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38: City Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Other reports | Comment on this report
Newcastle City Church
Mystery Worshipper: A. Pewpolisher.
The church: City Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Denomination: New Frontiers International.
The building: At present they meet in the recently renovated office part of an old tram power station.
The neighbourhood: The immediate area is a mixture of very old buildings and new office blocks. Not many people live near here, so they come to the church from a fairly wide area (by British standards).
What was the name of the service?
I don't think it had a name, but it was the main Sunday meeting.

How full was the building?
It was full: about 200-300 people.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
What a welcome! Three people (separately) welcomed me on the way in. They were all very friendly and chatted for a while. I was given a cup of tea as I was early. They have a highly organised 'welcome team', complete with walkie talkies, but it didn't actually feel contrived at all. In fact, it seemed very natural.

Was your pew comfortable?
Comfortable seats. The whole place is very comfortable and smart.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Friendly and chatty.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
'OK. Good Morning. Good morning to upstairs, good morning to downstairs.' (The church meets several floors up.)

What books did the congregation use during the service?
People brought their own Bibles (or not). The words to the songs were on super-posh TV screens which also showed the worship band and preacher.

What musical instruments were played?
Synth, guitar, drums and bass guitar.

Did anything distract you?
No, not really. There were lots of children, so it was a bit noisy. But as they weren't mine, I wasn't distracted.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
It would be unfair to say 'happy clappy', as that wouldn't really describe it. It seemed fervent and genuine. The songs were all fairly new. The worship included words, pictures and prophecies from 'the floor', as well as singing and praying.

Newcastle City Church

Exactly how long was the sermon?
56 minutes, including a short 'clap offering'.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9. He was enthusistic, convincing, inspiring... The sermon was well prepared – all in all an excellent performance.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Ephesians 3:20 – God can do immeasurably more through us, by his power, and we need to make 1999 a year when our lives become worthy of that calling.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
For me, the most moving part of the service was singing, 'Jesus lover of my soul', especially the line that says, 'I will follow you all my days'. There were also a couple of prophecies – one about a jumbo jet and another about coffee cremes – that were strangely special!

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
None of it. My least favourite part was having to put the Mystery Worship calling card in the collection box. It was really stressful!

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I didn't have a chance, as someone sitting nearby started talking to me.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
I don't think there was any.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
9. I thoroughly surprised myself by thinking this. However, a church is more than the meetings, and that would be the test...

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes. It was lovely to worship with such dedicated people.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
How surprised I was that I felt so at home there.

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