|776: Tallaght Methodist, Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland|
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Mystery Worshipper: Mr Kipling.
The church: Tallaght Methodist, Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland.
The building: The church doesn't have a permanent home at present, so they are using the social centre attached to the local Roman Catholic Church which has the appearance of a private house. The worship area is in a small room .
The church: The church was started as a plant by the small Methodist community who had moved into the area from the city centre. Initially, they met in someone's house, but later moved to a school hall and then on to their current place of worship. At the time of writing, they have a permanent building under construction which they hope to move into in a few months time. At the moment there is no full time minister and services are led by visiting ministers from the local Methodist circuit.
The neighbourhood: This is a new housing estate on the outskirts of Dublin. In one direction is a view of the city, in the other is countryside.
The cast: The minister was introduced as Nigel.
What was the name of the service?
No name was published, but it was a worship service with communion.
How full was the building?
There were 16 of us altogether, including the minister, but as it was a small room, we filled it.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
We had to ring the doorbell to get in. We were welcomed at the door and directed to where coffee was being served.
Was your pew comfortable?
Chairs laid out neatly in rows. Comfortable enough.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
People were chatting over coffee. The Rugby World Cup was in full swing and Ireland had played France that morning, so this was the main topic of conversation. When the minister arrived, his first words were, "Did anyone see the game?"
What were the exact opening words of the service?
There didn't seem to be any formal start to the service. We all wandered in and sat down.
What books did the congregation use during the service?
The Methodist Service Book with Communion, Mission Praise song book and the New International Version of the Bible.
What musical instruments were played?
Did anything distract you?
The minister's hair looked as though he'd stuck his fingers in an electrical socket. I had to suppress a giggle during the sermon wen he spoke about friction while rubbing his hands together, which highlighted his short spiky hair even more.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Neither happy clappy, nor starchy. It was relaxed and informal but still reverent. We sat for most of the service, including the hymns, and stood during the prayer of consecration. We all received communion standing in a circle around the table and the minister distributed the communion to each of us without having to move from his place.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
About 15 minutes.
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 His talk was to the point. Thought provoking and challenging, but without sending us all on a guilt trip.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
"Do unto others as you would have them do to you."
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Standing in a circle receiving communion. I really felt part of the family.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Coffee before the service by the end, I was busting to use the loo!
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I didn't get a chance. I think just about everybody came and spoke to me. One person noticed that I'm from England the accent must have given me away! I'd also had a chance to speak to a few people before the service.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
As already mentioned, tea and coffee was served before the service. The coffee was Nescafé (bad point there!) served with chocolate digestive biscuits.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes. All too often I read Mystery Worshipper reports on small congregation that come across as cold and unwelcoming. This place was the complete opposite. It was one of the friendliest churches I've ever visited.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The small but devoted and incredibly friendly congregation.