Missouri Military Academy’s 76th Evensong will be held at Mexico United Methodist Church Thursday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m. The Mexico United Methodist Church is located at 122 E. Promenade St.
This year’s event is dedicated to the memory of Charles R. Stribling III ’44, president and chairman emeritus of Missouri Military Academy, who passed away in September.
Evensong, described as a “Festival of Lessons and Carols,” is a free event that is open to the public. The event draws 300 parents, cadets, community members, and other guests each year. The event will feature musical performances by members of the Missouri Military Academy Chorus, Chamber Wind Ensemble, and the MMA Faculty Chorus, along with live readings of the Christmas story presented by MMA cadets and faculty.
The MMA Evensong is a celebration of the Christmas story, similar to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols held in the King’s College Chapel in Cambridge. The Festival dates back to Christmas Eve 1918, when it was first held in the Chapel one month after the close of World War I. The service was developed by Eric Milner-White, who was at the time the young, newly appointed Dean of King’s College. Milner-White had previously served as an Army chaplain.
The Evensong program began at Missouri Military Academy in 1941, less than a month after the Japanese attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, drawing the country into World War II. Since the Academy had no Chapel, the event was held in the gymnasium under the direction of Capt. Eugene Lamm. Since then, Evensong has traditionally served as a joyful start to the Christmas furlough. In 2013, MMA began the tradition of bringing Evensong to the community, hosting it in the historic Christopher Wrenn chapel on the campus of Westminster College in Fulton, the First Presbyterian Church of Mexico, and the Mexico United Methodist Church.