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|1821: St Giles,
Balderton, Nottinghamshire, England
Giles, Balderton, Nottinghamshire, England.
Church of England, Diocese
of Southwell and Nottingham.
A Romanesque church dating from the 12th century, enlarged in
the 13th and 14th centuries, and restored in the 19th century.
It is set up on a bank in the middle of a graveyard, where it
stands out over the busy main road. There is a large spire at
the west end with a peal of eight bells. Over the north end
is a niche containing a figure thought to be of St Giles. It
is very apparent that this traditional old building is much
loved – it has been well maintained inside and out. The
inside looks quite traditional – no sign of reordering.
The rood screen dates from 1475. Everything from the flower
displays to the lending library says that this is a church that
the congregation cares for very much.
St Giles is the only Anglican Church serving Balderton. The
bells are rung twice each Sunday and for weddings, memorial
services and national celebrations. A men's group meets for
prayer and discussion one Tuesday each month. There is also
a Mothers Union, a Mums and Toddlers group, Sunday Club for
children, and other social groups.
Balderton is a small village in the Newark and Sherwood district
of Nottinghamshire. It's a strange old place, with many large
and slightly rough council estates, but community spirit is
strong. Turn the corner, though, and you'll find large detached
houses. The area is very bi-polar in respect of its inhabitants.
The Revd Tony Tucker, vicar.
The date & time:
Sunday, 21 September 2009, 9.30am.
What was the name of the
Parish Eucharist. Also in a nearby building there was being
held "Messy Church," which is a Fresh Expressions
activity where people can enjoy the experience of being part
of the extended church family through a range of craft activities,
storytelling, worship and simple homemade meals.
How full was the building?
Most of the pews had people sitting in them. There were probably
about 70 or 80 people in all. Messy Church had about half that.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
A cheery "Good morning" as I was handed my hymn book.
As I tried to make myself comfortable in the pew, I had the
pleasure of meeting Tyler, a young man of around two years old
with a lovely smile. We had a nice conversation.
Was your pew comfortable?
Oh boy, my poor old bottom! I found it was a blessing to have
an opportunity to kneel to give the cheeks a rest. There were
cushions on the pews, but they were itchy.
How would you describe the pre-service
There were a few people milling around, some women gossiping
by the main entrance, but also quite a few people kneeling in
prayer before the service started.
What were the exact opening words of the
"Good morning, folks! It's lovely to have you here this
What books did the congregation use during the
We sang from Anglican Hymns Ancient and Modern. St
Giles has their own parish eucharist booklet. The readings were
included in the newsletter, which, I might add, was very well
done and clearly printed. There were no pew Bibles.
What musical instruments were played?
A traditional pipe organ, well played.
Did anything distract you?
I had a cold draft blowing on my back, and had problems working
out what hymns were next, as I couldn't see the hymn numbers.
Two hymn boards were in place, one for the service and one for
communion itself – I worked that out near the end!
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or
It was most definitely stiff upper lip: Stand upright, hold
the hymn book stiffly to the front, try not to enjoy singing
too much. You get the picture. I let my hair down and did a
little arm raising and swaying, but I could feel the eyes burning
from behind me! The choir were brilliant although small in number.
They could be heard clearly, and I especially enjoyed hearing
the deep men's voices.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 The vicar had no notes, and even mentioned that he
was not using any, and hoped that he would not go off on a tangent.
The preaching was down to earth, easy to listen to, and with
a subtle use of humour. It is clear that the man has had Church
Army training, and he spoke with an evangelical heart.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon
Everything and nothing! He touched on many subjects, but it
boiled down to living a Christian life, making ourselves attractive
to non-Christians, giving people a reason to come to church,
and not behaving as if we are better than others or trying to
seek favoritism from God.
Which part of the service was like being in
St Giles is bordering on high church, so a bell was rung during
the eucharist. It brought me out in goose bumps and gave me
a real sense of why I was taking the bread and wine. I felt
so relaxed and calm and spiritually uplifted during the communion
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Because it was sung eucharist, I found myself lost with the
tunes they were singing: Gloria, Agnus Dei, etc. Simon Cowell
of Britain's Got Talent would have listed me in his
bad books for my efforts at harmonising.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
It took a good five minutes for someone to approach me for a
chat. But when they did, it was with the usual questions: "Are
you visiting?" "Do you live near here?" etc.
A few more people came forward after that to make polite conversation.
I had already left the building when a lady invited me to a
ladies' pamper evening. Well done her!
How would you describe the after-service
It was hot and wet and tasted of coffee – what can I say? It
was served in standard issue blue cups and saucers. The biscuit
selection was a bit naff, although there was a hint of chocolate
chip on the plate.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 I'd seriously consider it but would like to see more
use of modern worship songs. I'd also like to send my children
over to Messy Church.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
My new best friend Tyler.
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