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76: St Teilo's, Newport, Wales
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St Teilo's Newport
Mystery Worshipper: Esmerelda Beakin.
The church: St Teilo's, Newport, Wales.
Denomination: Church in Wales.
The building: A drab, pre-fabricated building on the outside, but well-ordered and spacious inside – light and arranged for good, modern Catholic liturgy.
The neighbourhood: A run-down housing estate on the east side of Newport, built after World War II. There's much unemployment and petty crime in the area.
The cast: Celebrant: Rev David Matthews. Preacher: Rev Dr Dana Johnston.
What was the name of the service?
First mass celebrated by Rev David Matthews.

How full was the building?
Half full – this is a small but very loyal congregation. David's family and close friends were also there.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes: "How good to see you again!" I try to worship here as often as my workload allows.

Was your pew comfortable?
Not very! It was a very basic modern pew and the one slat at the back didn't support me in the right part of my back.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Expectant, quiet chatter and the organ was playing softly.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"We meet in the name of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
A specially printed service booklet with the service, readings and hymns in it.

What musical instruments were played?

Did anything distract you?

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
It was a happy family atmosphere, but also a dignified celebration of the mass.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
12 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
10. Excellent. She preached from the front of the church (not at the lectern) and without any notes. She was relaxed and pitched a difficult subject at a level that everyone could understand.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
The body of Christ: in the eucharist, in us.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
All of it. It was very different from David's ordination, which I had attended the previous day, but it was a service of loving affirmation of this young man's priesthood after a very difficult year for the parish. The vicar was arrested three months ago, and it was reported in the press that his arrest was in connection with child pornography. Since then, David has held the church together wonderfully.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Nothing really.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We had a photo call. Then there was coffee and food in the hall, followed by emotional goodbyes from David's family, as they were flying home to Canada the next day.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There was coffee or tea in china cups and saucers, with finger food.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
9 – I come here whenever I can.

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

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The joy of receiving communion from Fr David for the first time.
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