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408: All Saints, Beeston Regis, Norfolk, England
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All Saints, Beeston Regis, Norfolk, England
Mystery Worshipper: Marcellus.
The church: All Saints, Beeston Regis, Norfolk, England.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: This is a rugged clifftop church with an unbuttressed tower in a fairly isolated position. Externally it shows a distinct division between nave and chancel with a visible south aisle as seen from the main road. It is entered by the south porch. It is mainly constructed of flints, and is renowned for its near-perfect painted medieval screen which displays 12 saints.
The church: It serves a local community from the nearby town of West Runton and is between Sheringham and Cromer on the Norfolk coast.
The neighbourhood: From the north side of the church, between it and the sea, can be seen a largish caravan site.
The cast: Rev. Canon Paul Atkins.
What was the name of the service?
"The Marriage of Katharine and Edward."

How full was the building?
The nave was nearly full with others in the north and south aisles. Approximately 80 to 90 in all.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was handed the marriage leaflet and that was all. (I attended because the couple were known to my family.)

Was your pew comfortable?
No, there was a hard plank across the back, which bounced every time someone moved.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Expectant with quiet chatter – the bride was over 10 minutes late.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Welcome to everyone..."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
Just the marriage leaflet.

What musical instruments were played?
The organ.

Did anything distract you?
The very uncomfortable pew.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Pleasantly cheerful. The choir, who were the bride's friends, sang two short pieces. Readings were done by other friends and a love poem read by one who burst into tears. There was an Irish blessing from another friend and three hymns.

All Saints, Beeston Regis, Norfolk, UK

Exactly how long was the sermon?
4 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
3 – It was a very elementary discourse on the usual reading from St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians on love.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
The vicar first explained that the couple had to have a special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury because neither of them lived in the parish. He then spoke about the marriage certificate itself. This did not allow much time to discuss the meaning of love.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Being in a church with such wonderful medieval paintings.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The awful pew!

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We were forced to hang around as the photos were being taken in the porch. The vicar spoke to us, as some of my party attend the church regularly. He was interested that I had recently taken a number of digital photographs of the church.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
None was provided. Neither did we attend the reception. We had just attended as friends of the family.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
2 – Not my usual type of church service, as I prefer high Anglo-Catholic and this was very traditional prayer book.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes. It was a happy service where it was good to know that the family involved were churchgoing Christians.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The magnificent medieval screen painting.

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