On Sunday 26th December 2010, BBC Radio Four broadcast a service from St. Clement’s Anglican Episcopal Church, Prague entitled ‘On the Feast of Stephen’ as their ‘Sunday Worship’ programme that morning. Normally each broadcast in this regular weekly 08.10 – 09.00 timeslot attracts an audience in region of 1.7 million listeners.
The service was based around the carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’ who as we all know, ‘looked out, on the Feast of Stephen’. The regular congregation was joined by the Czech Ecumenical Choir Naši pěvci, to sing carols in both English and Czech including the most popular Czech carol of all, ‘Narodil se Kristus Pán’/ Christ the Lord is born – let us rejoice. The service was led by our Chaplain, Rev’d Ricky Yates with Biblical readings and intercessions being contributed by members of the congregation.
Interspersed between the carols and readings, Rev’d Petra Elsmore (formerly Petra Hanova), gave four reflections on the lives of the two saints, Stephen and Wenceslas – Svatý Václav. Petra is a Czech former member of the St. Clement’s congregation who was sponsored by the Diocese in Europe to train for ordained ministry in the Church of England and who now works as a priest in the Diocese of Liverpool.
Inevitably, the service had to be recorded in advance and then edited, the recording taking place in St. Clement’s Church on the evening of Wednesday 24th November 2010 under the auspices of the BBC producer, Canon Stephen Shipley. You can read about all that was involved here in our Chaplain’s blog.