|754: Sankt Ansgar, Uppsala, Sweden|
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Mystery Worshipper: JavelinX.
The church: Sankt Ansgar, Uppsala, Sweden.
Denomination: Church of Sweden.
The building: Late 50s / early 60s style. A quite small, low building, surrounded by higher houses. Well, that's outside. Inside, it is astonishing. White walls, dark stone floor. Gold and red are the colours. In the middle of it all, a cross. Yes. Great!
The church: Lots of students come to the church from all over Sweden, and from abroad. The church owns two block of flats with 120 student rooms, and many of the students there are members of the church community.
The neighbourhood: St Ansgar is situated in the middle of one of the largest student settlements in Uppsala it's even called "Studentstaden", the Student Town. Uppsala is the biggest university city in Sweden, with the oldest university in Scandinavia (founded 1466) and the Johannelund Theological Seminary.
The cast: Father Patrik Lind, priest.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
It was nearly empty. We were roughly a dozen brave souls in there.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Nope. Once I had found a free seat (not too difficult), a fellow student arrived. He at least said "Hi".
Was your pew comfortable?
Yes, it was a quite nice chair, nothing special. But, since this is the "highest" of churches in Uppsala, we were standing at least healf of the entire mass.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
It was quiet, very quiet. The only noise I heard was when I, the Mystery Worshipper himself, dropped my pen on the floor.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"I Faderns, Sonens och den Helige Andens namn." That is, "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
We were using the Swedish Hymn Book, and the texts were read from the "official" Swedish Bible translation, the "Bible 2000" from 1999. We were also handed a flier with the program of the mass.
What musical instruments were played?
An organ with a lovely tone: clear, rich and saturated! Very well adapted for the small room.
Did anything distract you?
Yes. What was the age of the priest's assistent? Was she 16? 25? It's hard to tell the age of someone wearing a huge red robe, with a face that gives no clue.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
High style. Not too many hymns, though.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
Roughly 15 minutes. I had no watch, and trying to look at the time on my cellphone would have been most disrespectful.
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
About Jesus, and who he was. Everything he came to say and do was and is important. There is no need to doubt him, and if you do doubt him, then you are doubting God.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The interior of the church, which was beautiful. I also admired the rich liturgy.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
It was quite unpleasant not to be familiar with when to sit or stand, when to sing what, and how, and so on. I guess it would take some time to get used to it.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Father Lind recognised that I was a newcomer and spoke with me for at least 10 minutes about the church and the congregation. That was truly something new to me most of the time that does not happen.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There was none.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
Since I am much closer to the church I regularly attend, it would take something special to make that happen. Writing on the wall, a thunderstorm of toads, or a very beautiful girl... those might make it my regular. But, I guess I'll be there occasionally. If nothing else, the interior was and is worth a second look.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes. Especially the chat with Father Lind.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The fear of violating the liturgy.