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2267: Knighton Evangelical Free Church, Leicester, England
Knighton Evangelical, Leicester
Mystery Worshipper: St Hilda.
The church: Knighton Evangelical Free Church, Leicester, England.
Denomination: It is an independent church affiliated with the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches.
The building: As far as I can gather, the church was built in the 1960s, and it looks like it! The exterior is brick, rather like a large 60s house with a thin spire on top. The interior is fairly minimal, with long windows on either side of the nave and a sanctuary area with a crazy paving effect wall behind it, above which was a pulpit.
The church: They are a thriving local church, with a number of children's and young people's groups. They also aim to reach out to Leicester's large student population, and the evening service I attended has been recently started aiming to attract students.
The neighbourhood: Knighton is a residential suburb of Leicester, a large city with a shoe and hosiery manufacturing past, that is now best known for its large population of ethnic minorities and business that cater to them. It is said that more than 70 languages or dialects are spoken within the city. Leicester is also home to the University of Leicester and De Montfort University.
The cast: The opening part of the service was led by a worship leader called John. The preacher was Michael Ots, a former member of the church, who now heads up the Michael Ots Evangelism Trust.
The date & time: 23 October 2011, 6.30pm.

What was the name of the service?
Evening Service.

How full was the building?
It was pretty full without being uncomfortably so – I reckoned there were about 100 worshippers.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
As we climbed the small flight of steps to the church porch, a gentleman with a name badge that announced he was called Howard opened the door for us, shook my hand, and said "Hello." There were several other welcomers in the porch who also greeted us.

Was your pew comfortable?
It was an upholstered chair, and it was very comfortable.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Unfortunately I was a few minutes late (I blame the fellow saints I was accompanying!) and when we arrived the worship leader was already speaking.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
Sadly I just missed these.

What books did the congregation use during the service?
There were no books. The songs were up on a screen.

What musical instruments were played?
Keyboards, electric guitars, violin and drums.

Did anything distract you?
I was rather distracted by some rather dishy members of the worship group, plus I couldn't help but notice the young lad across the aisle from me who first of all was drinking from a polystyrene cup and then proceeded to scrunch the rim down all the way round.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
The worship was very lively and full-blooded, but not unduly demonstrative. There was no liturgy – the service consisted of a few worship songs followed by a testimony and prayers, and then the sermon.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
20 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
6 – I found the fact that the preacher was wearing a hoodie very distracting initially – it didn't seem right, somehow. For someone who had his own evangelism trust, he seemed pleasant but uninspired.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
How can we claim as Christians that Jesus is the answer? Some say that all religions lead to God and we need to be tolerant and not be exclusive. But Jesus has unique authority: he is God, and he is unique in what he offers.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The worship was great. The band were very well rehearsed and competent.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
A young woman led prayers that seemed to go on and on, and the silence from the congregation (no small children at that hour) became so oppressive that I had a strange urge to shout to lessen it.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
There was no chance of that, as one of the members of my party recognised someone he knew. Some friends of his came up to chat, and I was introduced to them.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Others in my party did not want to avail themselves of this nicety, though I did observe it was served in polystyrene cups.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 – I would have liked to have heard the church's pastor speaking so that I could make a proper assessment, as my rating is influenced a lot by the preaching.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Somewhat.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The classic 60s architecture.
 
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