|530: Barrow Methodist, Loughborough, England|
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Mystery Worshipper: Candle in the dark.
The church: Barrow Methodist, Loughborough, Leicestershire, England.
The building: Original church is 1911, fairly typical of Methodist churches. The extension is more recent and provides facilities: toilets, kitchen and a large back hall.
The church: The service I'm reviewing followed creative workshops held on the Saturday afternoon. I participated in these as part of the worship band. This may make me biased, but I felt that such an interesting service was begging to be reviewed!
The neighbourhood: I don't know the area well, it is a satellite villige to Loughborough. At the time in question the village was fairly inaccesible as road works closed all but one entrance into the centre, where the church is.
The cast: The service was lead by Dennis Doyle, a local preacher who is involved in creative worship through his puppet group, which is called "Hands Up". Many other people were involved in the service also.
What was the name of the service?
I'm not sure the service had a title as such probably "morning worship".
How full was the building?
The service was held in the hall rather than in the church because it is larger and is a more flexible space for worship. All the seats were taken, and a few extra brought in. Full, cosy, not bulging.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
As part of the band I was there early to set up. We were welcomed in at that stage.
Was your pew comfortable?
There were standard, moulded, stacking chairs. Nothing stunning, but not uncomfortable.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
The atmosphere was busy sound check and warm-up, system checks for the video projector and so on. The business was all focused on the worship to come.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Good morning everyone and welcome to our service." The steward on duty then thanked everyone who would be involved in the service and handed over to Dennis Doyle.
What books did the congregation use during the service?
Song words were video-projected onto the screen. There were no service books or sheets to play with, except that those involved had an order of service.
What musical instruments were played?
The band was made up of two guitars, bass guitar, keyboard, drums, violin, bodhran, two clarinettes, flute and oboe.
Did anything distract you?
The usual when in a worship band having to be aware of what comes next so that we're ready to play at the right moment.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Err... unique! the music was mainly choruses. There was also mime, dance and drama involved in the service, and puppets were used to illustrate the Bible reading.