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Church in the Round


Last night Jane and I visited St Paul, Onslow Square, which is part of the same ministry as Holy Trinity Brompton. We were curious to see how the service worked because we had heard that the band was placed in the middle of the room, facing inwards, with the congregation in a circle around.

I think it has a lot going for it. The church is relatively large but it means that, even sitting on one of the chairs at the edge, every member of the congregation is relatively near the front. It also means that the band is not the focus of the event. Wherever you stand, you see fellow worshippers. I imagine that the band can also see and hear each other much better than most other possible arrangements. The speaking was also carried out from the same point, with wireless mics allowing communication with all sections of the congregation.

I think the layout has a lot of strengths. I am not sure whether it would translate directly to my own church, which doesn’t have nearly as much space (and probably a much higher proportion of people who would want chairs rather than the floor cushions that most of last night’s congregation used). However, the experience has given me plenty to chew on and was a worthwhile Sunday evening outing.

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