Hope Church, Glasgow, Scotland


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Mystery Worshipper:
Church: Hope Church
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Date of visit: Sunday, 17 April 2022, 10:30am

The building

They meet at the Hyndland Parish Church, also known as the Kingsborough Sanctuary, a traditional church building with a bare interior and movable chairs. It is in the Neo-Gothic style and dates from 1886. The architect was William Leiper, known for his domestic, ecclesiastical and commercial buildings in a somewhat eclectic style (his Templeton Carpet Factory, for example, was modeled after the Doge's Palace in Venice).

The church

Very welcoming, very kind. They sponsor several small groups (quoting from their website) 'where we can grow spiritually, understand our gifts, pray, worship, study the Bible together, be encouraged and cheered on.' They also have groups for young children and teenagers. They have one service each Sunday. Again quoting from their website: 'Our worship is free-flowing, and we use a mixture of modern songs and some older hymns.'

The neighborhood

Hyndland is a quiet residential neighbourhood in the West End of Glasgow. Popular with professionals, it is rather more pricey than some other areas. Fine old Victorian and Edwardian townhouses featuring ornate doorway carvings and stained glass windows add to the character of the area. A scattering of upscale shops and delicatessens make for an eclectic mix. The church is on a busy road with parking restrictions.

The cast

The church leader preached. The team welcomed and directed.

What was the name of the service?

Easter Sunday.

How full was the building?

Most of the seats were taken, but as more people came more seats were put out. The building is huge, so floor space was only half taken up. Nobody except us, another visitor, and some people handing out communion wore masks.

Did anyone welcome you personally?

Yes, very warmly and kindly at the door and guided to the disabled access and a seat.

Was your pew comfortable?

Padded chairs, very comfortable.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?

Relaxed, warm, soaking in God's presence, calm.

What were the exact opening words of the service?

'Hello and welcome to those of you who have been able to join us this morning and throughout the worship this morning.'

What books did the congregation use during the service?


What musical instruments were played?

We saw a guitar and heard more music – could have been a backing track or could have been an out-of-sight keyboard.

Did anything distract you?

There were lots of kids and babies, but I don't find kids and relaxed families distracting.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?

Very relaxed. Humour in the sermon, warm congregation without being overwhelming or overly enthusiastic. But there were no Bible readings in the sermon or in the service at all, which disappointed me as I was expecting at least some.

Exactly how long was the sermon?

27 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?

7 — The speaker was very engaging and the content was very accessible and well thought through. Even though he spoke clearly enough so as not to need a microphone, there was a good deal of reverberation from the building shape and so we really had to concentrate to hear. Would have been a higher score if there had been any Bible readings in the sermon or service.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?

After summarising the story so far up to Easter Sunday, he spoke about how God puts us in the middle of the Trinity relationship.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?

The acceptance when we arrived – no deep questions or hesitation. They were well prepared for wheelchair access. The humour in the well paced sermon, and how engaging the speaker seemed – almost a conversation between speaker and congregation. The effort to register the kids and check their allergies and any needs was impressive. The snacks offered to the kids were excellent: bananas and crackers, and every child was given a huge Easter egg. Of course the kids think this happens every week here!

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?

I wouldn't say it was as bad as 'the other place,' but no one wore masks, which really bothered me. The only other thing was our preschool kids were offered haribo – those gummy candies in the shape of various animals. But it was kindly meant and wouldn't bother every parent. They were also given bananas and crackers, which was excellent.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?

The speaker came to talk to us and was very warm.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?


How would you feel about making another visit (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?

8 — There was a strong feeling of family and the love of God.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?


What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time ?

How warm and welcoming the people were.

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