|96: The Lord Mayor's Chapel, Bristol, England|
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Mystery Worshipper: Leo.
The church: The Lord Mayor's Chapel, Bristol, England.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: Built in 1230, this is the last remaining building of a hospital which was pulled down during the dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII.
The neighbourhood: The chapel is near the centre of Bristol, opposite the cathedral. It is the only church in Britain owned and controlled by a local government authority.
The cast: Canon Brendan Clover.
What was the name of the service?
Solemn Mass of Jesus Christ, the High Priest.
How full was the building?
About 40 people.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes, with a smile as they handed me a service leaflet.
Was your pew comfortable?
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
People were talking in competition with the organ music, but went quiet when the organ stopped.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"I am very pleased to welcome you."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
A special service booklet, plus the Alternative Service Book Holy Communion Rite A booklet.
What musical instruments were played?
Did anything distract you?
Yes, the most beautiful ceiling.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Modern Anglo-Catholic, with the hearty singing of modern-ish hymns and well-ordered ceremonial (which you would expect, given the make-up of the congregation).
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 because he modulated his voice to enthuse and arouse people in a campaigning style.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
"Regeneration" is not just a 1990s buzz word but a Christian concept. Anglo-Catholicism will only be regenerated if we take our full part in the Church of England, instead of retreating into a ghetto-mentality.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Hearing mainly men's voices singing "Soul of my Saviour".
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Sitting in close proximity to a famous Tory councillor who has, in my view, obnoxiously un-Christian views about the homeless and the jobless.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Someone shook my hand and asked me where I was from.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There wasn't any. There were to be refreshments after another service later in the day.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
5 because this was a special occasion. The chapel normally has an eclectic congregation and thus lacks the community feel of a regular parish church.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
I strained my throat with all the singing.