|84: St Thomas Corstorphine, Edinburgh, Scotland|
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Mystery Worshipper: Angus Tourer.
The church: St Thomas, Corstorphine, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Denomination: Scottish Episcopal Church.
The building: Large, boring, unattractive Victorian box.
The neighbourhood: Privet-lined Edinburgh suburbia.
The cast: Rev Michael Parker, Rector.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
Half full it was holiday time.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Parking the car on a very busy road was the first obstacle, but I was given help with that. The entrance to the worship area is dark and confusing, but I was given the literature I needed with a cheery welcome.
Was your pew comfortable?
The seats were perfectly comfortable, which was important as the service lasted 1 hour 27 minutes although the great thing about communion is you get a leg stretch part-way through.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Before the service there was a sacred hubbub. It was quiet enough for me to look around and notice the slightly incongruous theatre lighting, and the banners depicting the Fruit of the Spirit. I noticed that two fruits were missing: amongst the love, joy, peace and all, there was no kindness nor self-control...
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Welcome to St Thomas's Corstorphine this morning. Just as folk are arriving, we're going to sing a song."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
NIV Bibles, and a leaflet for Holy Communion called "An Experimental Service for 1996". It wasn't clear whether the experiment hadn't yet ended, or if the church council had simply forgotten that it ever was an experiment.
What musical instruments were played?
Guitar, bass, keyboard, violin, conga drums.
Did anything distract you?
Yes the conga drum player. Why do Christians accept a lower musical ability on percussion than they ever would on, say, organ or violin? But I was able to thank God it wasn't a tambourine.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Hearty evangelical: full of meaty doctrine, but in poor BBC Radio 2 style.