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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2008, 19:27 GMT
'Mystery worshippers' test church
Telford church leaders with their 'rating' reports
The mystery worshippers praised the churches they visited
"Mystery worshippers" secretly visiting Shropshire churches have praised them for their sermons and warm welcomes.

The 13 inspectors, normally paid to visit shops posing as ordinary shoppers, said they were genuinely surprised by their visits.

Churches in Telford and Oswestry scored between 90 and 100% in tests, according to Heart of England Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE).

The aim of the test was to find out how churches could meet people's needs.

Mystery worshipper Mike Sadler, who lives in Telford, said although he does not go to church it was interesting to see how things have changed over the years.

'Keen for more'

Benita Hewitt, from the Christian Research Association which organised the study, said: "Although the churches in Telford were given no advance warning, several scored more than 90%, with two achieving 100%.

"Most of our mystery worshippers were genuinely surprised by the warmth of their experience in church and some were even keen to go back for more."

Churches in Telford visited by the team were; St Mary and St Leonard, Wellington Methodist, Telford Christ the King, St Matthew Telford and Union Free Telford.

The findings were made public at Christian Resources Exhibition at Telford International Centre which runs until 23 February 2008.

The event is described as the church equivalent of the Ideal Homes Exhibition.


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