St. Lawrence University's annual Candlelight Service has to move after chapel fire
Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 8:40 am

CANTON -- The Oct. 6 blaze that destroyed the bell tower in St. Lawrence University's Gunnison Memorial Chapel has forced the 92nd annual Candlelight Service to be moved this year.

Normally held in the chapel, the annual Christmas presentation of traditional Christmas carols and special music by the The day after the fire, the spire, weakened in the blaze, fell to the ground in high winds. The chapel remains closed and under repair.The day after the fire, the spire, weakened in the blaze, fell to the ground in high winds. The chapel remains closed and under repair.Laurentian Singers, the University Chorus and the Community Children's Chorus instead will be held this year in the Leithead Field House Dec. 11 at 8 p.m.

St. Lawrence University Organist Sondra Goldsmith Proctor said the important part of this year’s service is how the community came together to make it happen.

“The SLU community has provided a space and willing hands to move all the physical set-up into Leithead,” Proctor said.

This year's readings will focus on journeying.

“NCPR (North Country Public Radio) is supporting by streaming the service on the Internet. Canton Central School moved the concert for the 7th to 12th graders, so that the younger brothers and sisters could participate and the entire family could support the event, Proctor said”

At the university, the service offers a pause for reflection before final exams. It marks the end of the fall semester and the approaching turn of the calendar year. The service also signals the beginning of winter and the promise of longer daylight.

The theme of this year’s service will be serenity and stillness.

“Musically, it will be lovely and calming,” Proctor said. “It will be in a different space, but the feeling of warmth, caring and love will fill the space. The sound of children's voices reminds us that we all must find the hope, joy and love of the season wherever we are at the moment,”

For more information, contact the Chaplain's Office at 229-5256.

According to the Canton Volunteer Fire Department, the early-morning fire to the Gunnison tower was sparked by an electrical malfunction. It was discovered at about 5 a.m. and drew firefighters from several towns around the county. Later that night the tower collapsed as a result of the fire damage and high winds.

The university has promised to restore the tower.