Passing on the Light

Lit candles
  • This Liturgy has been used as a school carol service with a cast and congregation of thousands (OK - hundreds!) - and as an Evening Prayer with 5 people gathered. It is very adaptable which may be why it is one the most used on the website.
  • The Liturgy is centred around a list of names (about 80!)- stretching back into the mists of time to the beginning when God said, "Let there be light!"
  • You may wish to add names - to include the patron saint of your church or group, for example.
  • You may also wish to reduce the number of names - especially if this is to be used by a small group! Resist the temptation to prune too heavily - remember this is an exercise in waiting - and showing how generation upon generation upon generation have waited and watched as God's plan for the world unfolds...
  • It is especially effective if you have people holding unlit tapers or candles - and then, as the names are listed, the light is passed on from one to another - until, eventually, a line of lights is created - representing the passing of the light from one generation to the next until our own day...
  • Alternatively, in smaller groups, use candles or tee-lights with the names alongside - lighting each in turn. They can form a circle around the main candle - or a line reaching out from it. Adapt according to the space you have available.
  • Scripture Readings can be added in at suitable moments - perhaps from the Prophets - or the Gospels. 
  • Music in the Liturgy - see ideas below
    • A Gathering Song helps to start such a liturgy.
    • You may like to intersperse the Litany with chants which speak of the kindling of light
    • A Closing Song should be celebratory - the Light has passed to us!
      It could sing of commitment - and confidence - and joy...
  • The number of Readers can be adapted to suit your circumstances - but bear in mind that such a long list could get very tedious with only one voice reading it!
  • The Liturgy can readily be adapted for use with children (we know because Catherine has done it! See above)
  • To make a link with MakePovertyHistory, and if numbers and circumstances permit, encircle your church/ building with light. Alternatively, have a large map of the world around which people can make a circle with tee-lights - or people standing with tapers.


  • Music in your Liturgy