|209: Church of the Transfiguration, Arcadia, California|
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Mystery Worshipper: Eagle Eye.
The church: Church of the Transfiguration, Arcadia, California.
Denomination: Episcopal Church, USA.
The building: Small, Spanish-style church in a town near Pasadena, California. There is a single aisle with the pews abutting the walls on either side. Pews are short five adults maximum per pew. A placard near the door says that the maximum capacity is 170, but that surely includes the entire altar party, choir and organist.
The neighbourhood: Suburban area with modest, single family homes near the Sierra Madre mountains. Its proximity to the mountains accounts for the name of the parish.
The cast: No names were given.
What was the name of the service?
The Holy Eucharist, Rite II.
How full was the building?
I'd say that there were about 75-80 people there, spread around so that it seemed nicely full.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
An usher handed us a bulletin with a wordless smile. However, during the passing of the peace there was a general free-for-all and even the priest made his way back to the Mystery Worshipper and his family. During the announcements, which occurred following the passing of the peace and before the beginning of the communion, he introduced us and another visitor to the congregation.
Was your pew comfortable?
Standard stuff padded with kneeler. The kneelers were a little on the small side and seemed to be positioned to hit the middle of the shin, rather than the knee.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Send out your light and your truth..."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
Book of Common Prayer 1978 and Hymnal 1982. Pew racks also held the small 1928 version of the Book of Common Prayer and the bulletin mentioned that the 8.00am service was taken from that book.
What musical instruments were played?
Organ and piano.
Did anything distract you?
The Mystery Worshipper was briefly distracted when the priest mentioned that the sermon would consist of a meditation on the new stained glass in the church using music, words and interpretive dance. It was difficult to suppress a smile, remembering previous encounters with interpretive dance: occasional glimpses of jiggling cellulite and a lot of determined staring at the back of the pew in front, another glimpse, more jiggling, etc.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
It was a middle-of-the-road Episcopal service with a sung preface to the communion.