Ship of Fools
  Bulletin Boards
  Mystery Worshipper
  Caption Competition
  Gadgets for God
  The Fruitcake Zone
  Signs & Blunders
  Born Twice
  About Ship of Fools
  Support us!
  Contact us!
455: Christ the King, Bloomsbury, London
Other reports | Comment on this report
Christ the King, Bloomsbury, London
Mystery Worshipper: Marcellus.
The church: Christ the King, Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: Gothic Revival church designed by Raphael Brandon in 1853 for the Catholic Apostolic Church. Then used by the University of London and now by the Forward in Faith movement of the Church of England.
The church: Does not serve a local community as now used by the Forward in Faith movement of Church of England.
The neighbourhood: University buildings are in the immediate locality.
The cast: Principal celebrant: the Bishop of Fulham. Preacher: the Bishop of Ebbsfleet. Pontifical benediction: the Bishop of Wangaratta.
What was the name of the service?
Mass for Christ the King 2001.

How full was the building?
One-fifth full. About 150 congregation and about 30 concelebrating priests.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
No. I was just handed a service leaflet.

Was your pew comfortable?
Bench pews. I sat in the back row and mine was the only row with cushioned seats – so I was quite comfortable. The kneeler was well padded, with plenty of leg room.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quiet, except for the choir in practice.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"In the name of the Father," etc.

What books did the congregation use during the service?
Hymn sheet only, with a few additional service notes.

What musical instruments were played?
The organ, which was superbly played by Fr. Mark Elliot Smith. And the choir, who had superb voices.

Did anything distract you?
Benediction did not come over the speaker system very well.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
High Anglo-Catholic, with incense and the procession of the blessed sacrament and benediction.

Christ the King, Bloomsbury, London

Exactly how long was the sermon?
About 12 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7 – Academic but designed for "believers".

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
It was based on "Jesus, remember me when you come to your Kingdom." The bishop divided Christians into three types: 1) Those who believe that we can worship God by simply loving our neighbour. 2) Those who believe that the word is everything. And 3), those who believe that the liturgy is where Christ is enthroned. However, he said that "true Christianity" is proclaimed when all three are held together.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The superb choir was a joy to hear. There was also a lady who came and sat next to me who had a beautiful and well trained voice.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
I have been to this service a number of times over the years and I do wish someone would clean and polish the thurible.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I'm afraid that looking lost here invites being ignored.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Wine was available, but by nearly 2pm I was getting a bit peckish and decided I must find some lunch.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
2 – Not an option, as this church does not cater for Sunday masses. There are weekday services for those in central London.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, the congregational singing was rousing and joyful. It was also good to be with a group of like-minded Christians.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The quality of the singing by the choir.

The Mystery Worshipper is sponsored by, the internet service provider from Christian Aid. By offering email services, special offers with companies such as and, surefish raises more than £300,000 a year for Christian Aid's work around the world.

Click here to find out how to become a Mystery Worshipper. And click here if you would like to reproduce this report in your church magazine or website.

Top | Other Reports | Become a Mystery Worshipper!

© Ship of Fools 2002
Surefish logo