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427: St Saviour's, Hampstead, London
Other reports | Comment on this report
St Saviour's, Hampstead, London
Mystery Worshipper: Marcellus.
The church: St Saviour's, Eton Road, Hampstead, London.
Denomination: Church of England.
The building: A cruciform church with a tall spire, constructed in ragstone, designed by E.M. Barry and built in 1855-56. Some fittings by Thomas Earp – reredos and pulpit.
The church: Down the bottom end of Haverstock Hill away from the popular part of Hampstead. Residential and bedsit land.
The neighbourhood: Bordering on Camden Town.
The cast: Rev. Andrew Pavlibeyi.
Comment: We have received a comment on this report.
What was the name of the service?
Sung eucharist.

How full was the building?
Sadly, hardly anyone was there. There were 20 adults and four children. The congregation was scattered from the front to the back of this moderately sized church.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
The vicar greeted me with a cheerful smile but was obviously surprised to see a stranger at the service. He asked where I came from.

Was your pew comfortable?
Wooden bench pews are seldom "comfortable". However the kneelers were fine.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quiet, because there was hardly anyone there to make any noise.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Our response is 'We thank you O God and praise your Holy Name'."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
The English Hymnal. The service was from "Common Worship".

What musical instruments were played?
The organ.

Did anything distract you?
The organ had a very sticky note which, in the responses and some of the hymns, got stuck and continued to make an unwelcome noise until the organist was able to release it.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
The eucharist was celebrated at the east end altar – there being no nave altar here. The priest wore a chasuble but initially did not have a server. I would class the service as slightly on the "low" side, with very little ritual.

St Saviour, Hampstead, London

Exactly how long was the sermon?
12 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7 – A very open and easy-to-understand style.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
He started with a question, "Do you ever feel you would like to be someone else?" He then developed the theme of our feeling of inadequacy and that those who may have little to offer are helped by the Holy Spirit to give what little they have. He pointed out that however small our gifts they can effect a change. This was tied to the Gospel reading and the fact that it was a Harvest Festival service; that the young boy in the Gospel offered Jesus five small loaves of bread and two fish, and this was spread among so many. In conclusion, we should not worry about what we can't do but do the things we can do.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
There is a very fine monument of an angel which I found most pleasing.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
The sticky organ note. Also I was not happy that the server who joined the vicar at the altar after the sermon wore an alb but without an amise, so one could see his shirt, etc. Most unbecoming, I'm afraid.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I had asked the vicar if I could take some photographs in the church and after I'd done this I went for coffee and various ladies spoke to me and enquired where I came from. There was a most friendly atmosphere.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
The instant coffee was in cups with optional biscuits.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
3 – Not "high" enough for me.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, it was a friendly atmosphere.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The monument with the angel.

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