It could be every Vicar’s nightmare – the visiting worshipper who comes armed with a pen and notepad then reviews the service online afterwards.
Fr Peter Ford at Holy Trinity Las Palmas on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria discovered this recent review on the Christian website Ship of Fools. The mystery worshipper had attended a Friday service in a church which is kindly loaned by the Roman Catholics.
The report praised the church’s work in that “Everyone, including your Mystery Worshipper, was welcomed outside the church by the priest, who was clearly waiting there to greet his congregation. He acknowledged each individual or group as they arrived. Some were clearly well known to him but he was equally friendly to all.
“It was a traditional Anglican said communion service, well ordered but at neither extreme of Anglican worship. The version of Common Worship that they followed is frequently used in the Diocese of Europe. It was a formal order of service with the usual elements of a communion service, where the congregation said the Gloria, the creed, and sundry responses.
“The sermon was on the theme of the day's gospel, which was the opening verses of St Mark. This cuts to the heart of the story of the Christian good news. Mark does not spend time on the early years of Christ's life but goes directly to the main theme of his ministry, that "Jesus Christ is good news." Christians tend to forget the good news and worry about peripheral things like the state of their church's roof. They can lack joy. People go into church looking like miserable sinners and come out looking like miserable sinners. Their lives do not reflect Jesus' challenge to carry the good news. Even if we cannot forget about financial worries, we should at least leave the service with smiles on our faces as we take the gospel message with us.”
The two things the Mystery Worshipper will remember for some time are “The friendliness of the congregation and the sincerity of the sermon.”
Read the report in full on www.ship-of-fools.com/mystery/2011/2296.html