|67: St Andrew's, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China|
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Mystery Worshipper: Scot of the East.
The church: St Andrew's, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China.
The building: Red-brick colonial church building.
The neighbourhood: The church, its outbuildings and six-storey mission complex are the only low-rise buildings in the area and the only ones that were built more than about 20 years ago.
The cast: John Aldis (minister), and Wing-On Pang (preacher).
What was the name of the service?
Morning Worship. This is one of three services the early morning 'reflective' service and evening 'contemporary' worship cater for other tastes.
How full was the building?
There were very few gaps left by the start of the service.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was given an order of service at the door, with a polite 'good morning'.
Was your pew comfortable?
Yes. Linked wooden seats with metal legs.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quiet chit-chat amongst the congregation, with organ music and a meditative song by the choir.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
'May I welcome you here this morning to St Andrew's.'
What books did the congregation use during the service?
Bible, 'Songs of Fellowship', 'Hymns for Today's Church', 'Come and Worship' (St Andrew's own liturgy, based on the ASB, with a few typos). It wasn't too difficult to juggle all these, because enough time was given to get the right book and the right page at the appropriate moments.
What musical instruments were played?
Organ and piano.
Did anything distract you?
A mobile phone rang for a long time during a prayer. The phone played the tune of 'Scotland the Brave'.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Confident, reassuring and respectful. Typically evangelical Anglican.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
20 minutish (I didn't have a watch).
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7. The theme of the sermon was based vaguely on the content on the passage (Acts 22:30-23:9), but the passage was not referred to during the sermon. It would have helped if the points had been linked to the verse from which they were being made. The application was excellent, very challenging.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Protesting when we see prejudice, elitism or racism, and avoiding practising these isms ourselves.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The singing of the closing hymn, 'We trust in you, our shield and our defender'.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Nothing. The service was encouraging and without embarrassment.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I looked lost near the welcome desk outside the church. One of the staff there welcomed me warmly and introduced me to a couple of people. The welcome desk served its purpose well.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Drinks were on offer, but I didn't try any.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7. The church is a great cross-section of Hong Kong culture, and has a firm foundation of biblically-focused faith.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The cosmopolitan nature of the church left a strong impression. Many churches in other Asian cities which have an expatriate minister are more exclusively expat, but the mix of staff and members at St Andrews is great testimony to their ministry in Hong Kong.