|319: St Bartholomew, Roby, Liverpool, England|
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Mystery Worshipper: Brick.
The church: St Bartholomew, Roby, Liverpool, England.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: Traditional, largish building from the outside. However, they have converted the back half of the nave to create an entrance area with several side rooms and a first floor. It looks very attractive.
The church: They support a sister church, Trinity in Page Moss, in a local ecumenical arrangement with the Methodists.
The cast: Vicar: Geoff Pearson. Preacher: Mandy Martin.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
About half full. Many of the congregation were kids from the Pathfinders group.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Nobody, but then I came in with a group, so they may have assumed that I "belonged" to them.
Was your pew comfortable?
Chairs, the modern padded type. Fairly comfortable.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Noisy. Lots of chatting, fairly irreverent really. Some lad behind me pulled my hair, which was rude and distracting. I gave him a withering glare and told him... well... use your imagination!
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"You've all had plenty of time to talk about what has happend in the past week, now shut up and sing!"
What books did the congregation use during the service?
None. The songs were projected onto an OHP screen.
What musical instruments were played?
There was a band consisting of keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, clarinet and three singers.
Did anything distract you?
The lads in the row behind.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
5 It seemed to go on and on, and just as I hoped she was winding up we were told that the third point she had to make split into four parts...
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
The cost and risk of discipleship. The journey from "take this suffering away" to "help me to bear it". The compassion, intimacy, insistency and necessity of surrender to God's still small voice.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Worshipping from the congregation in a style which I normally can't do because I'm a member of the worship band at my home church.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The OHP screen was set up such that I couldn't see the bottom three-quarters of it, and many of the lines were too long for the screen. I had to struggle to see.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Nothing. Nobody said hello. We just left unnoticed.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 While I enjoyed worshipping there, improvements need to be made in order to be more welcoming.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
The worship, yes. Other aspects, no.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The lads in the row behind and their distracting behaviour. I was later told that one of them (probably the one who pulled my hair) is an ordained minister!