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3240: St Cadog, Llangattock Lingoed, Wales
St Cadoc, Llangattock Lingoed (Exterior)
Photo: Stephen McKay and used under license
Mystery Worshipper: Chris Church Crawler.
The church: St Cadog, Llangattock Lingoed, Monmouthshire, Wales.
Denomination: The Church in Wales, Diocese of Monmouth.
The building: The church is medieval, with a lovely 15th century tower and a churchyard on the side of a hill with views to the nearby mountains. The exterior has recently been renovated, which makes it stand out. There is a lovely ancient yew tree in the churchyard, and a pub is located at the end. Inside are some medieval wagon roofs and, most spectacularly, the recently discovered 15th century life-size fresco of St George slaying the dragon.
The church: The congregation appears quite active and has restored the building.
The neighbourhood: Llangattock Lingoed is a border village but with quite a strong Welsh identity. It is surrounded by hills and the village is situated some distance via some very narrow wooded lanes with views over to the strangely shaped hills nearby. The church is situated next to Offa's Dyke, a large linear earthwork that roughly follows the current border between England and Wales. Llangattock Lingoed was featured in a recent program hosted by English producer and actor Tony Robinson.
The cast: The Revd Gaynor Burret.
The date & time: 8 October 2017.

What was the name of the service?
Harvest Evening Prayer.

How full was the building?
About 15 adults and 15 children. Seemed quite full.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Not initially. However, the priest came over and had a chat with me and said she was new to the benefice. Then the person in front, also a visitor, asked me where I was from and said they were visiting too.

Was your pew comfortable?
Not very – Victorian, I think, and with a cushion that kept slipping off.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
There was a village community atmosphere when I walked in, with children and parents chatting and the organist getting ready to play. Then the three old bells started ringing.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Good evening, everybody, and welcome to our harvest service. If you can't hear me, feel free to move to the front" (most were already at the front).

What books did the congregation use during the service?
Grosmont Harvest Evening Prayer and Anglican Hymns Old & New.

What musical instruments were played?
A small chamber style organ with a nice Gothic case – one manual with half a pedal board and five stops.

Did anything distract you?
It had to be the 14th century painting of St George slaying the dragon, which was on my right. I had seen the same subject in Stockholm Cathedral recently. I kept looking at it during the service.

St Cadoc, Llangattock Lingoed (fresco)

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
It a very much a village service where people knew each other. A happy traditional Anglican service.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
15 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 – The priest was very good at engaging the children in the service. She involved the youngest by getting him to carry the harvest bread (complete with the traditional morsel of bread in the shape of a mouse), which had been baked by a member of the congregation.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
It was about the rich man and his barns. We were asked what we would do if she gave us 10 chocolate bars. She made reference to fair trade and said that although there is nothing wrong with wealth and having good things, there is nothing that can beat the feeling when one shares things with others. Being wealthy doesn't necessarily make you happy.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
It had to be singing the traditional hymns in such a rural setting, with the candles on the pulpit and in the nooks and crannies making the building feel very cosy.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Probably before the service, as I wasn't sure if I had wandered into a special Sunday school service.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Had a chat with the people in front, who, when I said I had traveled from over the bridge (Severn Bridge,) thought I had meant the nearby bridge.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
Tea and coffee were offered in bone china cups, but I had to disappear as it was getting dark and the village is situated down some very narrow lanes miles from anywhere!

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
9 – It is a lovely warm village church that is clearly loved by its local community.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes it did. Village life very much alive in the border country.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The fresco of St George.
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