|Comment on this report, or find other reports.
|Our Mystery Worshippers are volunteers who warm church pews for us around the world. If you'd like to become a Mystery Worshipper, start here.
|Find out how to reproduce this report in your church magazine or website.
|2426: Go Church,
Horsham, West Sussex, England
Worshipper: The Old Man from
Horsham, West Sussex, England.
They reject the concept of thinking denominationally. From
their website: "God has not revealed everything of Himself
to any one particular group or set of individuals." The
website also has links to a variety of organisations, among
which are Citadel
in Horsham, and iEquippers.
They meet at the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee School,
a school for children with severe, complex or profound and
multiple learning difficulties. It's a very modern and fairly
attractive building. The inside is a rather plain room, with
a table, chairs, microphones, and musical instruments.
It has the feel of a supercharged charismatic church. They
are tightly focused on the great commission, so a heavy emphasis
is placed on miraculous healings, signs and wonders. Their
calendar lists prayer meetings; home groups where (again quoting
from their website) "individuals will find a caring family
providing mutual support and accountability;" and events
featuring guest speakers. The part of their website dedicated
to community involvement states: "This part of the site is
not operational as yet."
The school is off Comptons lane, which is a quiet suburb of
Horsham near a couple of secondary schools.
The minister in charge was Gary Jenkins. Rex (no surname given)
was leading worship, and Ian Andrews was the guest speaker.
The date & time:
19 August 2012, 10.00am.
What was the name of
How full was the building?
Mostly full, with about 60 people present.
Did anyone welcome you
I was greeted as I walked in and was handed a card I could
fill in if I needed prayer.
Was your pew comfortable?
Blue plastic chair, which wasn't uncomfortable.
How would you describe
the pre-service atmosphere?
I arrived on time, but the service didn't start until about
20 minutes past the hour. This was due to their relaxed approach
to timing a theme, I would discover, that continued throughout
What were the exact
opening words of the service?
"Good morning!" followed by an announcement that
those wishing to smoke could go out through the main door
something I was later very grateful for.
What books did the congregation
use during the service?
A projector was used to beam the words of the worship songs
onto the wall. No books were used in the service.
What musical instruments
An electric keyboard and guitar.
Did anything distract
The biggest distraction occurred after the praise and worship,
which had already gone on for a whole hour. Someone named
Rosemary got up to deliver a message from God. God's message
(as channeled by Rosemary) consisted of 15 minutes of random
snippets about winning races, eagles soaring, not being able
to understand the Bible, positive and negative electrical
currents, being "plugged into" God, hidden manna,
and the "report of God." Utter nonsense.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
The worship was excruciating. We sang only five happy-clappy
songs over a whole hour, as the leaders thought it best to repeat
choruses over and over again rather than to venture into new
material. One song had a grand total of ten words to it, but
lasted as many minutes. After 30 minutes of this, I noticed
that half the congregation had given up and sat down, but on
and on the music went! After 40 minutes I took advantage of
the invitation to slip out for a smoke, but when I got back
they were still at it! Even the preacher mentioned how the worship
went "on and on." The Bible was not read from, or even
mentioned, once in the almost three hour ordeal, except for
a passing reference by Rosemary.
Exactly how long was the
After the hour-long repetition of five songs and the 15 minute
ramble from Rosemary, I was hoping for a short sermon. My
hopes were dashed it lasted 60 minutes! And after it
was over, Rosemary got up and started up again for another
On a scale of 1-10, how
good was the preacher?
1 Toward the end of the sermon, Ian Andrews asked who
in the congregation, when speaking in tongues, favoured the
letter S or K. A few people raised their hands. He then asked
one lady who had raised her hand to stand up and speak in tongues,
but to favour the letter L. The poor lady look horrified but
obliged. He then asked someone to interpret what she had said,
which somebody did. He repeated this several times.
In a nutshell, what was
the sermon about?
I really would like to summarize it in a nutshell, but all
I can do is list the various things he talked about: (1) entering
the "glory realm" by travelling from "here to there, to there;"
(2) speaking in tongues; (3) God covering people in gold dust;
(4) jewels appearing from the floor; (5) being questioned
by God about white rooms; (6) a woman who was gifted with
the ability to "see green" on people who were suffering
from problems with the lungs. And so on if I listed
them all, I'm afraid I'd be accused of making them up.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The five minutes I spent smoking outside.
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
The worship that dragged on and on. Rosemary's ramblings. The
lengthy sermon that focused on weird and bizarre tales of supernatural
occurrences. These were all pretty bad, but the absolute worst
of it was the preacher picking people out of the congregation,
getting them to speak in tongues starting with letters of his
choosing, and then getting others to interpret what they said.
It was insane!
What happened when you
hung around after the service looking lost?
Gary Jenkins, the minister in charge, declared, "We're not
done yet! We will now spend time speaking in tongues." I'd
been there almost three hours. I found an open door at the
back and took my tongue and the rest of me out of there!
How would you describe
the after-service coffee?
I haven't a clue.
How would you feel about
making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 =
0 The fourth century church historian Eusebius wrote
in Book 4 of his Ecclesiastical History of a certain
officer of the court named Basilides: "Under the pretext
of unspeakable mysteries, he invented monstrous fables, and
carried the fictions of his impious heresy quite beyond bounds."
It looks like Basilides isn't done with the world yet.
Did the service make
you feel glad to be a Christian?
That was Christianity?
What one thing will
you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Must I remember anything? If one insists, I suppose it would
be the preacher's obsession with people being miraculously covered
in gold dust.
|We rely on voluntary donations to stay online. If you're a regular visitor to Ship of Fools, please consider supporting us.
|The Mystery Pilgrim
| One of our most seasoned reporters makes the Camino pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Read here.
| Read reports from 70 London churches, visited by a small army of Mystery Worshippers on one single Sunday. Read here.