wooden shed which served as his temporary cathedral in Truro. You can read more about the history of the service on the Guardian Music Blog and on the website of King's College Cambridge.

St Thomas Becket's own Service of Nine Lessons and Carols is on Saturday 21 December 2013 at 5 pm

Senior women clergy attend House of Bishops meeting

Eight senior women clergy have attended their first meeting of the Church of England's House of Bishops as participant observers. The House decided in February that until such time as there are six female members of the House, following the admission of women to the episcopate, a number of senior women clergy should be given the right to attend and speak at meetings of the House. The eight were elected in the autumn. Read the full story on the Church of England website.

Meanwhile the Revd Pat Storey has been consecrated as Bishop of Meath and Kildare, the first woman bishop in the Church of Ireland – more.

Becket News – contributions please

The next edition of Becket News will be published early in the new year.

The editor would be pleased to receive contributions for the next edition by Thursday, January 2 2014 at the latest. Please send to becketnews (at) aol.com.

Last chance to Wander this year

For their last walk in 2014 the Wanderers will be heading to Glückstadt on Saturday, 14 December for a short walk along the Elbe before visiting the Weihnachtsmarkt.

Please meet at 10.10 am in front of the Reisezentrum at Altona Fernbahn station to catch the 10.33 train. We shall buy one or more Schleswig Holstein tickets and divide the cost equally. Trains back to Hamburg depart at 39 and 49 mins past each hour.

There's no need to bring a picnic lunch this time. We can find something to eat at the market, plus Glühwein!

Please let Cicely know by Thursday, 12 December if you plan to come: 040/86 07 90; mobile 0162 635 93 98.

Archdeacon Jonathan to leave Diocese

The Venerable Jonathan LLoyd, Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, will be leaving Copenhagen in February to take up a post in Kent in the Canterbury Diocese.

He said his decision to move was prompted by the growth and dynamism of St Alban’s in Copenhagen, “where they need a full-time priest if the church is to grow further in God’s mission”, and that the demands of serving as a priest in a busy church and as an Archdeacon were not sustainable. There was little prospect of immediate relief after the Church Commissioners chose not to help fund a scheme for full-time Archdeacons in the Diocese in Europe.

Read the full story on European Anglican.

Let them eat cake…

…and sing carols!
The Mothers' Union cordially invites you to Carols & Cake – a sing-along of favourite Christmas carols and songs at STB on Friday 6 December at 6pm. Drinks, cake and other sweets will be provided. Admission is by voluntary donation in aid of church funds. You can find the flyer here.