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918: Findlay Memorial, St George's Cross, Glasgow, Scotland
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Findlay Memorial Church, St George's Cross, Glasgow, Scotland
Mystery Worshipper: Son of a Preacher Man.
The church: Findlay Memorial, 56 Clarendon Place, St George's Cross, Glasgow.
Denomination: Independent evangelical church, affiliated with the Evangelical Alliance.
The building: From the street, the entrance looks like another shop doorway, but it leads to a large, galleried worship area.
The church: The church was founded by David Jack Findlay, who became a Christian in 1874 under the preaching of the American evangelist, DL Moody. Findlay started a kitchen meeting in a small tenement flat just north of the existing church, and very quickly became a popular preacher. In 1894, after several years of large tent missions in the St George's Cross area, the church was built, and was first known as the 'Tabernacle'. The church runs Alpha courses, a mothers and toddlers group, coffee mornings, youth clubs and women's meetings.
The neighbourhood: The church is on the north side of the River Clyde and just north of Glasgow city centre, close to the famous Sauchiehall Street and Great Western Road.
The cast: The worship leader did not give his name. The preacher was Steve Watson, who works for the Christian charity SIMS.
What was the name of the service?
Morning Service (11.00am).

How full was the building?
The ground floor was almost full. There were about 200 people in the congregation.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes, two people on the door offered a handshake and a "good morning". I was given a copy of "Findlay News", their monthly newsletter.

Was your pew comfortable?
Not at all. Wooden pews without any cushions, although there were some modern chairs in some aisles. They were the kind of seats that made a strange sound whenever you moved.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Busy, but not noisy.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Where your treasure is, your heart is also."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
The words to the songs were projected onto a screen.

What musical instruments were played?
Grand piano, cello, violin, drums and acoustic guitar.

Did anything distract you?
Strange as it might sound, the ceiling was a distraction. It was octagonal in shape and painted white. Also, a lady arrived late and asked me to move along so that she could sit down, which knocked me out of my stride.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
The music was very modern, but there wasn't any dancing or hands in the air. The service was fairly stiff-lipped, in a modern kind of way.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
35 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 – He used the video projector to good effect, with lots of visuals.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
It was based on Matthew 6:24 – "No one can serve two masters... you cannot serve both God and money." The preacher spoke about earthly treasure vs. the heavenly variety. The message was basically not to be a slave to money and to use it wisely.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The building was special. I've already mentioned the ceiling, but is was good to see an old building that had not been ruined by removing features, or by installing electrical equipment everywhere.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The preacher gave a talk to the children before they went to Sunday school. He had brought some of his son's toys with him to illustrate the points he would later build upon in the sermon. He described how he had taken his son's favourite toy off him that morning to illustrate his message, which I did not think was a good example to set.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I didn't have the chance to look lost as the chap next to me started a conversation with, "I don't think that we've met before." This led onto a discussion of why I was in Glasgow. It was time to leave by the time he went off to mingle with the remaining attendees.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Non existent.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8 – Enjoyable service and a genuine welcome, but the worship was a bit too restrained.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, but I didn't feel able to fully express myself during the service. I felt led to raise an arm during a couple of the worship songs, but did not feel comfortable enough to do so.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The toyless child.
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