Ship of Fools
  Bulletin Boards
  Mystery Worshipper
  Caption Competition
  Gadgets for God
  The Fruitcake Zone
  Signs & Blunders
  Born Twice
  About Ship of Fools
  Support us!
  Contact us!
18: St Thomas's Church, St Anne's on the Sea, Lancashire
Other reports | Comment on this report
St Thomas's Church
Mystery Worshipper: Bagpuss.
The church: St Thomas's Church, St Anne's on the Sea, Lancashire.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: A beautiful, red brick listed building in Victorian Gothic, with an imposing tower.
The neighbourhood: St Anne's on the Sea is a wealthy retirement area and holiday spot near Blackpool. Every street corner seems to have either a church or an old people's home (some connection, surely?).
The cast: Rev. Terry Scholz (assistant curate). Sadly, Rev. Peter Law-Jones, the Vicar, was preaching elsewhere. He wrote to Ship of Fools a few months ago asking not to be Mystery Worshipped – which is why his church was selected...
What was the name of the service?
Parish communion.

How full was the building?
Only a quarter full, but as the church seats 700, this wasn't a bad turn-out for a hot, sunny morning (rare in Lancashire)...

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes, too many to list – including choir members as I was searching for a loo for my child, sidespeople who were giving out books, and the people sitting around us in church.

Was your pew comfortable?
Traditional hard wooden pew – but despite that, very comfy for an hour's service, with plenty of leg room.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quite reverential, with organ music in the background, but some chatter in the congregation.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
'Good morning and welcome.'

What books did the congregation use during the service?
Order of Holy Communion Rite A (red book), Mission Praise.

What musical instruments were played?

Did anything distract you?
A weird and wonderful sound system which had an annoying habit of transforming priests into Daleks at the most inappropriate moments.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Good old-fashioned Anglican liturgy at its best, with a humorous touch from the priest. I particularly liked his encouragement for us to sing loudly and raise the roof to make the insurers pay for the repair work it needs.

Rev. Terry Scholz

Exactly how long was the sermon?
11 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
People want to be the centre of attention – we should have humility and remember that our talents come from God as his gift to us.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The half-mile hike which the priest and the chalice assistant made down the aisle to give communion to a senior member of the congregation whose legs weren't up to the trip.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The moment my baby threw a ginger biscuit at someone – unfortunately, he's a good shot and he threw hard.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
At least eight people asked if we were on holiday and where we came from, before we got to the coffee.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
I didn't have the coffee as it wasn't fairly traded, and was a brand I go out of my way not to buy.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, particularly as everyone was so welcoming, especially to the children.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The ginger biscuit incident, probably.

The Mystery Worshipper is sponsored by, the internet service provider from Christian Aid. By offering email services, special offers with companies such as and, surefish raises more than £300,000 a year for Christian Aid's work around the world.

Click here to find out how to become a Mystery Worshipper. And click here if you would like to reproduce this report in your church magazine or website.

Top | Other Reports | Become a Mystery Worshipper!

© Ship of Fools 1998
Surefish logo