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2618: St George-in-the-East, London
St George-in-the-East, London (Exterior) Photo: John Salmon and used under license
Mystery Worshipper: Aileen.
The church: St George-in-the-East, London.
Denomination: Church of England, Diocese of London.
The building: A beautiful church, built between 1714 and 1729, one of six London churches designed by the idiosyncratic architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. "A strong and magnificent pile," said the Grub Street Journal of 1734. The interior was completely destroyed during the blitz of World War II, and a new modern interior was built in 1964. The walls are yellow and there are lovely lights and an excellent mosaic of Jesus on the cross at the front, and very pretty windows above. There is an enclosed garden that has been landscaped as a play area for the children.
The church: They attract many visitors and give guided tours. Morning and evening prayer are said on weekdays, and they have a midweek eucharist in the side chapel. There are also many concerts that take place here.
The neighbourhood: They are located in London's East End, with many other churches nearby as well as shops and tube stations. The church and churchyard form the major part of St George-in-the-East Conservation Area. Nearby are St George's Pools, a popular gymnasium with facilities for swimming.
The cast: The Revd Canon Michael Ainsworth, rector, and the Revd Janina Ainsworth.
The date & time: Saturday, 2 November 2013, 12.30.pm

What was the name of the service?
Holy Communion; the Wedding of Michael Page and Linda Moule.

How full was the building?
There were 60 people, but still plenty of space.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was hugged, kissed by another, and welcomed.

Was your pew comfortable?
The pew was very comfortable, mainly light brown wood, and had green soft cushions to kneel on.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
People chatted and there was also some music going on before the service started. Others were sorting out the food for us for lunch when the service finished.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Welcome you all, and God bless the pair getting married today! Jesus Christ, God's Son, loves us all."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
We were given papers with all the hymns and the prayers.

What musical instruments were played?
Organ, a 1964 opus of Mander Organs, St Peter's Square, London (the original organ did not survive the blitz). Also a piano. The church has two very fine pianos, a restored Blüthner and a Broadwood, but I'm not sure which one was played at today's service.

Did anything distract you?
I remembered my wedding and my children's weddings, when there was no communion then! I then wished we had communion then!

St George-in-the-East, London (Interior)

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Everyone sang well, standing and concentrating, not holding up their hands. There were flowers at the front of the church. The wedding party consisted only of bride and groom, no bridesmaids or ushers. The bride wore red with darker accessories, and the groom wore a dark suit. They both looked very smart. They were married immediately after the sermon, and the congregation applauded their exchange of vows. They knelt to receive communion and we then moved round them.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
10 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 – The Revd Janina Ainsworth preached well and we could hear her as she spoke.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Today we celebrates a wedding, a time of love, inclusiveness and trust. We pray that God will bless this marriage.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
There was wonderful music and singing and lots of reminders that God loves us.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The fact that this church was hit during the war. Nowadays there is lots of awful fighting throughout the world. I felt awful about that, and scared.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
We were told where lunch had been laid out, and also how to find the toilet! I was also invited to go the garden.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
We had really excellent food. No tea or coffee, but there was apple juice as well as some stronger stuff! There was plenty of food of all sorts to eat. I enjoyed it and felt happy tasting it!

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
9 – I would really like belonging to that church, but I am not near it. It seems to be a wonderful church.

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

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
I will remember how beautiful the ceremony was and how God loves us.
 
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