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|2572: St John
the Evangelist, Montreux, Switzerland
© demonpiccolo and used under license
Worshipper: Abed Nego.
John the Evangelist, Montreux, Switzerland.
of England, Diocese
St John's was the work of the Victorian English Gothic Revivalist
George Frederick Bodley, who designed or renovated hundreds
of churches all throughout England. Dedicated in 1877, the
church is a fine example of the Bell Epoque style. As the
20th century wore on, however, the building suffered from
wear and tear and the effect of ill-conceived efforts at patchwork,
and most of its original beauty was lost. Toward the end of
the century a massive restoration effort was begun, thanks
to the generosity of local benefactors. The highly ornamented
Lady chapel, including a lovely shrine to Our Lady, as well
as stencilled decorations throughout the church and a finely
carved crucifix, the centrepiece of the reredos, have all
been brought back to their original glory. Restoration is
ongoing, including renovation of the organ.
They sponsor a monthly luncheon get-together as well as other
fellowship and devotional activities. I assume that this church
is used to welcoming visitors.
The church is situated in Territet on the shores of Lac Leman
at the eastern edge of Montreux. The location is exceptionally
beautiful, with spectacular views of the snow-capped Alps.
Immediately behind the church is a tiny station, the terminus
of the funicular railway steeply descending from the village
of Glion high above.
The Revd Paul Dalzell, chaplain, was the celebrant. Peter
Fairgrieve served as organist and choirmaster.
The date & time:
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, 7 July 2013, 10.30am. [Editor's
note: This report was filed 1 August 2013.]
What was the name of
How full was the building?
Sparsely attended by about 30 people, even though their ranks
were swelled by the presence of folk attending the Montreux
Jazz Festival, and by those attending the Initiatives of Change
conferences at Caux.
Did anyone welcome you
The chaplain's wife introduced herself and greeted us warmly
as she handed us service sheets.
Was your pew comfortable?
How would you describe
the pre-service atmosphere?
It was restless. Choir members came and went from their seats
in the sanctuary. One even vested in full view of the congregation!
Things quietened down somewhat as the organist played a chorale
prelude by Brahms.
What were the exact
opening words of the service?
"Good morning!" This was followed by a discourse of welcome
that included the words, "We're going to turn an aggregation
into a congregation." Visitors were encouraged to introduce
themselves to one another and to the regulars. And then, picking
up a guitar, the chaplain proceeded to cajole us into joining
him in a hearty rendition of the first verse of the Magnificat
in Latin. When this came to a merciful end, the choir processed
in and we sang the opening hymn quite lustily.
What books did the congregation
use during the service?
Service sheets and hymn books.
What musical instruments
Organ, a 19th century instrument currently being restored.
Did anything distract
The fact that as a congregation we were shut out of the singing
of the mass setting. This was a great pity as the setting
new to me was the Festive Eucharist of
Noel Rawsthorne, splendidly uplifting and well-rendered by
the organist and choir. Why offer a congregational mass setting
and then not give the folks in the pews any music? Aargh!
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
Sloppy is the word that comes to mind. I felt as if the chaplain
may have preferred a happy clappy atmosphere, but the setting
lends itself to a more high church, catholic style of worship.
Microphones were not on when they were needed, and left on
when they were not needed. The choir's clumsy movement to
the front pews in order to hear the chaplains's homily was
distracting. The tug of war between the informality of Father
Dalzell and the longstanding tradition of this church may
be the reason that few people attend this place.
Exactly how long was
On a scale of 1-10,
how good was the preacher?
2 Father Dalzell is not a natural public speaker. Considering
the naivete of his message, it was extraordinary that he had
to keep referring back to his notes. Also, I fail to understand
why a priest does not go to the pulpit the preach the gospel.
Doing so from the aisle behind a music stand does nothing
to enhance the message.
In a nutshell, what
was the sermon about?
Father Dalzell took as his text the last verse of the gospel
for the day: "Rejoice that your names are written in
heaven" (Luke 10:20). He then described four signs that our
names are indeed written in heaven: (1) that this church was
"creating a space for people who want to find Christ";
(2) that the church was starting an enquirers' class; (3)
that they had an intercession book that included phone numbers;
and (4) the church would be holding forums. He concluded by
saying that these things would not be well received but that
it was important to "keep the main thing, the main thing."
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The singing of the communion anthem, Purcell's Thou knowest,
Lord, the secrets of our hearts. It was carefully rehearsed,
well-balanced and beautifully in tune.
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
Father's lime green chasuble.
What happened when you
hung around after the service looking lost?
We were invited to tea or coffee in the social area
at the back of the church.
How would you describe
the after-service coffee?
Unmemorable. Little trouble taken over the preparation of
this event, and not especially welcoming.
How would you feel about
making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 =
3 If this is the only Anglican church in the area,
I would have no alternative. But I don't think I'd be very
Did the service make
you feel glad to be a Christian?
Somewhat, though I felt as though we had been through the
formalities rather than having participated in a royal banquet.
What one thing will
you remember about all this in seven days' time?
That bellowy Magnificat that opened the proceedings. It was
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