|75: St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore|
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Mystery Worshipper: Scot of the East.
The church: St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore.
The building: Victorian English Gothic.
The neighbourhood: The cathedral is preserved beside the former Parliament building, Victoria Hall and Cricket Club as an oasis of Singapore of old, in a jungle of high-rise offices, hotels and shopping malls (those great temples of mammon).
The cast: Our preacher was Rev Canon John Chew.
What was the name of the service?
11.00am Mattins with Holy Communion (one of 12 Sunday services).
How full was the building?
50 per cent at the start of the service; full 15 minutes into service; people standing at the back after half an hour.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
No, but I was given an order of service and a bumper pack of fliers for church events as I entered the church.
Was your pew comfortable?
Yes. Wooden pews with wicker seats and backs, and with individual wooden armrests. So comfortable, in fact, that the lady in front of me slept through the notices and sermon.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
I'm afraid I was late and missed this bit.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
I missed this bit, too. They were on the third verse of the opening hymn when I arrived.
What books did the congregation use during the service?
The RSV Bible, "Hymns Ancient and Modern", and the Diocese of Singapore Service Book (Singapore's Anglican liturgy based on the ASB, in English and Chinese).
What musical instruments were played?
Did anything distract you?
The lady behind me rustled a polythene bag all through communion.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
High church without too much ritual, and with a distinctively evangelical flavour.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7. Rev Chew preached on Luke 5:1-11 (Peter's miraculous catch of fish). He paddled around in water near the shore for the first 15 minutes and was hard to follow. But, once he was in the deep water, further from the shore, the message was clear and challenging.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
When we are exhausted, when we question the Lord's instructions, do we say, 'At your word, Lord', as Peter did? Are we ready to follow Christ and give up everything, rather than asking him to land us a big catch for our material benefit?
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The intercession. Flowing, reverent and confident prayer for Indonesia, Laos, Israel, the midwest Episcopalian Church and the universal Church in Singapore.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The sound system and acoustics of the cathedral were fuzzy. The sermon, prayers and readings were clear, but the choir did not come across strongly enough to lead the 1,000 or so congregation well.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We didn't even reach the newcomers' area outside the church before we were welcomed. We had a good chat over a cool drink.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Very refreshing, cool orange squash a help-yourself arrangement from large plastic vats.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
3. The congregation has too many members to feel like a proper church fellowship. It's an excellent place to worship when you need to know how great God is.
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 subject of the prayers.