Princeton, NJ, November 14, 2013–Princeton Theological Seminary will present three musical services of carols from around the world for the Seminary and Princeton communities on Monday, December 9 at 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. in Miller Chapel. This annual Christmas tradition has continued for more than thirteen years and offers a counterpoint to the more traditional Service of Lessons and Carols. The service includes readings, choral anthems, and congregational carols led by the Princeton Seminary Choir and international students and staff of the Seminary. After each identical service, everyone is invited to carol by candlelight outside of the chapel on the Seminary quadrangle.  

Of the 502 students enrolled for the 2013–2014 academic year, 31 are international students who come from Canada, China, Egypt, Germany, Great Britain, India, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, and Taiwan.

A wide array of carols and anthems from different nations and cultures reflects the Seminary’s diverse student body. As part of the service, students, faculty, and staff will read Advent and Christmas scriptures in their native languages, including Afrikaans, German, Indonesian, Russian, Spanish, Yoruban, and Zulu.

According to Dr. Martin Tel, Princeton Seminary’s C.F. Seabrook Director of Music, “One of the themes that we’re highlighting this year is that of the star. It is alluring and has inspired traditional carols in the past, such as the Puerto Rican carol that we will sing—Los magos qué llegaron a Belén. The star has also inspired some modern choral settings from around the world, like Australian composer Stephen Leek’s Southern Cross,” he says.  

New this year is a contemporary Christmas anthem, Susa Ninna, by South African composer Peter Louis van Dink. It will be sung in Afrikaans by the Princeton Seminary choir. Tel says, “With coaching from Hester van Huyssteen we are ready to roll out this new anthem. I chose this song partly to honor Wentzel and Hester, beloved members of our Seminary community for the last twenty-one years. They will be returning to their native South Africa in the coming year after Wentzel’s retirement.” (Wentzel van Huyssteen is the James I. McCord Professor of Theology and Science at Princeton Seminary.)   

The event is free and open to the public. For directions to the campus and more information, call 609.497.7890.  

Princeton Theological Seminary, founded in 1812, is the first seminary established by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. Its mission is to educate leaders for the church of Jesus Christ worldwide, and its more than 500 students and 11,000 graduates from all fifty states and many nations around the world serve Christ in churches, schools and universities, healthcare institutions, nonprofit agencies, initiatives for social justice, mission agencies, and the emerging ministries of the church in the twenty-first century.