Ship of Fools
  Bulletin Boards
  Mystery Worshipper
  Caption Competition
  Gadgets for God
  The Fruitcake Zone
  Signs & Blunders
  Born Twice
  About Ship of Fools
  Support us!
  Contact us!
733: Trinity, Rock Island, Illinois, USA
Other reports | Comment on this report
Trinity church
Mystery Worshipper: Motor city mole.
The church: Trinity, Rock Island, Illinois, USA.
Denomination: Episcopal Church of the USA.
The building: A beautiful red brick building originally erected in 1869 and enlarged over the years.
The church: A good mix of old and young parishioners.
The neighbourhood: Located in the "Quad Cities", it is a small urban area on the Mississippi River next to Davenport, Iowa.
The cast: The Rev. Steven L. McClaskey, Rector; Jason Bowden, youth ministry coordinator; and Terry and Faye Anderson, servers.
What was the name of the service?
Holy Communion, Rite I.

How full was the building?
A little less than half full, with about 90 people in the congregation.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes, yes and oh yes! We were mobbed at the door by greeters and ushers. Then, every parishioner nearby where we sat, leaned over to welcome us to Trinity Church. During the peace, the retired former rector and his wife (sitting in front of us) also greeted us.

Was your pew comfortable?
Yes - even though it was a standard issue wooden pew.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Very chatty. People seemed to be taking the time to catch up with each other's week, before the service began.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Blessed be God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
1982 Hymnal (ECUSA), and the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The communion service was also reprinted in booklets for easier use.

What musical instruments were played?
Only an organ.

Did anything distract you?
Recognizing the servers from a common affiliation in a national church organization.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
High church Anglo-Catholic, mid-western style, so facing the people rather than east, but the liturgy was otherwise traditional.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
8 minutes.

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

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Drawing from the text about Jesus telling the disciples that they are to wipe the dust from their sandals if a town does not receive their message, he reminded us about the free will of the receivers to choose whether to accept the good news. He also highlighted an admonition for the disciples to not lose hope if the receiver does not receive the message at first. There was a nice example about our suffering for the conversion of others being united to Jesus' suffering.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The youth minister brought the children forward for a mini-sermon, giving each child a potato chip from a company whose advertising motto was "you can't have just one". He then drew the analogy that sin is addictive in the same way.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Nothing major, but the reader of the first lesson kept mispronouncing 'prophecy' as a verb, not a noun, in the reading from Amos.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
No chance. I was recognized by the servers and the senior warden, and whisked back to coffee hour.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Coffee, tea, and juice in styrofoam cups, together with assorted cakes and cookies.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
10 – If I lived in this part of Illinois, I would attend here.

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

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Sin being like Lays potato chips.
The Mystery Worshipper is sponsored by, the internet service provider from Christian Aid. By offering email services, special offers with companies such as and, surefish raises more than £300,000 a year for Christian Aid's work around the world.

Click here to find out how to become a Mystery Worshipper. And click here if you would like to reproduce this report in your church magazine or website.

Top | Other Reports | Become a Mystery Worshipper!

© Ship of Fools 2004
Surefish logo