|254: Yoido Full Gospel Church, Yoido, Seoul, South Korea|
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Mystery Worshipper: Harpocrates.
The church: Yoido Full Gospel Church, Yoido, Seoul, South Korea. This is the numero uno church in the world, if size is anything to go by, with over 800,000 members.
Denomination: Pentecostal (Assemblies of God).
The building: It's a gigantic building that is shaped like a huge baseball stadium. The lighting is very bright and everything about the place is... shall we say, rather "over the top". The service felt like a baseball game. I was seated on the extreme right and was tempted to start the wave.
The neighbourhood: Yoido is an island on the south side of Seoul that is similar to Manhattan in many ways. There is the National Assembly, the Financial District, Stock Exchange... a very "high powered neighborhood" to say the least.
The cast: The presider seems to have been anonymous. It may have been Rev. Tae Keun Lee. The sermon was delivered by Rev. David Yonggi Cho.
What was the name of the service?
11.00am Communion Sunday Worship Service.
How full was the building?
A sell-out crowd, bulging at the seams! I felt like I was in the back seat of a compact car with four other people squeezed in.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
As I walked into the building, I was snatched up by someone who transported me up the elevator and into the "foreign" section of the church (in the right field nose-bleed seats). Someone asked me where I was from and if it was my first time here. It was a very mechanical and functional first impression.
Was your pew comfortable?
Though the pews had brown leather foam, they were still hard on the butt. We were in there like a tin of Brunswick sardines. The leg room was almost non-existent.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
There's a pre- worship gospel time. I arrived at 11.00am and they were pretty well warmed up.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
I was stuck in the elevator and they began the actual service a few minutes before 11, so I missed that part.
What books did the congregation use during the service?
There was a hymn book (in Korean and English) and a Bible.
What musical instruments were played?
Organ, piano, synth, guitar, drums, flute, clarinet, sax, tambourine... and a symphony orchestra.
Did anything distract you?
The TV cameras were very distracting. I kept thinking of Daniel Amos's "Alarma Chronicles." The guy next to me was sleeping soundly during the sermon.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
It was very hearty. The singing reminded me of a Wesleyan tent revival meeting. But the prayer times got very rowdy. I felt a tad uncomfortable.