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2822: St Gobhan (Seagoe Parish Church), Portadown, Northern Ireland

Read this report | Other comments

1 March 2015

Reading this report, and having been at the church that Sunday, I have to conclude that the church described is not the church I know. In fact, I find parts of the report extremely picky and, frankly, quite petty.

In my experience the church is very welcoming, with a friendly and chatty clergy and laity. I think the Mystery Worshipper failed to take into consideration that people talking and enjoying each others' company is part of the fellowship we all endeavour to encourage.

I also find comments such as that regarding "Danny Boy" irrelevant to the church and more pertaining to the personal taste of the worshipper. After all, not everyone can be pleased!

The complaint about the slow exit from the church does not take into account the considerable amount of elderly and frail parishioners leaving, and the others who may wish to speak to their clergy on the way out.

In regard to the rector's blushes, I find this comment rather crude. It was a light-hearted moment in the service that was well received by the church and allowed for participation with children. Surely moments like this can lighten up church services.

In whole, I think on a fair balance, readers will find this report to be rather unfair. However, that being said, there can be moments of awkwardness in all worship services and gatherings, and people failing to be as social as would be liked.


Servertus replies:

I certainly did take note of the abundance of warm and friendly conversation that was being indulged in by all.

However, as a first-time visitor and an outsider, I was left hanging in the midst of it all. Several people looked directly at me - then turned and walked away.

Based on my experience, what other conclusion could I come to?

Sometimes you only get one chance to welcome new people. You fail to consider that when someone visits a church for the first time, they are likely to feel a bit apprehensive and will be easily put off!

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