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Church of the Costa del Sol West, San Pedro, Marbella, Spain
Worshipper: Chris Teean.
Church of the Costa del Sol West, San Pedro, Marbella, Spain.
of England, Diocese
Services take place in a rather modern looking purpose built
hall belonging to and adjoining the Parroquial del Virgen del
Rocio, a Roman Catholic church. I wondered why the service was
not being held in the church itself, as has often been the case
in my experience. Next to the church and hall is a shady square
lined with palm trees. The hall was arranged with stacking chairs
for a church service. The simple altar consisted of a communion
table with a lacy covering, on which a brass cross and two candlesticks
had been placed. A modern metal crucifix, mounted on the wall
behind the table, looked to be a permanent fixture.
It belongs to a chaplaincy of two congregations, the other being
at Sotogrande, further along the coast near to Gibraltar. They
hold holy communion at both locations every Sunday, and the
Methodist church from Gibraltar conducts some services at Sotogrande.
A group of people from San Pedro also provides a monthly service
at a residential home in nearby Puerto Banus. At San Pedro there
is a study group, a home group, and a men's prayer meeting group
that meet regularly. Weekly coffee mornings are also held to
raise money for local charities.
The Costa del Sol is a well-established tourist area in southern
Spain and is a region frequented by the rich and famous. San
Pedro is a small modern town lying between the better known
resorts of Marbella and Estepona on the Mediterranean coast,
with their upmarket marinas crammed full of expensive yachts.
The area is full of golf courses and luxurious properties.
The celebrant was the Revd Canon Alan Maude, chaplain, assisted
by lay reader Barry Mason. The guest speaker was Don Latham,
a respected evangelist who has written many challenging books.
He is involved with Christian
Vision for Men, and is the founder and leader of Menunited,
that started as a "cringe-free" breakfast event in Bath.
The date & time:
Sunday, 13 May 2012, 10.00am.
have received a comment
on this report.
What was the name of the
How full was the building?
The hall was quite full with at least 100 in the congregation, which consisted of casual but smartly dressed ladies and gentlemen of all ages, although the majority would be described as seniors. There were a few babies and toddlers, and I gather some other children were not in church but were at the "San Pedro Sunday Club".
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Canon Alan and quite a few members of the congregation, both outside and inside the hall, made me most welcome. A friendly lady handed me all the books I needed for the service.
Was your pew comfortable?
Not really. It was rather like sitting in a school assembly than in a church, but that really didn't matter.
How would you describe the pre-service
Most people spent their time greeting one another.
What were the exact opening words of the
After some notices and the singing of a hymn, the service started
with the lay reader saying: "In the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
What books did the congregation use during the
The Anglican Church Costa del Sol West Order of Service
for Holy Communion, Complete Mission Praise and
The Holy Bible, New International Version.
What musical instruments were played?
A lady played a keyboard and a gentleman strummed a guitar.
I didn't think I would like guitar playing, but I have to say
it seemed suitable for the occasion. They played well together.
Did anything distract you?
I was mesmerised by an abstract painting at the front of the
hall. It depicted a series of crosses where each was contained
within a larger one, which itself was contained within a larger
one, rather like Russian dolls. I wondered if it had any relevance
to this particular service or the sermon given by the guest
speaker. I was also fascinated by the lacy communion table covering
when I suddenly realised that amongst the cherubs and angels,
it depicted biblical scenes. From where I was sitting I could
make out God's creation of Adam in a copy of Michelangelo’s
famous fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
Very relaxed and informal, with the minimum of ceremony. It
was basically the Common Worship Order One service in modern
language, with an extra dollop of hymn singing. Canon Alan was
simply vested in a white cassock and a cream stole and his lay
reader wore a blue stole over his white cassock. Canon Alan
obviously enjoyed singing hymns because, at his request, we
sang one twice over! Some hymns were what you might call "happy
clappy" and some were traditional, so there was something for
everyone in this gathering of people who obviously came from
a variety of backgrounds and traditions. The congregation sang
lustily and there was an engaging atmosphere, that reflected
their desire to congregate together and worship the Lord. The
exchange of the peace must have been one of the longest exchanges
I have witnessed I think some people had greeted every
person in the hall!
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 The charismatic Mr Latham had a droll sense of humour
and made several jokes throughout his talk. He had already written
out his address and I was impressed to see he had written it
on an iPad!
In a nutshell, what was the sermon
He had once visited an elderly lady who was doing very poorly.
However, when she came to believe in Jesus, she was miraculously
cured. We should believe in the life-changing power of Jesus.
In the gift of baptism, God gives us eternal life, which is
the life in his Son. If we believe in Jesus, who asks us to
love one another as he has loved us, we will have eternal life
in the kingdom of God.
Which part of the service was like being in
The enthusiastic joyful singing of the entire congregation was delightful. It is always so wonderful to witness how Anglicans who live or spend a lot of time in foreign lands manage to form their own church. The joy these people showed in their worship of God was most moving and uplifting.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
I began praying for a better pair of ears because there were a few times when I had difficulty making out what the guest speaker said. It was probably the acoustics of the hall, but I think I missed a few of his jokes.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
There was no chance of looking lost! People were eager to chat and I enjoyed talking to Canon Alan.
How would you describe the after-service
The congregation normally retires to the Ruta de la Plata cafe,
just around the corner. I was invited to join them there, where
I enjoyed a convivial chat and a glass of ice-cold water.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
9 If I were lucky enough to live here I would undoubtedly want to worship with this friendly group of people, and would want to take an active part in all their activities.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
The minute I walked through the door I knew I was in God's house. I left it feeling elated.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
It must be the warm welcome I received from Canon Alan and many
of the congregation. I hope many other visitors to the area
manage to find this oasis of joyfulness.
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