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Community Church, York, England
Worshipper: Organo Pleno.
Community Church, York, England.
They meet at Burnholme Community College, a secondary school
in the Tang Hall suburb of York. The service itself was held
in the school hall with the music group on the existing stage.
Established in 1993, YCC describes itself as a "real mixed bag
of believers, varying in age, social backgrounds and Christian
experience." The church supports a large number of different
projects, including running a food bank, being the location
of the local debt centre for Christians Against Poverty, and
supporting a number of missionaries abroad.
The amusingly (and apparently at times appropriately) named
Bad Bargain Lane, where the building is located, is on the outskirts
of Tang Hall, a suburb east of the city centre often referred
to as "the closest thing York has to a rough neighbourhood."
Despite its reputation, Tang Hall is still a popular area, particularly
with university students, due to the proximity to the campus.
Pastor Simon Rennie, who delivered the sermon and led the service,
apart from two songs that were led by a man named Stephen. The
names of the other three musicians were not given. The two greeters
had name badges, but I only got a glance at the badge labeled
The date & time:
Sunday, 18 August 2013, 10.30am.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
At a very rough guess, the building was two-thirds to three-quarters
full. There were around 60-70 people present.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
I initially mistook an open fire door at the back for the main
entrance, and only got a quick "Hello" from a man setting up
a banner. However, I was soon approached by Pastor Simon, who
greeted me like an old friend and pointed out my mistake. When
I went back to the real entrance, I was shaken warmly by the
hand by "Norman" and handed a news sheet.
Was your pew comfortable?
The seats were simple moulded plastic chairs, typical of a school hall. They were very comfortable despite having no cushions.
How would you describe the pre-service
Very casual and informal. I arrived ten minutes early and people
were still erecting banners and putting out chairs while the
music group sound-checked and tuned up. The congregation stood
around chatting to each other until the service itself started.
No music was playing.
What were the exact opening words of the
Simon: "Good morning, everyone. Welcome to York Community Church.
I encourage you to find a seat." He then went on to apologise
for technical problems with the mounted projector and poor quality
of the temporary replacement, encouraging people with difficulty
seeing the screen to move forward.
What books did the congregation use during the
Other than the news sheet, nothing was given. Rather, everything
that was needed was projected onto a screen at the front. Many
members of the congregation had brought their own Bibles to
What musical instruments were played?
Piano, guitar, bass guitar, drum kit.
Did anything distract you?
The usual array of noisy children found in most churches. In
particular, one sat directly behind me who was making noises
throughout the service. It got quieter after the children left
for separate activities. The other major distraction was my
struggle to hear the vocalist at the front over the rest of
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or
Contemporary, happy-clappy. Thankfully not an attempt to sound like something off a CD. It was very informal and very ably led by Simon, who put his heart and soul into it the whole way through.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
40 minutes, 45 including the prayer that followed.
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 According to a couple of people afterwards, the sermon
today was a lot longer than usual. However, it was still very
engaging throughout. Simon obviously knew most of the congregation
very well and often referred to individual people by name during
In a nutshell, what was the sermon
The sermon was part of a series on King David, this week focusing
on his affair with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11. David's actions
were as a result of his neglect of his duty and responsibility,
and his selfishness, leading to irrationality. Our past sins
are covered by the blood of Jesus, but the grace of God works
alongside that specifically to teach and guide us to live a
life according to God's will and the Bible.
Which part of the service was like being in
I got a lot out of the sung worship. The music group made no
attempt to emulate any particular styles or famous worship leaders.
Rather, they had their own distinctive style, which was very
refreshing to hear. The classic rock style of the opening song
was a good way of getting the worship underway.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Action songs! The bane of my life when I'm not safely behind
a piano with a solid excuse not to join in. We had two kids'
songs in this service, including "Jesus, you're my superhero"
("Yeah, yeah, yeah, better than Spiderman, better than
Batman," etc.), and a comment from Stephen at the front
that he "didn't want to see anyone not joining in the actions."
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I got a smile or a hello from everyone who caught my eye, but
only one or two people came up and started a conversation with
me. I was approached by a lovely older lady who asked my name
and where I was from. She apparently made a point of going round
to all the visitors to the church and saying hello.
How would you describe the after-service
A good hot strong cup of tea in a polystyrene cup. The cup was
deceptively large and held a decent amount of liquid. There
was also cold squash for people who didn't want hot drinks.
There was a large array of biscuits laid out on trays, including
(to my delight) chocolate malted milk biscuits.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8 The church had a very nice community feel to it where
everyone appeared to know everyone else, although to me it appeared
slightly insular at times. It was still a very good community
to be in and it was very clear that I would be welcome back.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
The sermon reminded me that I still have a way to go in my walk
with God, but the service made me glad I was walking with him.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Probably the quality of the "emergency projector." I do hope
and pray the usual one is repaired soon.
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