|510: St Mary the Virgin, Waverley, Sydney, Australia.|
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Mystery Worshipper: Ecumaniac.
The church: St Mary the Virgin, Waverley, Sydney, Australia.
Denomination: Anglican (Anglo-Catholic).
The building: It's old, built in the 1860s, quite spacious and "churchy".
The church: St Mary's is one of the very few Anglo-Catholic parishes in the Anglican diocese of Sydney.
The neighbourhood: Opposite the church is Waverly College, which is a Roman Catholic school. On top of the building, directly overlooking St Mary's, is a statue of St Mary "the Immaculate". The church is also close to a large comms tower with satellite dishes shaped like panadol tablets!
The cast: Fr. Terrence Dicks (rector).
What was the name of the service?
Quinquagesima Evening Prayer and Benediction.
How full was the building?
Sixteen in the congregation and 16 clergy/choir, in a church with a capacity of 250. So it was 12.8 per cent full.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
I arrived too early, but a couple of the ministers smiled and nodded to me as they walked around preparing stuff.
Was your pew comfortable?
Fairly standard wooden pew. We didn't have to spend long stretches of time sitting.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quiet and reverent. And dark (until the lights went on).
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"God save our gracious Queen..." (sung: this was Accession Sunday). There were no spoken words until the first reading from Hosea chapter 14.
What books did the congregation use during the service?
An A4-size stapled order of service booklet.
What musical instruments were played?
Pipe organ and digital piano on harpsichord setting.
Did anything distract you?
I get distracted by excessive amounts of old-fashioned, Book-of-Common-Prayer English. Hymns in BCP English I can cope with, but an entire service is a bit much.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
It was very structured and ritualized (not ritualistic), with a strong sense of reverence.