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643: Queen's Park Baptist Church, Glasgow
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Queen‚s Park Baptist Church, Glasgow
Mystery Worshipper: Hidden Angel.
The church: Queen's Park Baptist, Glasgow, Scotland.
Denomination: Baptist.
The building: The Camphill building which is where the services are held, looks just like a large, traditional church building with a large steeple from the outside. Inside it has obviously been modernised and the pews all removed, in favour of individual seating. It is brightly lit and inviting to enter, with some nice banners on the walls of the building based on Psalm 150.
The church: The church as a community seems to be very active and forward thinking. There seems to be a lot going on, in terms of outreach, and members of this congregation have in the past gone overseas for missionary work. A wide cross-section of the community was represented at the service, although they appear to be a mainly middle-class group. However, the age range was wide, from small children through to people who looked well past the age of retirement. It is quite lively and the general atmosphere was a happy one.
The neighbourhood: It is situated just off one of the main roads heading south out of Glasgow, next to Queen's Park (surprisingly enough). The general community is quite smart, but there are a lot of old Glasgow tenement-style buildings in the immediate area.
The cast: Senior pastor, Edwin Gunn, opened the service, and Niall Fulton led the worship band. There was a guest speaker, Ken Symington, who presented the sermon.
What was the name of the service?
Evening service.

How full was the building?
The building was almost full downstairs although the upstairs balconies were mostly empty.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was welcomed by a lady at the door who shook my hand but didn't speak to me. Another lady handed me a news bulletin and smiled.

Was your pew comfortable?
The pew was comfortable enough and had cushions, which is more than my own church has! I didn't find it noticeably uncomfortable, but as I am a fidget naturally, I don't tend to sit still for too long at a time.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Before the service began, people were talking to each other and there was quite a lot of movement going on which only settled when the pastor began to speak. The atmosphere is best described as bustling.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Well, good evening, folks. Welcome to our service this evening."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
All the words for the worship were projected onto a big screen at the front from the overhead projector. I don't think any word sheets would have been available to people who couldn't see the screen.

What musical instruments were played?
The worship leader played keyboard and sang. There was also an electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drum kit, bongo's, a trombone and two singers (male and female).

Did anything distract you?
Quite a lot of people began to leave before the sermon had ended, which distracted me from the lovely Irish accent. Also during the sermon, the radio-mike gave up. The expression on the preacher's face, as he tried to figure it out was priceless – a wild panic, which he masked by keeping talking anyway, hoping desperately that the problem would be resolved. It was eventually.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
The worship was fantastic. The music was contemporary and lively, but sensitive and spirit-led at the same time, and it flowed beautifully. There was a pleasant mixture of songs, free singing and prayer times.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
51 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7 – He was good and I enjoyed his preaching, and he had a really nice Irish accent which, for me, made it really easy listening. I was a bit disappointed though, that he didn't read any scripture at all during the sermon. In fact, the Bible wasn't read from during the entire service.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Giving everything to Jesus, rather than letting him into some parts of yourself.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The worship, definitely. I really enjoyed it. My own church is a more traditional church and although we sing contemporary worship songs, we don't come near to this level of intimate worship. It was a real breath of fresh air for me and just what I needed to experience.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Throughout the service, fireworks were being let off (it was the weekend before bonfire night); these were really loud, and sounded as though they were being let off right outside the front door of the church, which was increasingly irritating. The temperature in the building seemed to keep rising, and was almost unbearable by the end of the service – hellish in an almost literal sense here.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
As I hung around looking lost, with a friend, nobody came and spoke to us. Plenty people smiled but no one actually spoke, which was a bit disappointing, since it seemed like such a friendly church. Everyone seemed to be talking to someone they knew.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
I don't drink tea or coffee so I passed on this one, but it was available.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 – I would be prepared to try it out for a few weeks anyway and see how it was on a more regular basis, but it is a bit further away from my home.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes – I came away feeling I had really worshipped and not just been through the motions.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The refreshing worship, followed by the fireworks outside.
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