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172: Good Samaritan, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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Good Samaritan, Knoxville, Tennessee
Mystery Worshipper: The Music Man.
The church: Good Samaritan, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.
Denomination: Episcopal Church in the USA.
The building: The church building is a modern A-Frame building with an attached parish hall. Inside, the seats are arranged in a semicircle facing an altar supported by stone pillars with a cross suspended above it. Behind the altar is a tall, narrow window that looks out into the woods that surround the church.
The neighbourhood: The church is located in West Knoxville, the fastest growing section of the city, and is less than a mile from the interstate. The church, located just off of a busy four-lane road, is located in the middle of 14 acres of woods. Once on the property, it would be easy to forget the bustle of the city so close by.
The cast: Chris Brannock, the Assistant Rector celebrated the Eucharist. John Rafter, the Rector, preached the sermon.
What was the name of the service?
The Holy Eucharist, Rite II.

How full was the building?
About three-quarters full, with the people spread out all over the church.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes. As I walked in, I was greeted by an "official" greeter, the rector, a vestry member, and a couple of choir members. Definitely a warm welcome.

Was your pew comfortable?
Yes, quite.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quiet conversation.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"On this third Sunday of Lent, we begin with the Penitential Order on page 351."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
1979 Book of Common Prayer, 1982 Hymnal.

What musical instruments were played?
Pipe organ.

Did anything distract you?
Trying to make sure I noticed details to write this report.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Nice broad church Anglican – no incence or sanctus bells, but they did chant the Great Thanksgiving up to the Sanctus.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
About 8 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
He compared Jesus turning the money changers out of the temple to a father rescuing his drowning son, and asked how God might be rescuing us today.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The priest and congregation chanting the Great Thanksgiving without needing an organ to lead them along. The sung dialogue between the priest and congregation was wonderful and reminded me of the church I just left in Virginia.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Not really anything, but if I had to pick one thing it would be that the organ was a bit too loud.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I ended up talking to the people I had been sitting next to, and then to the organist. We wandered into the parish hall for coffee. By the end of it, I had told the organist that I would join the choir.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
I'm not exactly a coffee connoisseur, but it was good once I added my requisite two creams and three sugars.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?

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

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Realizing that I just might have found a church that I could feel as much at home in as I had in my previous church (something I had wondered if I would be able to find anywhere).
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