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Trinity, Blacon, Cheshire, England
Holy Trinity, Blacon, Cheshire, England.
of England, Diocese
A red brick building dating from 1960, in what might be called
the telephone exchange school of architecture. One sees few
adornments save a short tower at the north-east end with calling
bell. However, stepping inside gives the visitor a sense of
brightness, peace and spaciousness, with uninterrupted views
to the high altar and sanctuary. North and south aisles have
brick arcades, above which are clerestory windows. A large wooden
carving of the crucifixion dominates the sanctuary. Throughout
the building is a mixture of modern stained glass the
colours are lovely and some from the former parish church.
There are plenty of modern carved accoutrements: Christ the
King over the door into the nave; St Patrick on the lectern;
St Chad on the pulpit. There is a memorial of the Royal British
Legion in the north aisle, and a book of remembrance for departed
The benefice includes the Chapel of the Holy Family as well
as Holy Trinity, Blacon. The parish peaked at over 20,000 in
the 1970s but is a little smaller now. The church does not appear
to play a very important part in the life of the estate, but
I could be wrong. There is a said eucharist each Sunday as well
as a parish eucharist that is booked as being family friendly.
Sunday school is also available.
Blacon, a suburb of Chester on the Welsh border, was developed
on what was once farmland and open countryside. There are substantial
council-built properties here at one time Blacon contained
one of the largest council estates in all of Europe. The church
lies in the middle of a large council estate, with an arcade
of shops close by: supermarket, post office, pharmacy, pet shop,
beauty salon, butchers, cafť, etc.
Names of the cast members were not given out, neither did they
identify themselves. However, on the parish news sheet, the
Revd Marian Needham and the Revd Brian Harris were listed. The
parish are expecting a new rector early in January.
The date & time:
Fourth Sunday of Advent, 18 December 2011, 10.00am.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
Not very full, mainly retired ladies and a few gents, with one
or two children. Approximately 60, including altar party, organist,
and a choir of nine who sat at the west end next to the organ.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
A nice hello was given along with the books for the service.
At the peace, a lady in front invited me for coffee following
Was your pew comfortable?
The pew was fine: light oak with drop-down kneeler and ledges
How would you describe the pre-service
Having been summoned by one bell, on entering the church I was
met with pre-recorded music and the light conversation of catching
up on the weekís gossip. Christmas cards were being distributed
by all to all from all. I made myself comfortable and sat back
to enjoy the pre-service ambiance; I was not disappointed. There
was some laughter from the back and quite a bit of wandering
around. The altar was already set up for communion and the candles
were lighted. One of the two sanctuary lamps swung gently to
and fro. Then the organ commenced with a selection of Advent
music, including one of my favourites: "I Stand at the
Threshold", Sinfonia to Cantata 156 by JS Bach.
What were the exact opening words of the
"Good morning, everyone, and a very warm welcome."
What books did the congregation use during the
The parish notice sheet and eucharist booklet, plus Hymns
Old and New, New Anglican Edition.
What musical instruments
A three-manual pipe organ (c.1910 by Charles Whiteley &
Co. Organ Builders Ltd of Chester) with electric action restored
and refurbished in 1989 by George Sixsmith & Son Ltd of Mossley,
Did anything distract
There was a very large person in the congregation: early 40s,
shaven head, specs, tattoos, shirt and tie, dark trousers, shiny
lace-ups, ear-ring. Very rotund with an enormous bottom. I was
not sure if it was a woman or a man I didnít dare look.
My hunch was that she was a woman dressed as a man.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
High of middle Anglican. No smoke, but the church bell was tolled
at the elevation. I would say that the tendency here is for
eucharistic-based worship. A retired gentleman chorister received
his badge of office, viz. his RSCM medal, to a round of applause
at the beginning of the service. The unnamed male celebrant
spoke with a West Country accent Ė "Míluvvers."
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how
good was the preacher?
6 The preacher used notes at the lectern and spoke in
clear, modulating, pleasant tones. It was neither harsh nor
grating very BBC!
In a nutshell, what was
the sermon about?
The Annunciation: the Angelís good news to Mary, and how she
found favour with God. God chooses and we have a choice also.
To say anything other than yes is to reject Godís call. We must
not miss the opportunity to announce our faith the good
news of Godís coming to us in Jesus.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The cold hands but warm hearts at the giving of the peace.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
As occasionally happens at the solemn moments of the mass, right
on cue, the microphone distorted the celebrantís words, intermittently
breaking up for a couple of moments. I thought the prayers went
on a bit too long. I became rather bored and began to think
of my din-dins.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I was spoken to, first by a gent who had parked his motability
scooter in the north aisle, and next by a couple of ladies from
the sanctuary party who mentioned the coffee and where it was
being served, and how to get to the hall. A man gave me a leaflet
with details of the church.
How would you describe the after-service
Fair trade tea and coffee in cups and saucers, with custard
cream biscuits and my favourite Jaffa cakes.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8 Yes. I would attend Holy Trinity, Blacon, willingly.
This is a church where the regulars clearly know exactly who
is going to be there week by week, yet they didn't hesitate
to extend a friendly welcome to a newcomer. "Look forward
to seeing you again," said someone as I left.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The congregationís friendly welcome.
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