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|2340: St Peter's,
Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England
Worshipper: Wes Charles.
Peter's, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England.
of England, Diocese
St Peter's was begun in 1454 and completed in 1468. A major
restoration was undertaken in 1870-73. It's a nice ornate building
from the outside. The nave, north and south aisles, and two-storey
porch all have embattled parapets, with pinnacles and a series
of grotesque heads. Inside has more ancient stonework and wooden
ceilings. Of particular note are some of the old artifacts dotted
around, including a 16th century alms box (vandalised, unfortunately,
although I don't know whether that was recently), a beautiful
15th century door from the church that was moved to a town building
during the dissolution of the monasteries, and a tapestry attributed
to Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife.
There's a lot going on, including a very large choir, scouts,
bell ringers, and a Sunday school. They also have special events,
such as Fairtrade Fortnight, pancakes at the Methodist church,
and a forthcoming children's service with blessing of animals
(bring your own!). The church is part of the Winchcombe Ecumenical
Partnership, and today's service was shared with the Methodist
Winchcombe is a pretty village with lots of little boutique shops.
It's an affluent area in a very beautiful part of the Cotswolds.
The Revd Julia Hook, curate; and the Revd Steve Ward, pastor
of Winchcombe Methodist Church.
The date & time:
Sunday, 19 February 2012, 10.30am.
What was the name of the
How full was the building?
Pretty full. The centre section was about 80 per cent full,
but the edges were emptier. Overall it felt like a good crowd,
and the sound during the hymns certainly was impressive.
Did anyone welcome you
Well, we were a couple of minutes late. However, we were given
a hymn book with a smile.
Was your pew comfortable?
It wasn't bad, and had a cushion on it, but it was the kind
of pew designed to keep you awake during the sermon!
How would you describe
the pre-service atmosphere?
Sorry, we were late so we can't say.
What were the exact opening
words of the service?
What books did the congregation
use during the service?
Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New, an order of service,
and a printed sheet with the words to "Breathe on me, breath
Of God" which wasn't that at all, as I found out
after belting out the wrong words for a line or two!
What musical instruments
A nice organ, played very well by their organist.
Did anything distract
As previously mentioned, we were a little late, yet somehow
we ended up sitting in the very front row in full gaze of the
clergy and choir. I found it quite distracting trying to write
notes in such an exposed situation. I felt the vicar found this
a little distracting too! Or perhaps I only imagined I was being
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
Somewhere in the middle. The mannerisms of the curate and minister
were very relaxed. The order of service was a little mixed up
compared to what I'm used to. Some of the locals doing the readings
were quite "proper." A real mixture. At communion
we were given a choice of proper wine or the alcohol-free version
(presumably for the Methodists). At the altar rail, there was
one person giving out bread, one with a chalice of wine, and
one with little individual glasses of alcohol-free.
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how
good was the preacher?
7 Pastor Ward from the Methodist church was quite a good
preacher with a nice conversational manner. My only negative
is that he jumped around a number of topics during his sermon,
so it seemed a little disjointed.
In a nutshell, what was
the sermon about?
First he spoke about the Transfiguration, then said we should
be nice to other people as we're all "immortals."
Then said we should try to see God in others. Finally he moved
on to persuading people to stay for the "short annual general
meeting followed by a long lunch" at the Methodist church
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
There were a few things as the service progressed. At first
I thought it would be the choir, who were wonderful. Then I
thought I'd say that it was using real bread rather than wafers.
But in the end it has to be that they chose one of my very favourite
hymns ("Shine Jesus Shine") and sang it brilliantly,
at the perfect tempo, with great up-beat organ playing and loads
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
I get quite wound up when churches change the words to hymns
and prayers we know so well in their traditional form, like
in those Kevin Mayhew books where they ruin "Onward Christian
Soldiers." In the Lord's Prayer we asked God to "save
us from the time of trial" instead of "lead us not
into temptation." And in the creed we proclaimed not that
Christ "was made man", but rather that he "was
made fully human." As far as I remember from the last time
I opened my Bible, Jesus was a man, so I don't know why they
felt they couldn't say so.
What happened when you
hung around after the service looking lost?
The congregation adjourned to the annual general meeting, so
we had a look at the artifacts around the walls and then made
our way out. We spoke briefly to a couple of people as we left,
and they were very friendly.
How would you describe
the after-service coffee?
There was no coffee due to the lunch.
How would you feel about
making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 I liked the friendly people, I liked the music, and
I liked the building. It just wasn't quite a high enough church
for my taste, and it annoys me when people mess with the words!
Did the service make you
feel glad to be a Christian?
What one thing will you
remember about all this in seven days' time?
Being given a choice at communion. The chalice was very
full and perhaps they were trying to persuade people to take
this as first choice to save the vicar from a hangover?
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