|4: All Saints, Clifton, Bristol|
|Other reports | Comment on this report|
Mystery Worshipper: Churchshopper.
The church: All Saints, Clifton, Bristol, UK.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: A Victorian 'barn', which suffered severe bomb damage in 1940, was rebuilt in 1967 to look like a multi-storey car park. But step inside, and you'll discover a stunning worship area, full of space, light and striking stained glass.
The neighbourhood: All Saints is in the well-heeled neighbourhood of Clifton. Its near neighbours include Bristol Zoo, Brunel's magnificent suspension bridge over the gorge, the Roman Catholic cathedral, and that well-known 'cathedral' of evangelicalism, Christ Church.
What was the name of the service?
Evensong and Benediction.
How full was the building?
Practically empty. The faithful few numbered just 20, including the priest, servers and choir.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
A friendly sidesman gave me a smile and warm 'hello' as he handed me my books and service sheet.
Was your pew comfortable?
Very comfortable. Modern, with plenty of knee room, distinctly uncramped, with a padded back.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quiet, calm and expectant after the vestry bell rang to announce the impending arrival of the altar party.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
'O Lord, open thou our lips' sung in plainchant.
What books did the congregation use during the service?
Book of Common Prayer, New English Hymnal and typed order of service for the Benediction.
What musical instruments were played?
Did anything distract you?
An acolyte's valiant struggle with lighting the fifth of seven candles, before the monstrance containing the blessed sacrament was carried from the tabernacle to the altar.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
It's best described as sacramental intensity. The worship was conducted with reverence, decorum and solemnity throughout. Processions involving the priest and servers were perfectly choreographed. Nothing was rushed, everyone knew their part in this liturgical drama, and their reverence and professionalism (if that's the right word) enhanced the experience for the worshipper.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
I'd give Canon Cobb a 7 for the way he led the service he put us entirely at ease.