Our mystery worshipper passed undetected as a pupil of St Ali's Catholic School.
What was the name of the service?
Special ecumenical service.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes, the chaplain shook me warmly by the neck before telling me how much he hated me.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Very chatty. Becky, the Year 5 representative of A Call To Outright Rebellion (ACTOR) explained how Vatican II had explicitly demanded that the Catholic church should henceforth get away from old-fashioned ideas such as God and Jesus, becoming more open to other faiths, such as the tree-worshipping community.
What were the exact opening words of the service?
Welcome to our special ecumenical service. Today we have present a variety of alternative faiths, including representatives of ACTOR, those who bow down to tree-spirits, and worshippers of the gods Thor, Dawkins, and Sun Myung Moon.
The sun shall not burn thee by day: nor the moon by night. Psalm 120:6
What books did the congregation use during the service?
Books sacred to the faiths of those present, including Tina Beattie's Why did the Virgin Mary never have children?, Richard Dawkins's The Reality of Magic, and Prince Charles's classic I talk to the trees.
The defender of all faiths meets a representative of the arboreal community.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
More a sort of unhappy-clappy, as the worshippers were clearly very angry about something (the Catholic church, at a guess).
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
The chaplain explained that it was important to break with tradition. One example he gave (so good that he repeated it) was about sticking children up chimneys. I couldn't work out whether he was for or against that one.
If you want to be a chaplain like me, you need to be able to handle chimneys.
Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
When the chaplain led us in a hymn to Thor:
When Thor had a hammer, He'd hammer in the morning, He'd hammer in the evening, All over this land...Rubbish words, but a great tune.
I hit my finger with the hammer and now I'm a little Thor.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Well, most of it really.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
The chaplain told me to scram. He's known for his inter-personal skills.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
0. No, please, no!
Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, but I felt terribly out of place.
These "Thor" services are fine, but I always take an umbrella in case of a storm.