[Episcopal News Service] Although in-person worship is off the table for most Episcopalians this year, there are a variety of options are available to participate in the familiar liturgical rituals of Christmas. Whether your parish is doing its own virtual service or not, here are some options that anyone with Internet access can participate in. All events listed are free to view online, unless specified otherwise.
Washington National Cathedral
The National Cathedral will host a Christmas family service at noon EST Dec. 24. Filmed in the cathedral gardens, the service of carols and prayers incorporates a menagerie of live animals to tell the story of the nativity. Then, at 8 p.m., the big Christmas Eve Eucharist service begins, with hymns, choral and instrumental music and preaching by Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde.
On Dec. 25 at noon, organists Thomas Sheehan and George Fergus present a program of festive Christmas music on the cathedral’s Great Organ. Registration is required but free (though donations are welcome).
Grace Cathedral (San Francisco, California)
The seat of the Diocese of California will stream its Christmas pageant, featuring hymns, photos of families and children around the world and narration from Bishop Marc Andrus, from 11 a.m.-noon PST (2-3 p.m. EST) on Dec. 24. Then, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., tune in to the Christmas Eve Eucharist with a sermon from Bishop Andrus and your favorite Christmas hymns with the cathedral choirs and Christmas orchestra.
The Christmas morning Eucharist begins on Dec. 25 at 11 a.m. with festive music, hymns and readings. There will also be an encore presentation of the Christmas pageant 10-11 a.m. and of the “Christmas at the Cathedral” service, a program of Anglican lessons and carols created for midnight broadcast on local TV in San Francisco.
The cathedral’s three Christmas concerts — each a different program with a different take on Christmas music — are also available to stream until Jan. 5, with tickets starting at $15.
Trinity Church Wall Street
The festivities begin with the Christmas Eve family Eucharist at 2 p.m. EDT on Dec. 24 with traditional Christmas carols and a children’s sermon. Lessons and carols begin at 5:15 p.m., telling the Christmas story through readings and musical illuminations. The traditional Christmas Eve Eucharist starts at 6 pm., followed by a candlelight compline service at 8 p.m., which will be livestreamed on Facebook and Instagram.
On Christmas Day, the festive Nativity Eucharist takes place at 11:15 a.m., followed by another live compline service at 8 p.m.
The University of the South
The Episcopal university in Sewanee, Tennessee, presents its 61st annual lessons and carols service as a prerecorded video, available to watch any time here.
Christ Church Cathedral (Houston, Texas)
The cathedral’s virtual offerings on Dec. 24 include a Rite II Eucharist service at 4 p.m. CST with a living nativity scene, La Santa Eucaristía Rito II en español at 6 p.m., another Rite II Eucharist at 8 p.m. and a Rite I Eucharist at 11 p.m., as well as a Rite I Eucharist at 10 a.m. Dec. 25.
St. Thomas Church (New York, New York)
For those who treasure the Anglican choral tradition and high liturgy, this Manhattan church, famous for its choir of men and boys, will celebrate a Solemn High Eucharist of the Nativity (Rite I) at 6 p.m. EST Dec. 24 sung by the boys choir, and another at 10 a.m. Dec. 25 sung by the men. There will also be Rite II Eucharist services at noon Dec. 24 and Dec. 25.
Diocese of Pennsylvania/Diocese of Jerusalem
Through the Diocese of Pennsylvania’s partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (a province of the Anglican Communion), congregations in Philadelphia and Bethlehem present their 14th annual Simulcast Christmas Service. Hear familiar carols and readings in Arabic and English and a special Christmas homily from the archbishop of Jerusalem, the Most Rev. Suheil Dawani. The hourlong service is available to enjoy any time here: