|10: Christ Church Highbury, London|
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Mystery Worshipper: Doubting Thomas (Mrs).
The church: Christ Church Highbury, London.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: Victorian stone church, beautiful if you like that sort of thing. Light, airy and modern inside very welcoming in feel.
The neighbourhood: Very mixed neighbourhood in true Islington tradition, with rich and poor side by side. Adjacent to Highbury Fields, one of the few green areas in Islington. The church is renowned locally for its music and flower festivals, which have high standards of quality and are very successful. The choir is particularly good, run by a jazz musician.
The cast: The curate, Nigel Mason, led the service. The preacher was a theological student.
What was the name of the service?
Evening service of Holy Communion.
How full was the building?
About 20 people in a church capable of seating 300.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
The curate and preacher were standing at the door at the start and both said 'good evening' to me, but no more, which was fine. During the 'peace', my hand got shaken by almost everyone, but no questions!
Was your pew comfortable?
Individual chairs with cushioned seats. Comfortable.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quiet (although the musicians were rehearsing at full volume) and reverential. There was no gossip, which wasn't surprising, as the few people there were mostly sitting in separate rows, spaced far apart. That was OK for me, being used to churches, but I wondered what a newcomer would make of it why the separateness?
What were the exact opening words of the service?
'Good evening and welcome to Christ Church for our service of Holy Communion.'
What books did the congregation use during the service?
A modern version of the Bible, plus 'Mission Praise', and the red communion books taken from the ASB (Alternative Service Book 1980).
What musical instruments were played?
Piano, flute and cello.
Did anything distract you?
Funnily enough, nothing distracted me except my own wandering thoughts (during the sermon)...