|205: St Michael and All Angels, Headingley, Leeds, England|
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Mystery Worshipper: Esmerelda.
The church: St Michael and All Angels, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: Large Victorian church with a tall striking soot-blackened spire which can be seen towering over the skyline. It is much less forbidding looking inside than out.
The neighbourhood: Being situated near the two universities in Leeds, the church is in student bedsit land. And of course it has to compete with the sacred turf of the Yorkshire County Cricket Ground.
The cast: Rev. Daphne Green, Celebrant; Rev. Dr David Peat, Preacher.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
Approximately three-quarters full.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes, the verger and a sides-person greeted me very warmly.
Was your pew comfortable?
Wooden chairs instead of pews, and I wasn't aware of them so it must have been OK. There was also room to kneel, which was helpful.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Fairly quiet, but I arrived just before the service started, so it's hard to say.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Good morning and welcome to our service of Holy Communion."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
A version of Holy Communion Rite A adapted to use inclusive language, and Hymns Ancient and More Ancient (er... I mean Modern... sorry).
What musical instruments were played?
Did anything distract you?
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Anglo-Catholic, although without smells and bells. The celebrant and preacher were vested as deacon and priest. There was also a sub-deacon.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
The Church as a eucharistic community on earth, which should be concerned with everyday things and particularly with issues of justice, which affect the lives of people. He used as examples the Jubilee 2000 campaign and in particular the incorporation of the European Law on Human Rights into English Law, so that British people will no longer need to go to the European Court for justice on issues in which their human rights are infringed. These, he said, are the kind of things that Christians should be concerned about.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The relaxed atmosphere.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The intercessions led by a member of the congregation were a bit like another quite moralistic sermon.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I was invited to the parish hall for coffee.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Choice of tea, coffee (30p) or juice (10p). Free biscuits excellent assortment including chocolate chip cookies (that was a bit like heaven as well).
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, it was relaxed and reverent without being pretentious.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Hearing a sermon about social justice, a cause close to my heart, for the first time in a long time.