This year we found ourselves visiting a couple of churches in the Weston Super Mare area - the second church visited was a Service of the Word' in a smaller, pretty central, rural church. This is what we experienced.
It was rather nice to find ourselves lazying around and being beckoned by church bells to a service near to the camp site. We'd already checked the times and the fact that the services alternated between mornings on week and evenings the next meant that if we were to to, it would be the evening service.
So up we got and down the road we trotted. It was a lovely little rural church and we were greeted at the door with the relevant paperwork (hymn book, order of service and a copy of the Psalm) and then engaged with a bit more by another of the members of the congregation. The service was that strange evening service fusion which saw traditional and modern collide and being a bit of BCP (Book of Common Prayer) groupie I find I struggle with the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis ending with 'Holy Spirit' rather than 'Holy Ghost' as the latter is my default position.
But that said we had an organist (how I hate Wesley and all the other substitutes for an organ that are increasingly plaguing the church) and twenty-two souls made a creditable fist of the singing. It was gentle and apart from the odd glitches with the sound system (batteries might be included but not always changed) all was well.
The sermon was a gentle affair and resonated with the words of the morning service we'd attended (good to see God being consistent in the message when the reading differed). All in all it was exactly what it promised on the packet and provided a nice rounding off of the day.
A few liturgical moments for me as the Gospel was announced and people stood but in fact it was merely, in that context, a second reading (no acclamation and a 'Thanks be to God' at the end). Not a big issue and thankfully there was no Paschal candle lit to cause me pain (why do so many of the churches I visit persist in lighting the Paschal candle for every service - it's just lazy liturgy!!).
But as with the morning, we were welcomed, blessed and touched by God - so another big thumbs up. Seems that the Weston Super Mare area has some competent and Spirit-led churches. I recommend a visit just because it's nice to see the rural communities doing church - how I'd love for the same percentage of the local population to be found in the urban churches.
I wonder how many other clergy and regular church-goers visit local churches when away - be nice to hear more stories.