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529: Soul Survivor, Watford, England
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Soul Survivor, Watford, England
Mystery Worshipper: Margaret Mitchell.
The church: Soul Survivor, Watford, England.
Denomination: Soul Survivor Watford is part of the Church of England. It is a missionary congregation within the Diocese of St Albans.
The building: An old warehouse with a low ceiling and painted walls. Large coffee area.
The church: Mostly 18-30's.
The neighbourhood: A trading estate – deserted on Sunday morning, except for the righteous!
The cast: Worship introducer, worship leader, preacher.
What was the name of the service?
Main service, 10.30am.

How full was the building?
100 per cent – although they could have folded back the wall to include the coffee area.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Coffee and bacon sandwiches were being served before the service. I stood alone and unwelcomed in the middle of the bustling coffee area till the time for worship.

Was your pew comfortable?
It was a chair, and it was OK.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quiet. After the worship had started, people continued to come in for 20 minutes.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Please come in [this was a request for people to tear themselves away from the bacon sandwiches)! Would you like to stand and acknowledge the presence of God."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
A video projector was used like an OHP to show the song lyrics.

What musical instruments were played?
Soprano sax, guitar, drums, keyboard and two singers, who were very good.

Did anything distract you?
The roof beams – they were so low, I felt as If I might hit my head. Also the preacher's nervous giggle.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
There was a deep sense of the presence of God during the worship, which was led by the music group. The offering was collected by the congregation going up to the front. Then there were notices, lollies (see below), sharing, and the sermon.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
42 minutes. This did not include the break immediately before when we were given lollies to suck.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 – Informal, biblical, great illustrations and a good sense of humor. The preacher was well known by the congregation.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
The preacher gave us an older woman's view of relationships (she is about 50). We are loved by God and must respond in love. She also gave us some practical advice on sex.

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

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Frustration at one of the pre-service notices, which was projected on the wall and read: "If you are new, please see .... and ..." The notice gave no indication of who these two people were.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Having had a lonely bacon sandwich and coffee before the service, I had a lonely donut and coffee after the service. I had a chance to talk with my neighbours during the giving out of the lollies, but they went straight out at the end of the service.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
The donuts were great.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
5 – I was not made to feel in the least bit welcome and I would have liked to have been.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes – the worship and the sermon brought me to God.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The smell of boiled sweets during the sermon (which came just after the lollies were handed out).
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