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165: St Luke's, Evanston, Illinois, USA
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St Luke's, Evanston, Illinois, USA
Mystery Worshipper: Shy Town.
The church: St Luke's Episcopal Church, Evanston, Illinois, USA.
Denomination: Episcopal Church in the USA.
The building: Rather nice Gothic Revival with east window and garth.
The neighbourhood: Classic 1920s American suburbia: apartment buildings with courtyards and crenellated roofs, blue clapperboard houses with porches.
The cast: The church is in transition between priests.
What was the name of the service?
Holy Eucharist, 11am.

How full was the building?
About a quarter full – rather light, whether because of nice weather or the fact that it was the third week of Lent, I can't say.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Usher smiled, greeted me, gave me the order of worship. The other usher smiled and said hello.

Was your pew comfortable?
Typical pew.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Fairly reverent. Some muted greetings among people who knew each other. No one arrived late that I could tell.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Bless the Lord, who forgives all our sins."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
1982 Hymnal and the church's own order of worship, which is so detailed it even includes the Nicene Creed. One need not use the Book of Common Prayer at all.

What musical instruments were played?

Did anything distract you?

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
The tone is Anglo-Catholic with a vengeance. The children of the choir are taught to sing "Lud" for "Lord" and "mah-see" for "mercy". I guess you could say they don't want us Midwesterners showing our "r's" in church!

Exactly how long was the sermon?
16 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9. Astoundingly good sermon for a "mere" seminary intern.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
That Jesus's anger at the moneychangers in the temple does not show his humanity, as is the common interpretation, but is instead an example of his Godhood incarnate.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The anthem, given by the Men's and Boys' Choir.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Nothing was that bad, but we had a bit of a fluff when the presider for the day started reading the wrong verses of the Gospel. He was quickly put to rights.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I was invited to coffee and danish in the rear of the nave.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Good, hot coffee, danish and bagels with "shmear".

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8. This church is going through some changes, but the majority of people are optimistic that it will emerge confident and strong.

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

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
"Lud" and "mah-see". I'm not offended, just amused.
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