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676: St Leonard's, Blithfield, Staffordshire, England
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St. Leonard's, Blithfield, Staffordshire
Mystery Worshipper: Roseadagio.
The church: St Leonard's, Blithfield, Staffordshire, England.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: The church dates back to the Norman conquest. It contains various Bagot family tombs together with an original helmet. There are lovely stained glass windows, a wooden ceiling with gold bosses, a tiled floor and a handsome organ.
The church: The community is a very small hamlet, but the church is both well tended and well patronised.
The neighbourhood: The church is adjacent to the orangery of Blithfield Hall, which is the home of the Bagot family.
The cast: Rev. Simon Davis, vicar of St Nicholas, Abbots Bromley with St Leonard's, Blithfield.
What was the name of the service?
Morning prayer (with baptism).

How full was the building?
It was filled to capacity.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was simply handed the service books.

Was your pew comfortable?
The church is full of lovely old carved wooden pews. They are fairly comfortable, I have to say.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
It was buzzing, with lots of babies and children providing background noise.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Welcome to you all to morning service with baptism."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
A church-produced service book (taken from "Patterns for Worship and Common Worship") and a Mission Praise hymn book.

What musical instruments were played?
An organ, played with enthusiasm by Robin, the organist.

Did anything distract you?
There were lots of babies' noises, which was distracting. This was also my first report, so I was keen not to be noticed making my notes. Finally, the church would have been quite cold, had there not been so many people there.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Happy and enthusiastic worship. There was whole-hearted singing of the familiar hymns.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
4 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 – He had an easel beside him, and used the shelf of the easel for his props.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
With the help of two lots of nails (some magnetized, some not) Simon compared magnetism, enabling the nails to cling together, to the power of God, enabling his children to do the same.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The friendly people, and the baptism of one baby, together with his two elder sisters felt really special. Maybe there is still hope for the world.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The overall noise was a bit off-putting, although this service was as near-perfect as it could have been except it did not include communion.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I didn't get a chance to hang around, the traffic was so great. The vicar was very friendly.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There was nothing on offer. Obviously it is not needed here.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
10 – I would jump at the chance if I was able.

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 overall feeling of genuine happiness.
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