Sunday 5 March 2006
It's been a full week, with two days in Sheffield for a training course and then the weekend in Aberdeen. More about all that another day though, because I got back to Glasgow in time for my flatmate and I to try out another church, St Silas Episcopal.
St Silas is well known as a lively, studenty, cheerful sort of place (at least in the evening) and it was recommended to me by a number of people. Its rector (episcopalese for "minister") is a good friend of Gareth Saunders and writes a compelling blog himself. So I was expecting good things.
And to be honest, that's what we found. A reasonable welcome at the door led us into a bright, laid back and impressively grand interior, with plenty space around the seated area and a stage with a band and huge projector screen. We sidled in towards the back and sat ourselves down on the very comfy seats.
The church soon filled up with a steady stream of latecomers which added to the relaxed atmosphere - though nobody nearby spoke to us. The service started with a few lively songs, and the band was good but the musicians and indeed the singing was drowned out by the over-enthusiastic drummer.
Then after a short prayer we were straight into the sermon. Delivered by an "ordinary" member of the church, it was good - around 50 minutes and based on James chapter 5. It was well-presented and delivered, peppered with a few laughs, and most importantly of both practical and spiritual benefit.
After the service - which ended rather abruptly - my flatmate and I sat around waiting for people to speak to us, and we gave the welcome a second chance to prove itself when we went to the counter at the side to get a cup of tea. Lots of people were milling around and talking to each other, but nobody approached us to say hello or welcome... not even my flatmate when I left him on his own for a couple of minutes to nip to the toilet.
It was a bit of a shame and a contrast to last week's warm welcome at Sandy H. The church had a lot going for it - decent worship, a young and cheerful crowd, powerful and useful teaching, and a lot going on judging by the announcements and intimation sheet. They just let themselves down a bit by not recognising two people who were blatantly new and looking a bit lost (a look I confess to overdoing just a little to see if it encouraged people to talk to us... it didn't). Jesus is a forgiving sort of chap though, so St Silas bounces into round two.
Lots to learn from Simon's experience last Sunday. As it happens, I'm speaking to the Welcome Teams today. I wonder what I might say? (GadgetVicar)