|180: St Mary's, Fishponds, Bristol, England|
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Mystery Worshipper: Esmerelda.
The church: St Mary's, Fishponds, Bristol, England.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: Attractive both inside and outside, but the floor tiles need sticking down before someone breaks a leg!
The neighbourhood: The picture above makes the church look like a rural church, but only yards away traffic is hurtling past.
The cast: Rev Roger Minson, Vicar.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
A little more than half full.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was welcomed with a cheery smile, enquiries as to whether I was a student, visiting, etc., and handed two books and a weekly information sheet. During the peace some people made a special effort to shake hands, while others "visited" their mates...
Was your pew comfortable?
No, and less so for someone of more ample proportions I'd say.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Too noisy and hectic. There was some quiet incorporated into the service after the initial greeting and before the first prayers which helped to make up for it.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"The Lord be with you..."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
New English Hymnal and Holy Communion Rite A.
What musical instruments were played?
Did anything distract you?
Rickety pew that felt like it would topple over whenever I shifted position.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Quite formal, though not too pompous.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Love one another as I have loved you. During the sermon, our preacher climbed from the stairs of the pulpit onto a sort of wooden rail (fortunately, it appeared less rickety than my pew) which separated the chancel from the nave to reach the pashcal candle and light a smaller candle from it. I'd have struck a match myself. Lest anyone believe it was a young thing who undertook this entertaining interlude, he must be approaching retirement!
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
There was a good hymn and the choir singing was very good.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The rickety pew, and having my elbow clutched by an eldely gentlemen.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I was greeted by several people, including clergy, who encouraged me to come again.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Choice of tea, coffe or juice, with biscuits. I noticed the coffee was Nescafé and not a fair trade variety.
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?
The acrobatic preacher.