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1003: All Saints School, Wyke Regis, Weymouth, Dorset, England
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All Saints School, Wyke Regis, Weymouth, Dorset, England
Mystery Worshipper: Leo.
The church: All Saints School, Wyke Regis, Weymouth, Dorset, England.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: The school was built in the 1960s as a Church of England secondary modern. It is cruciform in shape, with the gym and hall (which doubles as a chapel) forming the arms. The spacious grounds afford a delightful view of the isle of Portland.
The church: At this service various people had gathered together to remember a significant person in their lives.
The neighbourhood: Wyke Regis was a village in medieval times but has now grown into a suburb of nearby Weymouth.
The cast: Alex and the Rev. Fiona Weaver (daughter of the deceased).
What was the name of the service?
Memorial Service for the Rev. Raymond Weaver.

How full was the building?
About two-thirds full. There were 240 chairs.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Someone nodded to me. I recognised him from another requiem eucharist I had attended a couple of months ago.

Was your pew comfortable?
They were ordinary plastic school chairs.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Chatty. There were townspeople there from different walks of life who do not often get together under the same roof.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Good afternoon and welcome."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
A special leaflet.

What musical instruments were played?
Piano and trumpet.

Did anything distract you?
Memories: this was my old school. I had sat in this hall every day for five years and had received my first eucharist here (having come from a "heathen" family). These were good distractions.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
User-friendly. I expect some people did not fancy coming to the funeral because it was a eucharist, and so this service catered more to those not used to church services.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
14 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7 – Various people paid tribute to the deceased. The remarks made by a teacher and his daughter sounded particularly confident because they were good public speakers. One gentleman, a lifeboatman, told some amusing anecdotes. The Masonic provincial grand master (Ray was a Freemason) spoke very well and his prayer/poem at the end was better than anything in Common Worship.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
People live on in our memories. They form us – and we form others.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Hearing how Ray went out with a lifeboat (he was a Royal National Lifeboat Institution chaplain) and weathered very choppy seas without complaining. Also the forthright voice of the 10-year-old who led the intercessions.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Coming to terms with my prejudices. Ray was a Tory councillor; I have little time for that or for Freemasonry. Ray had also been my geography teacher and he challenged many of my views about overseas. As I confront my other prejudices, I will miss his knack for making me think.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I cheated. I wanted to catch up with my former science teacher, who had given one of the tributes, so I approached him.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There was an ample supply of wine and nibbles.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
5 – As it is a school, the question doesn't really apply. It would make a nice worship space, though.

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

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
"Memories make us who we are." – Fiona Weaver.
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