|92: Wilton Baptist, Wilton, Wiltshire, England|
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Mystery Worshipper: Matthew (24:44).
The church: Wilton Baptist, Wilton, Wiltshire, England.
The building: Red brick, topped with a clocktower. The entrance is at ground floor level, and the church itself is in a large room on the first floor.
The neighbourhood: Located in the centre of Wilton with a car park immediately outside. The building is at a point where the road narrows the church pastor described it as "the biggest bottleneck on the A30".
The cast: Rev Andrew Thomson.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
Three semi-circular rows of chairs were set out. The back two had scattered empty seats, the front row was totally empty.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
My arrival was delayed by traffic. Despite this, a steward with a multi-coloured waistcoat was still on the pavement by the door to greet me with a handshake. He told me that the church was on the first floor but didn't explain that I should help myself to a book from the rack when I reached the first floor. On entering the church I found myself at the front and as the opening words were already being spoken, the whole congregation looked in my direction! I managed to find a seat by walking to the rear and along behind the back row. Fortunately, the lady sitting next to me gave me her hymnbook and shared with her colleague.
Was your pew comfortable?
Comfortable chairs just as well in view of the length of the service (80 minutes).
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
I missed it.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
I was too busy locating a seat to notice.
What books did the congregation use during the service?
"Mission Praise" and a modern version of the Bible.
What musical instruments were played?
A good quality piano accompanied by a female vocalist.
Did anything distract you?
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
The worship was traditional, but used a modern, conversational form of words, rather than lots of church jargon.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
Despite the length, it was difficult to lose interest. A good preacher: 8.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
A Bible study using the story of Joseph (was this why the steward was wearing a coat of many colours?).
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The mix of people in the congregation. Although there were only 28 there (due to people being away on holiday), they varied in ages from nine to 90, and in dress from shorts to suits. Any strangers would not feel out of place however they were dressed.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Having the whole congregation look at me as I entered the church.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
The lady who had been sitting next to me sharing her books walked off without speaking to me. Another gentleman waited until we made eye-contact then approached me for a chat. After establishing that I was a visitor and was not in a hurry to get away he went and got their pastor to speak with me.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Hot, in a plastic cup. Nice biscuits. The coffee was served in the church and most people stayed. My only criticism was that the coffee came in on one tray and the tea on another. Both headed off to the far end of the church leaving me to chase after them.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8. If I lived in the area, I would give it serious consideration. It would be interesting to visit the church for their main morning service. Plenty of other musical instruments were lying around which are presumably used at other times.
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 steward's multi-coloured waistcoat.