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What is this?
Since ancient times (ok, 1998), Ship of Fools has been sending Mystery Worshippers to churches worldwide. Travelling incognito, they ask those questions which go to the heart of church life: How long was the sermon? How hard the pew? How cold was the coffee? How warm the welcome?

The only clue they have been there at all is the Mystery Worshipper calling card, dropped discreetly into the collection plate.
If you would like to become a Mystery Worshipper, start here.
See our archive of reports
Famous/infamous
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Curly feathers and spurs for the Queen's Birthday

Although Her Majesty the Queen was born in April, the British quite properly wait until June, when the weather is better, to celebrate her birthday officially. This year a special service at Worcester Cathedral marked the culmination of weeks of festivities in honour of Her Majesty's ninetieth. And need you ask? Of course our Mystery Worshipper was there! Read how she bobbed up and down with the best of them. You could have tickled her with a feather!

Recent reports

> HM The Queen turns 90: Worcester Cathedral, UK
> Liberties taken at St Henry, Buckeye, USA
> Enchanted at L'Église Française du Saint-Esprit, NY City
> Christ-like caring at St Malachy’s, Hillsborough, N Ireland
> Rainbows and heavenly music at Gloucester Cathedral, UK

> Refreshingly cool: St John Vianney, Goodyear, USA
> Sheep graze, mice nibble: St Mary the Virgin, Shipley, UK
> Write your own gospel at St Laurence, Goring-by-Sea, UK
> Xylophones and crepe at St Pius V, Chicago, USA
> Serve-yourself communion at Vineyard, Glendale, USA

> Strong community at St John the Evangelist, London
> Sopranos on fire at Trinity on the Hill, Los Alamos, USA
> Mountains and palms at Furnace Creek, Death Valley, USA
> Blind faith at St Anthony of Padua, Wickenburg, USA
> Overwhelming: St Francis de Sales, Norton Shores, USA

> "Important" people at St Thomas, Charlotte Amalie, USVI
> Lay ministers honoured: All Souls, Langham Place, London
> Holy Chaos at NoorderLichtkerk, Zeist, The Netherlands
> Friendly, non-threatening: St Mark's, Kennington, London
> Absolutely traditional: Montacute Baptist, Montacute, UK

Editor's choice

> HM The Queen turns 90: Worcester Cathedral, UK
> Mountains and palms at Furnace Creek, Death Valley, USA
> Lay ministers honoured: All Souls, Langham Place, London
> Holy Chaos at NoorderLichtkerk, Zeist, The Netherlands
> Haydn's Last Words of Christ: St Catherine's, Montacute, UK

Comments, corrections and removals

For the latest comments on and corrections to Mystery Worshipper reports, please go here. Reports over two years old can be removed at the request of the church reviewed. Please email here for further details.
 
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Rapture
The Rapture
On 1 April 2016 it finally happened, and our Mystery Worshipper was among the Chosen Few. Read all about how songwriter Irving Berlin figured into it as you weep and gnash your teeth.
Torold
The best of Torold
The Mystery Worshipper known as Torold, among other names, passed on to glory in November 2015. Her sharp eye and quick wit brought much pleasure to our readers and will be missed. See a representative sampling of the best of her reports.
Easter 2016
Easter 2016
This Holy Week, our Mystery Worshippers went on a moon walk with Jesus, enjoyed the antics of the church cat, breathed in lavender scented incense, and finished off with a "cheerfully sweet" Easter! Read all about how they got through it.
camino pilgrimage
The Mystery Pilgrim
One of our most seasoned reporters makes the Camino pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Read here.

 
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