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320: The Mustard Tree Community Church, Longwell Green, Bristol, England
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The Mustard Tree Community Church, Longwell Green, Bristol
Mystery Worshipper: Snoopy.
The church: The Mustard Tree Community Church, Longwell Green, Bristol, England.
Denomination: The church is a member of the Evangelical Alliance and part of the network of Celebration churches across Bristol.
The building: They met this morning in a local primary school hall.
The church: The church as a community feels friendly and warm and you have a real sense of being part of a family.
The neighbourhood: The local residents were easy to talk to and get directions to the school. Most of the housing in the area was built during the 1970s and 80s and ranges from starter homes to large detached houses. The majority of homes are owner-occupied.
The cast: Peter Miles led the worship band. Pat Seymour and Mandy Miles led the service and introduced the topic and sermon.
What was the name of the service?
All-age service.

How full was the building?
Mostly full.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was welcomed at the door by a member of the leadership team with a warm handshake and a "hello, nice to see you."

Was your pew comfortable?
it was a plastic chair. The chairs were arranged to form a semi-circle facing the front.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Warm and friendly with people chatting.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Good morning and welcome."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
OHP for the songs and choruses, a handout for the service, and a quiz for the children to complete.

What musical instruments were played?
Keyboards, two guitars and drums.

Did anything distract you?
The only thing that distracted me was when a child dropped their toys out in front of me, but that was OK – they were soon packed away by the caring dad.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Lively and enthusiastic.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
30 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 – the ladies who introduced the theme and the sermon were interesting and enthusiastic.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Living more simply and our attitudes to fair-trade food products. We looked at the feeding of the 5000 and our attitude towards people living in the poorer countries of the world. The sermon included a reference to the coffee mountain and the price paid to the growers compared to the profit made by companies such as Nestle, Maxwell House and Kenco.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The enjoyment of the worship.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
A few technical errors with feedback from microphones.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I was approached by members of the congregation and made to feel welcome.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Coffee was brought to the adults with a selection of fair-trade products. The coffee was well made and served hot in a china mug.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
10 – there was a real sense of family and I'm sure that this in itself attracts people to join the church.

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 sketch performed by Pat Seymour and Neal Mattock. Pat ate a king-size Mars Bar while discussing the miracle of the 5000 and the relevance today of miracles in reference to food shortages and abject poverty in Third World countries.
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