Sunday, April 11, 2010

A visitor's perspective

Here's some impressions of the All Saints community from a recent visitor - for regulars to read and also for those thinking of joining us.
I have been asked to describe All Saints from the perspective of someone new to the church, something which may be of interest to long term members and to anyone new to the area and considering this church.
My first impressions of All Saints (apart from the rather daunting look of the church from the outside) were positive. Although All Saints could be described as a broadly traditional or middle of the road Anglican Church, it isn’t stuffy or overly formal and Dave Mock (team vicar) is down to earth and approachable; his first words to me were, 'So what are you doing here then?', quickly amended to, 'It’s nice to see you here today!'
I am currently a bit between churches and am possibly looking for a new place of worship. I have visited a few churches in Macclesfield and the welcome has varied according to the church. I only went to one church where nobody spoke to me at all, even though I stayed for coffee (I’m not naming names!) and it did make me think that warmth and friendliness is not always the greatest strength of the Church of England. All Saints does score well in this respect because of the very welcoming sidespersons, a nice atmosphere during worship and the breakfast offered afterwards. The breakfast at All Saints is a definite plus, you won’t find a few rich teas on a plate but things like warm croissants, fruit bread, scones, jam, butter and fruit. It really is rather delicious.
So, warmth of welcome, food, what else...oh, yes, the preaching! I haven’t been to a church with a team ministry for nearly twenty years and thought I would prefer a church with just one vicar. It is good though to have a range of preaching. I’ve been to All Saints on four occasions and have heard Dave Mock and Rob Wardle preach. In my opinion the quality of preaching at All Saints is excellent - and I would say if I thought otherwise – all of the sermons have been interesting and accessible but also sufficiently challenging to give food for thought afterwards. I also broadly remember what all the sermons have been about so far, just don’t ask me in four months time!
One thing that can attract new people to a church is the type of events on offer apart from the Sunday service. All Saints has regular walks, and the service sheet today listed bingo, a fellowship meeting and an upcoming barn dance, BBQ and coach trip. One thing I’d like to see more of in All Saints is young families – I’m sure everyone else would as well! I did notice a reference to 'Blur and Focus' on the welcome sheet and I wondered if this was a youth group and what it involved?(ed. yes they are - there's details on one of the notice boards!)

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