Mystery Worshipper: Aileen
Church: St Paul's
Location: Newton Road, Bayswater, London
Date of visit: Sunday, 2 February 2014, 11:00am
Formerly a Presbyterian church, the building dates from around 1870 and was completely renovated in 2012 by SUSD Ltd, a creative development consultancy. Inside is bright and beautiful, with white predominating and lots of windows, all fine. The floor is plain brown wood, and the decorative accents are brown.
They seem to be a very welcoming congregation, with all sorts of people from various other Christian churches, including the Scottish Kirk, which made me very happy. They have children's programs and are involved in mission work.
This is Bayswater in the City of Westminster. There is a child care facility near the church, plus a bank and lots of shops just down the road. And on that road there are many buses as well as cars and bikes. A very long way down the road is a Baptist church.
The service was led by Miss Elizabeth Lawson but I do not know what her title is or how she is connected to the church.
What was the name of the service?Service of God.
How full was the building?
There were about 20 people in a worship area that could have accommodated many more.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Miss Lawson welcomed me and spoke to me and was really nice to me. And then many of the others also chatted with me and welcomed me, before and after the service.
Was your pew comfortable?
We had lovely seats, with white and then with red, blue, purple, green and orange comfortable to sit on!
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
All the people arrived a bit early and chatted. They seemed happy to be in this church.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"All love the Lord Jesus!"
What books did the congregation use during the service?
Hymns and Psalms. The readings were from a large Bible at the front. I had brought my own, but there were none given out.
What musical instruments were played?
There was an organ behind us, looking a bit like a piano. The organist played well and it did sound really well as an organ.
Did anything distract you?
I could not help comparing today's experience to my old kirk back in Scotland, and I wondered how many were attending that service today.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
People sang very well and we stood still as we sang hymns and psalms. Readings were from Exodus, the Psalms, Matthew and 2 Peter. There was also communion bits of bread and wee cuppies of wine.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 – Miss Lawson showed us lots about how God loves and saves us. It helped us all feel happy about God.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
God shows us love and kindness each day. When Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John up on a high mountain, God's voice came across saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; listen to him." Jesus told his disciples not to be afraid. Nor should we be afraid of Jesus. He was raised from the dead to purify us of our sin. Jesus is the saving Word. God saves us.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
I felt really happy that Jesus saved me and others, and happy to be receiving communion in answer to Jesus' command to eat and drink.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
I feel bad that I have at times given Jesus pain.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
People chatted to me and told me their names and asked mine. They were really kind and nice to me. They showed me where there was tea and coffee and said they were all going there.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There was tea and coffee, and some things to eat. People chatted for a while. It was really nice.
How would you feel about making another visit (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
9 – It was a really nice church: a good building with good people, good preaching, good music and good communion.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
I felt really glad to be a Christian, as God loves me and the others.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time ?
I remember that Jesus loves me and so I will keep praying and thanking him.