On Thursday, December 7, 2023, Southwestern’s annual holiday tradition of Candlelight Services will take place in the Lois Perkins Chapel at 6:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.

Originally called the Christmas Carol Service, the 108-year tradition of Candlelight began under the direction of Phoebe Eleanor Jones Bishop—wife of Dr. Charles McTyeire Bishop, the University’s president from 1910 to 1921—with the assistance of Laura Kuykendall, who served Southwestern variously as an instructor of expression, the director of the girls’ gymnasium, and the dean of women from 1914 to 1953. The 1915 service consisted of a processional of 125 women singing Christmas hymns while accompanied by the Southwestern University Orchestra. It also included a prayer from one of the Methodist pastors in attendance, the singing of several holiday carols, the reading of a Christmas story, and a buffet dinner. At its inception, Candlelight was described as “the most beautiful and elaborate pre-Christmas entertainment ever given at Southwestern.” 

Watch a recap of last year’s service here: