Iâ€™ve been a Christian all my life, but Iâ€™m probably not one of Godâ€™s favourite followers.
I only went to church twice during my entire time in Bristol. And even back in KL the number of times Iâ€™d been to church were pathetic. The only time when Iâ€™d diligently attend Sunday services were those when I was in Ipoh. Haha parents pressure!
But since I started living in London, Iâ€™ve been attending church with Rebecca quite frequently on Sundays whenever I was free. My attendance wasnâ€™t too bad! This morning was the FIFTH Sunday I went to this church!
Rebecca has been attending All Souls Church, Langham Place for many years now. So I was quite happy to not have to attend a new church as a complete stranger.
All Souls Church is a member of the Church of England but to my surprise is very, very different from the other (two) Anglican churches in Bristol that Iâ€™d been to (not including visits to churches without attending service).
My (very ignorant) impression of Anglican churches is that they follow rigid service routines, sing boring hymns, use pipe organs only for music, bishops wear traditional â€˜priestwearâ€™ and light up the altar with candles etc.
Oh and not to forget huge church buildings. HUGE.
All Souls Church has nowhere as impressive an exterior as Bristol Cathedral (above), but everything else is exactly what I was looking for in a church.
The congregation size is large, but theyâ€™ve got friendly ushers and welcome groups. The worship hall is contemporarily designed, very spacious and has many large LCD screens to make sure that every member of the congregation, no matter where you sit, gets a nice view of the speaker and the stage.
I think the most unique thing about this church (or maybe itâ€™s everywhere and Iâ€™m just being naive) is that it combines both modern and traditional elements of a church:
It follows the traditional Anglican doctrine but adopts a modern, lively way of praise and worship with emphasis on youth and student ministry.
It has a classical-looking stone monument as the entrance hall (2nd pic above) but has very modern interior design and arrangement. Set on the stage wall is an oil painting of Christ which is a favourite of traditional cathedrals; contrasted by a futuristic, almost Star Trek-looking lectern in front of it in the middle of the stage.
And what I loved the most was their music! At the back of the gallery is a huge pipe organ used for hymnsâ€¦
â€¦ and at the front are the instruments that you would usually see in a contemporary church: drums, bass and electric guitar, keyboard and piano etc.
But once in a while, they would summon the entire orchestra (with everything from trombones to clarinets to cellos) for the worship service!
It could be just me, or it could be that theyâ€™ve got just so many talented musicians (the Royal Academy of Music being so near by) that their praise and worship music is soooo incredibly moving!
In fact, theyâ€™ve got a huge annual event (called Prom Praise) featuring the All Souls Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall this year.
Huge event â€¦ I mean this huge:
IMBA right? I mean, Iâ€™m a not a huge fan of mega churches and I sincerely do not think All Souls is a mega churchâ€¦ although it is very close to being one.
Churches are supposed to facilitate personal growth and foster fellowship among its members. Mega churches run the risk of having a huge proportion of their members being entirely inactive in their activities other than Sunday services.
I think All Souls is doing a pretty good job in addressing that risk in that theyâ€™ve got loads of weekly activities, and they do indeed put in extra effort to welcome international students and tourists â€“ something that not all churches are eager to do in practice.
OMG itâ€™s been so many years since Iâ€™ve been regularly going to church.
If you see me in hell please donâ€™t bother to say hi.View More