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Street Baptist, Grangetown, Cardiff, Wales
Worshipper: Orient Bird.
Street Baptist, Grangetown, Cardiff, Wales.
Small and set off the immediate roadside. It has a lovely grass
area outside the building and a path to get up the door. The
building itself is sort of house shaped in design and almost
homely, not at all threatening or austere. The sanctuary is
very plain, with a few plaques dedicated to past members and
a large one right at the front in the middle of the wall with
a quote from Romans on it. No stained glass that I noticed.
No statues, pictures, banners or icons.
They are in a struggling area and they are doing bus runs to
pick up children from a neighbouring area that faces similar
social difficulties to bring them into the church. I thought
this was an impressive approach. They also have junior church
during the evening service.
Grangetown faces some social difficulties, although by all counts
anti-social behaviour and crime are at a three year low. That
is great to hear. Grangetown is very multi-cultural in flavour
but the congregation were not very mixed.
The Revd Rick Owens, co-pastor. Richie Orrick, a member of the
ministry team, led the children's time.
The date & time:
Sunday, 4 September 2011, 6.00pm.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
There were 19 adults that I counted and then 22 or so children.
We filled about half the sanctuary until the children left,
whereupon we looked a bit straggly!
Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was so impressed by the welcome I got here. Having got drenched
on the way up to the church, I began to wipe my glasses pretty
much as I had one foot inside the door. As I was doing that,
a lady who I later discovered was Jaime Owens, the pastor's
wife, welcomed me and asked my name. She then introduced me
to her husband, who also gave me a very warm welcome. After
I had sat myself down and been settled a few minutes, Jaime
came back and made sure I was OK, and we talked a little bit
about their family (two gorgeous blond boys and an impossibly
cute baby girl). After she had left to go and see to the children,
Pastor Rick came back to have a chat and gave me a pen to fill
in a visitor's card. He said I could keep the pen. They were
so warm and enthusiastic that although I felt a little out of
place at being a newcomer, it didn't last long. A lady sat a
couple of seats away from me and asked if I minded. We had a
couple of minutes for small talk and an introduction to another
lady just before the service began.
Was your pew comfortable?
No pews, just some cushioned seats. They were comfortable enough
but you wouldn't want to sit on them for hours at a time!
How would you describe the pre-service
Overwhelmingly noisy. The 22 or so children were running fairly
riot, with a couple of adults trying to get them to sit down.
The rest of the adults were either having conversations or were
What were the exact opening words of the
"Welcome to our service this evening."
What books did the congregation use during the
There were no books. All hymn words were put on the screens
at the front of the sanctuary. I was offered a pew Bible but
I didn't take it because I prefer to listen.
What musical instruments were played?
There was a lady playing an electric piano. For other songs
we had some pre-recorded music to sing along with.
Did anything distract you?
The noise. I like a nice quiet sanctuary so I can focus on the
reason I am there and process what is going on. I know that
doesn't appeal to everyone but that's what I like. Although
the children left a bit into the service, the room they were
in was right next door and the walls were thin! You can't disguise
22 children having a laugh! Also there was some sort of disturbance
outside the church, possibly some drunk people, during the sermon.
This made me feel uncomfortable, but that's life, and it's happened
at my own church before.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
It was a bit difficult to describe, really. The first couple
of hymns were well known classics but set to tunes I didn't
know, with praise song bridges in between some of the verses.
The rest of the hymns were what I would call traditional. One
of them was the ever brilliant "Love Divine" set to
Blaenwern, which is one of my top five favourite hymns
and tunes. Not much clapping other than the obligatory bits.
The children's talk was somewhat bizarre. Richie Orrick read
a passage from Exodus that began with Joseph's death
a rather obscure passage for children, I thought. Then the children
were quizzed on it. Each child who answered a question correctly
could come up to the front and take some sweets from a jar.
It seemed interminable to me. Also there was no wrap-up, no
consolidation of what the children were supposed to have learnt.
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how
good was the preacher?
6 Somewhat epic at 35 minutes, and I just don't have
the stamina, baby! Overall, content was interesting but not
overly challenging. Delivery was solid, but I did feel that
some of the illustrations were superfluous.
In a nutshell, what was
the sermon about?
The title of the sermon was "What the Bible says about
evangelism." Our job is not just to spread the Word, but
to make sure that people are supported once they have heard
it and have been brought into fellowship.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The lovely welcome I got. And during the children's bit, when
Richie Orrick was quizzing the children, I heard a tiny voice
behind me murmur, "Pick me, Daddy." I thought it was
so cute, I could have cried.
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
The noise. Honestly, I know I harp on about it, but all I want
is a quiet life!
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I didn't have to. Immediately after the service, the lady near
me invited me for a cup of tea. I cannot articulate how overwhelmed
I was by this obviously shy lady going out of her way to strike
up a conversation with me, seriously not just talking but walking
the walk. I don't think I have ever had such a genuinely warm
and heartfelt welcome in any church. That says a lot.
How would you describe the after-service
I didn't stay because it was getting late and I had to be up
early in the morning. I was invited to go to coffee hour on
Monday afternoon, though, and I may well do.
How would you feel about
making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
2 I am very happy in my regular church so I am not looking
to change. But if I were looking for a new church, the likelihood
of me choosing this one is low simply because of all the children.
It's a very family orientated church and I am on my own, so
it would be difficult for me, I think. In any case, I prefer
a more traditional approach. For people in the locale with young
families, I don't think you could find a better place to be.
They are really trying hard with local ministry, too, which
would make it an interesting place to be. If I had children,
I would most definitely consider relocating.
Did the service make you
feel glad to be a Christian?
Yeah, kind of. I didn't leave the service floating on air, but
I wasn't gnashing my teeth either.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
"'Pick me, Daddy."
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