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182: The Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, Calgary, Canada
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Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, Calgary, Canada
Mystery Worshipper: Martha & Mary.
The church: The Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, Calgary, Canada.
Denomination: Anglican Church of Canada.
The building: Describing this architecture is rather difficult. Perhaps "prairie Gothic" or "late Victorian" would be the most accurate.
The neighbourhood: The cathedral is quite old (for Calgary) and is located right downtown amidst office towers, transit lines and too many homeless people. There is an LRT (Light Rapid Transit) stop right at the front door, and opposite the cathedral is Olympic Plaza, from the 1988 Winter Olympics. Close by are a police station, shops and restuarants and drop-in shelters.
The cast: The Very Rev Robert T. Pynn.
What was the name of the service?
Sung Eucharist.

How full was the building?
People were very spread out and most pews seemed to have at least one person. I'd say the church was about half full.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Unfortunately, we were a bit late, so we were just handed a pew leaflet, with a smile.

Was your pew comfortable?
The pew was a pew was a pew – wooden and uncushioned. However, the kneelers! They were slippery, unpadded and too low.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
As mentioned previously, we were a bit late (parking downtown!) but due to the scattered arrangement of the congregation, I'd say the pre-service was quiet and reflective.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all..."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
A leaflet with the service in it: "The Liturgy, a form in the language of Common Prayer 1962, from the Book of Alternative Services". We also used the "old" Anglican/United Church Hymnbook 1971.

What musical instruments were played?
Organ. There were also bells. They were rung during the service at odd intervals when least expected.

Did anything distract you?
The bells! We never knew when they would be rung by someone at the front (we couldn't see who) and began wondering how did that person know when to ring his little hand bell? And why?

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
The service was lovely. We don't know what the setting was but felt very comfortable with it. It was very proper, Anglican and relaxed, with the Rector welcoming us with a smile.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
Exactly 18 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 – the sermon, given by Dean Pynn, was very well thought out, well researched and well delivered. An excellent sermon from a talented priest.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
It was based on the Gospel for the day (Mark 8:31-38) and basically told us that to realize our full potential we must dig deep inside ourselves and not worry about appearances and saving face.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The choir was wonderful. There were about 10 members and they sang a beautiful anthem a cappella. The acoustics enhanced their performance.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Nothing really, except there seemed to be no obvious way of knowing when we should go up for communion, so we winged it and went up when we thought it would be the right time. We could easily have been embarrassed, or not gone up for communion, but that is not our style.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We were greeted warmly by several people and invited to stay for coffee, which was being served in another building nearby. When we exited the church we were greeted by two panhandlers holding out their caps for money. Since everyone we were with walked right by these men, we did too.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Coffee, tea and juice, with some squares or biscuits. Everything was appropriately warm or cold and the food was good. Proper cups were available along with the usual plastic.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8. Although this cathedral is located downtown it is a very active parish with many things going on. However, being downtown, we felt it would be rather difficult for us to become "regulars".

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
We have never encountered anything (yet) that has made us not glad to be a Christian and cannot imagine what would ever make us feel that way.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The bells will remain with us, but the most enduring memory will be the beautiful music provided by the choir.
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