|756: Holy Trinity, Weymouth|
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Mystery Worshipper: Leo.
The church: Holy Trinity, Weymouth.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: Built in 1836 in Tudor style with perpendicular windows, the church cuts into a cliff. This results in half the east window being in shadow and you can see car headlamps after dark as a road passes along its upper half.
The church: This church was hometo me in my teens but I have not attended a Sunday service here for 30 years. Its priests taught me the catholic faith, I sang in the choir and, after my voice broke, I became an altar server.
The neighbourhood: Weymouth is a seaside town made popular by King George III, who "took the waters" here. The church overlooks a picturesque harbour and the town bridge that leads to what was formerly a separate town of Melcombe Regis.
The cast: The Rev'd Ruth Milverton was celebrant and preacher; Fr. Daniel Evans was deacon.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
There were 96 people. I was pleased to see that numbers had held we used to get this many at the sung eucharist 30 years ago. The church has actually grown because there was an all-age eucharist to follow this service.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Not really. Someone merely handed me a set of books and I made my own way to a pew.
Was your pew comfortable?
Yes, plenty of leg room.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Good Morning to you and a very warm welcome on this Bible Sunday."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
A home-made Parish Communion booklet and Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard.
What musical instruments were played?
Did anything distract you?
Someone "with learning difficulties" was talking throughout the eucharistic prayer.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Liberal catholic. As in the past, the singing is matter-of-fact, not loud, and blends in with fairly unique acoustics, while the ceremonial is simple and beautifully understated. The whole service took exactly 59 minutes; this church never went in for drawn-out liturgy
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7 The content was good, but the sermon was read rather than preached.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Some Christians worship the printed words of the Bible rather than its overall message, and they are threatening the unity of the Anglican communion.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
I felt very emotional throughout the service. I had been a daily communicant here and it was a trip down memory lane, as I remembered past clergy, choir masters and head servers, my first confession, and the first time I served at an early morning weekday eucharist. I was acutely aware of the communion of saints as the anniversaries of the departed were read out and I realized that I was probably the only person present who actually knew three of them.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
I felt I knew absolutely nobody there and realised that those who had been important to me in my formative years were all dead. On a more trivial note, this church had been a beacon of "Sarum usage," yet the albs and apparelled amices had been replaced by cassock-albs (the crucifer's was at least a foot too short) and the four candles on the riddel posts' angel finials were tipped with fake, flickering electric bulbs.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
This was awful. Nobody came up to me at all, so I decided to go up to the priest. I stood politely while she finished a conversation but she then started fiddling with a microphone so I decided, sulkily, to leave. This church was always criticized as being too cliquey no change there then. On the way out, I recognized someone I was at school with and talked briefly with him, and then spotted my former geography teacher, with whom I had a lengthy conversation.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
I missed it.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
9 although it was home to me for many years, I have moved on and would find it a bit too small town now.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
I am afraid it would be the cliqueyness.