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|1764: St George's,
Whyke, West Sussex, England
St George's, Whyke, West Sussex, England.
Church of England, Diocese
Built in 1901 of red brick, with an extension added in 2002.
At the west end there is a covered porch with a door on the
south. Very light and airy on the inside and much more beautiful
inside than the outside would suggest. There is a prominent
statue of the Blessed Virgin near the main altar.
St George's has featured Anglo-Catholic worship since the early
20th century. Indeed, their website includes a link called "Tat,
what's that?" giving brief descriptions of various accoutrements
of worship. They sponsor a variety of social and religious groups
and celebrate mass throughout the week.
Whyke, formerly known as Rumboldswyke, lies on the outskirts
of Chichester. The Portsmouth to Brighton railway line runs
very near St George's, but I didn't hear a single train go by!
There was nothing to say who was conducting the service. The
celebrant wore a green chasuble and stole, but a priest assisting
him wore only a stole.
The date & time:
Seventh Sunday after Trinity, 26 July 2009, 10.00am.
What was the name of the
Parish Mass and Baptism of Lottie May.
How full was the building?
Mostly full. At first I thought it was going to be mostly retired
folk, but the church filled with a good variety of age groups.
Did anyone welcome you
The sidesperson smiled a welcoming smile and gave us the service
sheet and newsletter but the people who came to sit right
next to us ignored us! Perhaps we had sat in "their"
Was your pew comfortable?
Not really. They were wooden chairs held together by planks
so you could only move a row as a single block. However, I was
pleased to see at least one space for a wheelchair user, so
anyone in a wheelchair could be part of the congregation proper
rather than relegated to the back of the church or somewhere
deemed not to be a fire hazard!
How would you describe the pre-service
There was a sign in the church porch asking us to "Speak to
God before the service and everyone else afterwards" but few
people took note of this. There was a steady buzz of conversation
before the service started.
What were the exact opening words of the
"Good morning, everyone. I'm afraid there are an awful lot of
notices and banns this morning." In reality, I thought the notices
and banns were very brief compared to some churches I have visited
where the priest reads all the notices that are on
the news sheet, assuming, I suppose, that no one can read!
What books did the congregation use during the
An in-house produced Order for the Celebration of Mass
plus a weekly news leaflet with the readings and responsorial
psalm (which, interestingly, was neither sung nor said but must
have been included for our private use). The hymnals were New
English Hymnal and Celebration Hymnal for Everyone.
What musical instruments were played?
Did anything distract
Noisy children and there did not seem to be much parental
control. Uncomfortable seats.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
Middle to high, with bells but no smells. There was a selection
of servers with bells and candles as well as the processional
cross. Little Lottie May behaved very well throughout the baptism.
We were told that her family are regulars at St George's, so
it really was a welcoming of someone into the church family.
There was a lot of flash photography during the baptism, which
started at the main altar and then moved to the back of the
church where the font was situated. There was a large party
with the family, which was probably why the church was so full,
although when chatting after the service we were told that the
church normally has a good attendance.
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
6 Apart from the opening remarks, which were a personal
anecdote, the rest was read as a prepared statement.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon
The preacher told us of how some years ago he had worked as
a medical orderly on a ship whose sailors had caught the Spanish
flu, and how he himself had caught it as well. He then talked
about the decision by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
to suspend administration of the chalice until the end of the
current swine flu epidemic. He said that this is acceptable
although communion under both kinds is the norm.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The ambience of the inside of the church was very peaceful.
The choir sang a lovely anthem by John Rutter, I Will Sing
with the Spirit. The organist was amazing, playing with
one hand and two feet whilst conducting with the other hand.
Also, during the exchange of peace, it was suggested that we
bow to one another rather than shake hands. This caused a lot
of merriment as we all looked like we had been transported to
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
The uncomfortable seat. I also thought there was a bit of a
lack of liturgical flow.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
People who knew us came over to speak to us (we weren't expecting
them as they were also visitors that day).
How would you describe the after-service
Tea and coffee served in white china cups and saucers by cheerful
ladies in the kitchen. I don't think it was fair trade, as the
coffee was a well-known popular brand.
How would you feel about
making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
6 Neither Mr Bunny nor I are particularly keen on going
back due to what we perceived to be territorial behaviour. Not
even a "Good morning" from out seatmates!
Did the service make you
feel glad to be a Christian?
I think so. We had an enjoyable morning despite the unfriendliness
of the congregation.
What one thing will you
remember about all this in seven days' time?
Bowing and smiling to each other at the peace.
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