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|2389: All Saints
Roffey, Horsham, England
Worshipper: The Old Man from Scene
Saints Roffey, Horsham, England.
of England, Diocese
A fairly attractive medium sized traditional Anglican church
building of locally quarried sandstone, completed in 1878. Well
maintained lawn with clear signage by the road giving a good
description of what the church is, and times of its services.
A church hall is also on the grounds, separated by a ditch and
accessible by a footbridge.
They sponsor Open Door, a fellowship group for seniors, as well
as a Mothers Union. On Fridays they put on Noah's Ark, a service
for babies and toddlers. Both morning and evening prayer are
said during the week. There are three masses each Sunday, including
Horsham is a market town in West Sussex. Roffey, northeast of
the town centre, dates back to the 13th century, and was an
important ironmaking centre by the 16th century. Today Roffey
is a quiet suburb, with an assortment of shops, pubs and restaurants.
The Revd Kevin Agnew, parish priest, led the mass.
The date & time:
First Sunday after Trinity, 10 June 2012, 10.30am.
What was the name of the service?
Parish Mass & Holy Baptism.
How full was the building?
About two-thirds say 60 people in total.
Did anyone welcome you
Although my watch said 10.29 (and is about a minute fast), the
notices were being read out as I entered, so I was greeted with
a hushed "Good morning" and a warm smile as I was
handed the service sheets.
Was your pew comfortable?
We all had wooden chairs to sit on, which were handy for adjusting
position if you needed a few extra inches forward or back.
How would you describe the pre-service
The notices were almost done as I arrived, so it was fairly
informal and pleasant. The banns of marriage were being read.
What were the exact opening words of the
"So as we worship, let us pray the prayer of preparation."
What books did the congregation use during the
We were given two service sheets. The white one gave the running
order of the service with hymns incorporated, sourced from Common
Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England.
The yellow sheet was an overview of the services that day as
well as notices and service adverts and announcements.
What musical instruments were played?
A fine sounding organ, played well without any discernible mistakes.
Did anything distract you?
At the exchange of peace, I turned behind me and shook the hand
of a lovely young lady who gave me a nice smile. My ego was
pleasantly massaged. And the priest's well-mannered beard seemed
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or
Three fairly stiff-upper-lip 19th century hymns were sung in
a mass that was pretty high up the Anglican candle. Although
I'm a middle of the road guy, I appreciate high candle "theatre
of worship" services, and this one was well presented and
organised. We had plenty of incense. We prayed to the Blessed
Virgin in front of her statue. After the baptism, the priest
carried the infant candidate around the congregation for all
to see and greet. After the service I discussed the worship
with a member, who explained they like to evoke all the senses
in worship. And they really did so with all the incense.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 Pretty standard delivery that skipped along at a steady
In a nutshell, what was the sermon
The gospel reading was Mark 3:20-35, where Jesus proclaims his
family to be the believers and disciples, rather than his natural
blood relatives. Our spiritual family is one of unity, contrasted
with the division of the world. We must look beyond the material
and value the kinship bonds of the church. We are called to
love the Lord and each other.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The baptismal infant candidate was adorable her wide
inquisitive eyes melted everyone's heart as she was carried
about. It was very moving to witness a high church service punctuated
with a very warm, emotive act of kinship that brought the congregation
together in fellowship and joy, in keeping with the spirit of
the sermon. The eucharist was also very moving, where I had
a strong sense of the presence of God.
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
In contrast to the young lady who smiled at me during the peace,
one of her neighbours served me a dish of cold hard nothing,
fixing her eyes straight ahead whilst the others all turned
and shook hands. I'll get over it.
What happened when you
hung around after the service looking lost?
Just as I had gathered my items and was about to head for coffee,
a lovely woman said hello and asked me if I was visiting. I
shared a very warm and welcoming conversation with her. At coffee,
another kind soul started a conversation with me, and I was
made to feel very welcome. Then something very odd occurred.
As she introduced me to another member of the congregation,
she introduced me by name. I paused we hadn't exchanged
names and she looked up and said, "I don't know how I
know your name." Nor did I!
How would you describe
the after-service coffee?
Excellent! Best after service coffee I've had. We had to wait
ages for it to be ready, but it was proper coffee served in
a nice mug none of that polystyrene rubbish. The brothers
and sisters of Roffey know their coffee!
How would you feel about
making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 As I mentioned before, I'm more of a middle of the
candle guy, but I do appreciate high church and I was impressed
with the warm welcome, coffee, and especially Father Agnew's
moving moment with the baptised child. I'm also a little freaked
out (in a good way) that someone knew my name at coffee without
being told it. Maybe this is a sign.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
It well did! I left feeling welcomed, enthused and spiritually
recharged. God is good.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The infant being paraded around the church, and the warm smiles that greeted her heart-melting eyes.
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