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524: Castle Street Methodist, Cambridge, England
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Castle St. Cambridge
Mystery Worshipper: John and Charles.
The church: Castle Street Methodist, Cambridge, England.
Denomination: Methodist.
The building: A traditional Methodist chapel, with large central pulpit. There are choir stalls and the organ behind the pulpit, and a font off to the right hand side. The service was led from a lectern in front of the communion rail. One of the joists supporting the roof had a random cross on it.
The church: This service was a joint service between this church and the Anglican Parish of the Ascension.
The neighbourhood: Just outside the centre of Cambridge, and off the beaten track.
The cast: Catrin Harland (Methodist local preacher) led the service. Sylvia Pick (Anglican reader) preached the sermon.
What was the name of the service?
Evening Worship (United Service).

How full was the building?
Fairly empty, 20 in this large church, but all sat well together.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes, we were welcomed at the door.

Was your pew comfortable?
Ordinary pews, with a bit of cloth on them. Perfectly fine.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Seemed fairly hushed. We arrived quite late so didn't get much chance to soak it up. Someone came up and gave us books, as we hadn't noticed the help yourself arrangement.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Good morning... er... evening, and welcome to worship."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
Hymns & Psalms (standard Methodist hymnbook), and Mission Praise (blue, early 80s version). Copies of the Good News Bible were in the pews.

What musical instruments were played?

Did anything distract you?
Charles was distracted by trying to work out how the choir would get into their stalls above and behind the pulpit.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Traditional Methodist preaching service.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
13 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
The glory days of the church (from Haggai 1). We can remember the days when churches were full and there were always people to do every job. However, we must not be despondent and must look forward. We can be thankful for the work that we are able to do together as different churches, when in the "glory days" we mistrusted each other. We must for ever be looking forward. The sermon drew a lot on the histories of both denominations.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
John hadn't been to a good solid preaching service for a while – and thought that it was nice to go to one again.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The organist had an unfortunate habit of holding the last chord of each hymn for a long time. This made "O for a thousand tongues" quite a marathon. We didn't like "Restore, O Lord" (Kendrick), and it was too high.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We were greeted by the leaders of the service and invited to coffee, which we declined in the interest of dinner...

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
It was available in the church hall, but we didn't go.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
6 – It was a very good church but not sacramental or liturgical enough for regular attendance.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Loking at the organ through what seemed to be a chancel arch – it had a cross on its facade.
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