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405: St Mary & St George, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
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St Mary & St George, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
Mystery Worshipper: Brick.
The church: St Mary & St George, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: Large and impressive domed building on a hill. Open and airy inside.
The cast: The minister is "Father Chris"; I never found out his full name.
What was the name of the service?
8.30am Mass.

How full was the building?
About 10 people, all regulars at this early service.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
I've been to this church before. They have always been welcoming, and make sure you have the correct service booklet.

Was your pew comfortable?
The seating is wooden chairs. Fairly average in comfort, many pews are a lot worse but the chairs aren't the modern fabric stuff that would have been more comfortable.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quiet, with the church warden and server going about their duties setting up. The congregation came in quietly and sat prayerfully until the service started.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
There were no songs. The service was presented in a booklet, and readings, psalm, collect and so on were in the weekly notice sheet. The church is in the process of adapting the new Common Worship liturgy.

What musical instruments were played?

Did anything distract you?
The inside of the building is mainly a dirty white colour. However, there are patches where blocks of colour have been painted recently, as if to decide what colour of paint to choose!

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Anglo-Catholic, complete with Hail Mary, although no bells during the mass. Quiet and friendly.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
There was no sermon.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The space, and the contrast. My usual church has more than its fair share of disruptive kids, an aspect I enjoy leaving behind from time to time.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The building is quite cold.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Not being a stranger to them this time, and being a friend of a regular, I didn't feel lost, but all the same the small congregation easily spots and welcomes newcomers, and the vicar also makes a good impression.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
No tea or coffee was served after this service.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8 – While I like this service as a change from my norm, I would soon miss music in the service. Plus it is a higher service than I prefer.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
The people make me glad that there are many quiet but faithful Christians out there. It is, however, remote from youth, outreach and so on.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Picking out the spelling and grammar mistakes from the notice sheet – there were several.
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