Mystery Worshipper: Diapason
Church: St Peter & St Paul
Location: Uppingham, Rutland, England
Date of visit: Sunday, 29 November 2009, 10:30am
The church dates from the 14th century although it has been much altered over the centuries. Four pieces of late Saxon sculpture are all that now remain from the earliest church to occupy the site. In the churchyard are several interesting graves and memorials, including a coffin lid propped against the outside wall of the south aisle, bearing carved stonemasons' emblems. The interior features several beautiful stained glass windows.
There are four churches in the Uppingham benefice. They offer a wide range of worship and a thriving range of activities, including a Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. According to their website, they aim to welcome all visitors as well as residents of the town and nearby villages.
Uppingham is a market town in the smallest county in England. The church is situated in the heart of the community, off Market Square near to the well-known Uppingham School.
The celebrant was identified only as Father Peter, but I believe he was the Revd Peter Morrell, assistant curate. The Revd Canon Stephen Evans, rector, served as deacon.
What was the name of the service?Parish Communion
How full was the building?
Full – wonderful! With lots of young people.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes. A lady at the door welcomed me as she gave me the books needed.
Was your pew comfortable?
Yes. Oak pews, with comfortable addition of red carpet on the seat.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Noisy chatter, but there were so many children!
What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Welcome to worship."
What books did the congregation use during the service?
New English Hymnal; Sts Peter & Paul, Uppingham Parish Communion Booklet; notice sheet with readings.
What musical instruments were played?
A fine pipe organ.
Did anything distract you?
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Middle-of-the road. There were bells at the consecration.
Exactly how long was the sermon?
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7 – Father Stephen's sermon was very interesting and he held the attention of most of the congregation.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
He linked the recent Cumbrian floods to Advent in a very clever way.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The mass setting was by Noel Rawsthorne, former organist at Liverpool Cathedral and composer of many choral works, and was lovely to hear.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Yelling by some enthusiastic children during the consecration.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
People stayed for coffee, so I followed the flow.
How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Very good coffee served in white china cups. Their website includes a link to Trading Fairly, so I assume the coffee was fair trade.
How would you feel about making another visit (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8 – It was good to see a full, living, and vibrant church, complete with Sunday school.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time ?
The full church.