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181: Narwee Baptist, Sydney, Australia
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Narwee Baptist Church, Sydney, Australia
Mystery Worshipper: Sydney snoop.
The church: Narwee Baptist, Sydney, Australia.
Denomination: Baptist.
The building: Auditorium-style chapel built after the original building was destroyed by fire in 1992.
The neighbourhood: Typical suburban, low-density residential area, with no high-rise in the immediate vicinity.
The cast: Senior Minister Rev Angelo Gratsounas was on holiday. The preacher today was Rev Grae McWhirter, Associate Pastor.
What was the name of the service?
Morning service.

How full was the building?
80-90 per cent full.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
A smile from the usher handing me a news sheet – he also showed me to a seat.

Was your pew comfortable?
It was a modern style padded pew, which was reasonably comfortable.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
I was late! But I imagine it would have been people gossiping.

What books did the congregation use during the service?
There were limited numbers of Bibles in the pews and I didn't get one. The hymn book was The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration, music version.

What musical instruments were played?
Organ and piano.

Did anything distract you?
Not really.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Relaxed, informal style, with lots of spontaneous comments by those up front. People were informally dressed, although the music and format of the service were fairly traditional.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
26 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
8. A good presentation, but he should have finished after 21 minutes, when he had reached a good, practical conclusion.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
How to live for God this year, based on Titus 3:1-11.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
The obvious sense of fellowship and genuineness of the congregation.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Sermon outlines were handed out during the service by stewards. I was not given one. Was this an oversight, or because I was a visitor? One was passed in front of me to the man further down the pew.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
After a few moments of awkwardness standing alone, I was approached by a lady who introduced me to others and to the minister. One of them invited me to the adjoining hall for coffee.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
I had tea – coffee and tea were available. Both were served in a friendly manner in china mugs. The tea was hot.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
8. Personally, I would find the morning service too traditional, but I understand the evening service is more contemporary.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes – the genuineness of people's faith was evident.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
I would be very happy to recommend this church to anyone in the area and would be confident of a sincere welcome for them.
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