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817: All Saints, Nottingham, England
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All Saints, Nottingham, England
Mystery Worshipper: Son of a Preacher Man.
The church: All Saints, Raleigh St, Nottingham, England.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: Large imposing Victorian church, built in 1864 by Thomas Chambers Hine, a well known local architect. The church consists of nave, chancel, aisle, tower and spire.
The church: From reading the website, the church appears to adopt a very liberal theology.
The neighbourhood: This is a very run-down area, with a red light district close by. There is also a large student population, due to its proximity to Nottingham Trent University.
The cast: President: Rev. Simon Mason (curate of St Nicholas, Nottingham). Preacher: Canon Andrew Deuchar (rector of St Peter and All Saints Nottingham).
What was the name of the service?
United City Centre Eucharist. Joint service for the churches of All Saints, St Peter (city), St Mary, All Souls (Radford) and St Peter (Radford).

How full was the building?
The church looked quite empty, but then it is a very large building. There were probably around 120 present. This was rather poor, given that it was a joint service involving some of the larger congregations in the city.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
A "good morning" when handing over the service sheet.

Was your pew comfortable?
Traditional pew. Quite hard, but managable for the service.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quite a few people were running around the building making last minute arrangements for the start of the service, which was rather distracting.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Welcome to All Saints."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
The service sheet contained everything – service, hymns and readings, and even directions on where communion was being served.

What musical instruments were played?
A fine, three manual pipe organ.

Did anything distract you?
One rather scruffy gentleman kept walking in and out of the church during the service, without any attempt to sit down. He seemed to be happy getting on with this and smoking cigarettes while in the building.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
High church without the incense. The clergy crossed themselves frequently and the gradual hymn was an ode to Mary, mother of our Lord.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
14 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
2 – It was clear that he could speak well, so it was a shame about the content of the sermon.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Tolerance and understanding. The sermon was based around the story of a nun working within other faith groups. I felt that there were undertones of liberal theology, which fitted with the church website.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The organ music was very uplifting.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The gradual hymn and the cigarette smoking wanderer. It is bad enough having to tolerate smoking in restaurants, never mind churches.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Polite chit chat. Regulars appeared to be making the visitors from other churches welcome.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Acceptable: tea, coffee and soft drinks.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
2 – it was too liberal and there was not enough focus on Christ.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Communion yes, otherwise no.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The wandering smoker.
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