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2714: Blairgowrie Parish Church, Blairgowrie, Scotland
Blairgowrie Parish Church (Exterior)
Mystery Worshipper: Maggie.
The church: Blairgowrie Parish Church, Blairgowrie, Scotland.
Denomination: Church of Scotland.
The building: A red sandstone building, completed in 1904, in the Early English Gothic style. There is a tower with clock, plus transepts, aisles and apse. There is a small gallery in the back. It was previously called St Andrew's Church, but that congregation merged with St Mary's South Church in January 2002 to form the present congregation. The building was extensively renovated after the merger. There are also lovely windows, white with yellow and green at the very top.
The church: They have a Boys Brigade (formed in 1901, now the only Boys Brigade company in the Blairgowrie and Rattray district), a crafts group, a social club, prayer breakfasts, and many other activities and groups.
The neighbourhood: Blairgowrie and Rattray, in east Perthshire, are in the heart of Scotland's soft fruit growing region. Seasonal workers who come in at harvest time tend to want to settle in the area. It is also popular with retirees. Attached to the local school is a recreation centre and swimming pool complex that is open to the public. Down a bit from the road are shops and hotels. And up at the very top of Blairgowrie is a lovely place to walk around.
The cast: The Revd Harry Mowbray, minister.
The date & time: Sunday, 6 July 2014, 11.00am.

What was the name of the service?
Sunday Service, with Prayer and Worship.

How full was the building?
It seats around 600. There were about 150 people there, with still plenty of places to sit and worship.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
I was welcomed nicely by the person at the door and also by the person I ended up sitting beside.

Was your pew comfortable?
It was a really nice comfortable pew.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quite a bit of chatting to friends and marking the hymns. Most people arrived on time; I saw few if any who were late.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"God is good and kind and generous."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
Good News Bible and Church Hymnary, Melody Edition.

What musical instruments were played?
An organ, played by a gentleman at the front. A mixed choir of men and women sang very well.

Did anything distract you?
A lovely flower display at the front was a pleasant distraction.

Blairgowrie Parish Church (Flowers)

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
We all sang well with the ones in charge singing. We stood as we sang but did not wave our hands.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
25 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8 – The minister preached well and we could hear him from where he preached.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
He said that he had been honoured to attend the Queen's Garden Party in Edinburgh and had so enjoyed seeing the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. It was such a warm, sunny day. The Queen and the Duke call to mind Abraham and Sarah and the sanctity of human love. People can love if they put their minds to it. As always, God is there to guide his people. God is behind all that happens. Children and grandchildren are a blessing from God, who gave his only son, Jesus, as his greatest blessing. Be good to children. Follow Jesus. Obey God. His voice will guide us.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Wonderful music, good hymns.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Images of the suffering Jesus, of which there were several, always bring to mind my own unworthiness.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
People again chatted to me after the service and welcomed me and told me where to go to get tea and coffee.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
There was very nice tea and coffee with sugar and nice little things to eat. And it was in a very nice place with people being kind and nice.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
9 – If I lived in Blairgowrie I would love to belong to this church. It seemed excellent and beautiful.

Blairgowrie Parish Church (Interior)

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
I did feel glad to be a Christian.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
What a lovely church this is, with lovely people.
 
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