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Trinity, Drybrook, Gloucestershire, England
Worshipper: St Hilda.
Trinity (aka Forest Church), Drybrook, Gloucestershire,
of England, Diocese
The church is built of grey stone, with a short tower. It is
relatively unadorned, with the interior whitewashed, and enlivened
by the odd commemorative plaque and some cheery banners. The
only panels of stained glass are in the east window.
There is a mothers and toddlers group that meets in the schoolroom
next to the church and an ongoing programme of social activities.
The benefice (Drybrook, Lydbrook and Ruardean churches) is running
an Emmaus course for Lent. The church also runs the Shop on
the Cross, a secondhand shop and coffee shop in Drybrook.
The church stands on the edge of the small hamlet of Harrow
Hill, and serves the nearby village of Drybrook. It is located
in the centre of the Royal Forest of Dean, and was the first
church to be built (in 1817) actually within the central forest
area, which at that time was extra-parochial.
No one introduced themselves, so I've had to identify people
using the website. The service was led by Ros Greenhalgh, ordinand.
The Revd Nick Bromfield, rector, presided at the baptism. Tim
Greenhalgh, parish treasurer, gave the sermon.
The date & time:
19 February 2012, 11.00am.
What was the name of the service?
Family Service and Baptism.
How full was the building?
Pretty full - there was a baptism, so most seats were taken.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
As I entered the church, a woman handed me a service sheet and
hymnbook. She greeted me with the news that there was a baptism
service. I did speak to a couple of people as well when negotiating
access to a pew, which took some time.
Was your pew comfortable?
Standard Anglican pew, designed to keep you awake during the service, but not in any actual agony.
How would you describe
the pre-service atmosphere?
Very noisy. The porch was full of Brownies, who were having
a church parade, so there was much chatter as I entered. The
Brownies were celebrating Thinking Day, which is an annual event
in which the girls participate in activities and projects with
global themes to honor their sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
in other countries. The body of the church was full of parents
and small children for the baptism. So, as you may imagine,
it was pretty lively.
What were the exact opening
words of the service?
"Hello. Welcome to our family service, and especially welcome
to the baptismal party."
What books did the congregation use during the
Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New, plus a baptism
What musical instruments were played?
All but one of the hymns were played on the organ. The odd one
out was accompanied by a small musical group of piano, guitar
Did anything distract you?
With so many children, there were bound to be plenty of distractions,
such as the point where the baby at the end of my pew kicked
off and had to be taken out and briefly playing "peepo"
with his sister. Indeed, when the vicar read out some banns
of marriage, it occurred to me that if anyone had objected no
one would have heard them speak out!
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or
Mostly pretty standard stiff-upper-lip Anglican, though the
song performed with the music group had a clapping accompaniment,
and some of the congregation joined in! The candidates for baptism
were a one-year-old boy plus his father and two other members
of the family. The Brownies read out some of their own prayers,
which was rather lovely.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how
good was the preacher?
8 Mr Greenhalgh spoke with a northern accent and his
talk was pitched at family-friendly level. I thought he did
a great job under difficult circumstances. He was accessible
and loud and only lost points for a slightly woolly argument.
In a nutshell, what was
the sermon about?
Referring to the Brownies' Thinking Day, he asked: What are
we thinking of when we are in church? What we should be thinking
of first is God, whom we see in creation and in everything he
has done for us. Second, we should be thinking of others, by
praying for them. Finally, we should be thinking of ourselves
what God is saying to us through the things we hear in
the service, and how we can become the people he wants us to
be. This can be summed up by the acronym JOY: Jesus first, then
others, and lastly you.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
Despite the noise level, I loved being in a church full of families.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
It was a bit embarrassing when the time came to pass the peace,
as no one wanted to shake hands with me. I waved at a small
child and smiled at her mum instead. I considered greeting the
gentleman behind me, but he was sitting well back with his eyes
closed, so I thought maybe not.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
At the end of the service there was a general exodus to the
door. I actually did wait about five minutes before leaving
my pew, but no one noticed me. They were all too concerned with
leaving. Once out of my pew, I was swept along by the tide of
humanity out through the porch. I did manage to shake the hand
of Mrs Greenhalgh on leaving.
How would you describe the after-service
There was no mention of tea or coffee, so I initially assumed
there was none. Later I passed the church schoolroom and heard
a lot of people chatting. Further inspection revealed there
were people partaking of beverages, but I was unsure if this
was for the general public or not, so I gave it a miss.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 I did not feel particularly welcome, but the baptismal party had overwhelmed the church, so on an ordinary Sunday things might be different.
Did the service make you
feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, very. The baptism was great it made me very happy
to see a one year old, his dad, and two other family members
What one thing will you
remember about all this in seven days' time?
Admiration for the clergy and laity who had got the service so well organised that despite all the various items involved it came in at only just over an hour.
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