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1095: Trinity, Victoria, Texas, USA
Other reports | Comment on this report
Trinity Episcopal, Victoria, Texas, USA
Mystery Worshipper: Chap.
The church: Trinity, 1501 North Glass, Victoria, Texas, USA.
Denomination: Episcopal Church in the USA.
The building: A brick building with lots of terrific stained glass, built in 1961. The church has an attached school that seems to be as vibrant as the church. The sanctuary should comfortably seat 225-250 persons and is well appointed. Hallways are well lit and there is adequate signage to prevent one from getting misdirected.
The neighborhood: The first few blocks around the church are well presented older homes. Then the neighborhood drops off a bit. Just a short drive to the north is what seems to be every cemetery in town. Some are fenced in, while others are not. Some are clearly affiliated with churches, while others are not. Either way, they just go on for blocks and blocks.
The cast: Rev. Dr Steven Pope. He referred to himself (and the parishioners only referred to him as) Fr Steve.
What was the name of the service?
Holy Communion (Rite 1).

How full was the building?
About 18, which nearly half filled the section of the sanctuary designated for this service.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
I received a very warm welcome, with lots of handshakes – a very inviting group.

Was your pew comfortable?
We sat in standard wood pews with padded kneelers. They were comfortable enough.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Very quiet and reverential, with people praying in preparation.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Good morning. Our service today begins on page 323 of the Prayer Book."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
The 1979 American Book of Common Prayer.

What musical instruments were played?

Did anything distract you?
Nearby train noise.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
It was a fairly formal service, but not so much that they could not smile at their own mistakes during the liturgy.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
8 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 – He was somewhat conversational in style. The sermon was very thought provoking and insightful.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
We must understand that the church is called to turn the world upside down. The church is to do that through forgiveness, compassion, healing, love, peace, and above all else, grace.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The warmth and friendliness made taking communion really feel like a communion of the saints.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Honestly, this is difficult. There were a few small errors in the liturgy, but nothing unforgivable. I would have also preferred a longer sermon. It seemed that he had so much to say, but not enough time to truly unpack the message.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I was immediately spoken to by others, who were again very friendly.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There was no post-service coffee, but I was invited to stay for an informal Bible study.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8 – If I was local to the area and was looking for a church, this one would be high on my list, even though it is of another denomination than my own.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, very much so.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Being at the rail to receive the elements with total strangers, but feeling as if they were all great friends.
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