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410: St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, England
Other reports | Comment on this report
St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, England
Mystery Worshipper: Marcellus.
The church: St Mary Magdalene, Windmill Hill, Enfield, Middlesex, England.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: A William Butterfield church with west tower and tall spire, north and south aisle. Built in 1883, Kentish rag and Bath stone. The interior has a reredos and some stained glass by Butterfield. The chancel has wall paintings which are in need of restoration. Otherwise the church has been very well maintained under the care of its present incumbent.
The church: The church is well supported by a moderately affluent local congregation. Over the years they have provided the funds to restore and maintain the church to a high standard, and this work continues with regular projects.
The neighbourhood: The church is situated on a busy road junction in a pleasant residential area which, within about one mile, joins the green belt around Greater London.
The cast: Rev. John Sampford and Rev. Stephen Taylor.
What was the name of the service?
Parish Communion (with baptism).

How full was the building?
The service was well supported with a regular congregation this week of about 120 and a baptism party of about 30. The church was not full but it seemed that every pew in the nave had several people in it.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was given a "Good morning" and handed a hymn book.

Was your pew comfortable?
They were bench pews. Moderately comfortable.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quiet, with an announcement regarding a gift day to raise money for several projects, including re-leading of the stained glass windows. This was followed by a hymn sung by the choir with the organist accompanying them on the piano.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"In the name of the Father," etc.

What books did the congregation use during the service?
Mission Praise; the eucharist service booklet; the baptism service booklet; and the service leaflet.

What musical instruments were played?
Organ and piano – and flute during the communion hymn.

Did anything distract you?
A mobile phone belonging to one of the baptism party ringing during the sermon. It was dealt with very expertly by the reader who was giving the sermon. He said, "I think my bookmaker is on the phone".

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Strictly taken from the new Common Worship. No fancy bits, no incense and no flamboyance.

St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, England

Exactly how long was the sermon?
8 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 – Communicative, clearly projected, appropriate humour, good use of text – appropriately used to apply to the baptism.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
It was based on the text, "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother... and even life itself, cannot be my disciple". Jesus made this apparently startling statement, perhaps to grab the attention of the listeners. Normally he spoke of love. The word hate used here is not the opposite of love, that is indifference. Here we should think in terms of two commandments – "love God" and "love thy neighbour". Therefore if we put the love of God first we must hate what comes between us and God. Concluding, it was inferred that we have forgotten the first commandment.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Receiving communion, and the well-played exit voluntary on the organ.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The mobile phone ringing.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
As an occasional visitor, I was greeted by a gentleman who is known to me and I chatted with him for a while.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
I didn't partake.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 – the general atmosphere is welcoming.

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 mobile phone ringing during the sermon.

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