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417: Our Lady of Mt Carmel & St George, Enfield, Middlesex, England
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Our Lady of Mt Carmel & St George, Enfield, Middlesex, England
Mystery Worshipper: Marcellus.
The church: Our Lady of Mt Carmel and St George, London Road, Enfield, Middlesex, England.
Denomination: Roman Catholic.
The building: Built in 1958 in pale brick with a large square tower rising from the narthex. The church has clean lines internally with a passage aisle and column with Corinthian-style capitals. It has a very impressive modern reredos.
The church: This is the main Roman Catholic church serving the borough of Enfield. It draws its large congregation from the whole borough.
The neighbourhood: The church is situated on a main road and bus route in very close proximity to Enfield town shopping centre. It has a large open-air car park adjoining and a Catholic girls' school opposite.
The cast: Rev. Gabriel Zsidi (celebrant and preacher).
What was the name of the service?
Saturday evening mass at 7.00pm, followed by a male voice choir concert. This was also combined with a truly magnificent flower festival.

How full was the building?
Bulging at the seams (wall to wall), there were about 360 seated and about 40 at the back standing.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was met at the door by the friend who sent me a card advising me of the service.

Was your pew comfortable?
The wooden benches were hard, the fold-down kneelers were soft.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Fairly noisy due to the massive congregation and the chatter about the flower festival. It was a fair hive of activity.

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?
The parish mass book, "Hymns Old and New", and three separate leaflets about the flower festival, the male voice choir programme, and church notices.

What musical instruments were played?
The organ, although there were only two hymns which less than about a third of the congregation sang half-heartedly.

Did anything distract you?
The sidesman who sat next to me insisted on saying all the service about two words ahead of everybody else and endeavouring to finish every line well ahead of everyone. My wife said she had the same distraction with the woman who sat next to her.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
A rather mechanical service. The whole mass was over in about 50 minutes including the communion of the people. Very few sang the hymns, the responses sounded routine. It was very much "get it over with this evening and then we don't have to come on Sunday".

Our Lady of Mount Carmel & St George, London Road, Enfield, Middlesex, UK

Exactly how long was the sermon?
9 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
4 – Uninspirational.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
It was centred around the idea of the garden, due to the abundance of flowers. He mentioned the Garden of Eden and the fall from grace and the Garden of Gethsemane where man was saved. We are nothing without God's help; and he fights evil on our behalf. He then tied up the present world fight against terrorism and told us that God's justice is caring justice and is not vengeful.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The flower festival and the beautiful reredos. The choir was also very enjoyable, especially the soprano guest singer.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The sidesman's race to get his responses finished before everyone else.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We just hung around having yet another look at the wonderful flower displays.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
No tea, but the bar was opened. We didn't stay for that as it was near 10.00pm when the choir concluded.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
2 – There were too many people and I don't enjoy crowds. The service was too routine with not much feeling.

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 flowers.

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