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2575: Baptist Church, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England
Baptist Church, Shepton Mallet (Exterior)
Mystery Worshipper: Aileen.
The church: Baptist Church, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England.
Denomination: Baptist Union of Great Britain
The building: The Baptist chapel was built in 1801 and fronts immediately onto a main road. The building is of stone with two symmetrical rows of four windows facing the street and an ornamental gable. It has been a Grade II listed (protected) building since 1974. The baptismal area was at the front, under the organ and the preaching area..
The church: In this church, in keeping with its denomination, people are baptised as believers; even if they have been dedicated as babies they later they choose to be baptised in faith, as Jesus also was as an adult. In addition to the Sunday service, the church also has fellowship meetings and a coffee morning during the week.
The neighbourhood: Shepton Mallet is a medieval market town and wool trading centre in the south-west of England. Although it is not huge, it has plenty of shops and places to eat, with many ancient houses, set in the middle of rural farmland featuring pastoral scenes of sheep and cows – indeed, the name Shepton is derived from the Old English word for sheep pen. During World War II, important historical documents such as the Magna Carta and the Domesday Book were brought to Shepton Mallet for safekeeping. It's hard to believe that the big city of Bristol is just 18 miles away.
The cast: Kerry Web led the service, in the absence of the pastor, the Revd Graham Dart.
The date & time: Sunday, 28 July 2013, 10.30am.
Comment: We have received a comment on this report.

What was the name of the service?
Morning Service.

How full was the building?
The building could accommodate a large congregation on two levels, but there were about 30 people present on this occasion and we all had plenty of space.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
As we came to the door, there were several people coming in, who welcomed us. Inside, many more welcomed and spoke to us.

Was your pew comfortable?
It was a padded wooden pew and very comfortable.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
People were smiling and greeting each other and listening to the woman who played the piano. It was a congregation of adults.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
Kerry Web started with a prayer to God: "Thank you in Jesus' name."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
Songs of Fellowship, Mission England Praise and The Holy Bible, New International Version.

What musical instruments were played?
The female pianist was excellent. The organ of the same vintage as the church is not in use at the moment.

Did anything distract you?
I remembered the more modern Baptist church where I was baptised and at first I wondered where the baptism area was in this church, but afterwards they showed me it, at the front.

Baptist Church, Shepton Mallet (Interior)

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
The singing was very enthusiastic with a lot of raised hands and hand-waving.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
20 minutes, including some words said during the times between the hymns and Bible readings.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 – Kerry Web spoke well so that we could hear him.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
From Psalm 27: God is my light and my salvation. God is against the devil, not against us. Worship God always, even if we are not well. Jesus healed a man and asked him if he wanted to be well. Our soul is joyful in the Lord and exciting and free. We should be enthusiastic about God. He loves us and has a positive plan about every life. We serve in different countries and this work can be difficult, as the whole of the world does not understand us as we worship God and experience the love of God. All of us face challenges. We can only do our best and know that God is the best. God is with us all. We must have faith and pray for those who do not have faith.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Singing well about and to God, and hearing that God always loves us was like being in heaven while we are living now with the Holy Spirit.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
I felt worried about many people in the world not praying to God and not understanding God.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
People smiled and chatted to us and told us that there would be tea and coffee. They also said they were pleased we were here in the church.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Both the tea and the coffee were very nice.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
10 – If I were living there I would be really pleased to belong to that church.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
I was pleased to be a Christian and pleased I'd been baptised as a teenager, which made me feel very happy about God loving me and feeling God in me.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The message about letting people all over the world know about God.
 
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