THE CHURCH of England has revealed it is to hold a 'U2charist' - a religious service featuring the Irish rock band's music. First American churches began holding so-called U2 Eucharists - religious services staged around the lyrics and music of the band. Yesterday, the Church of England revealed it, too, is planning the first British 'U2charist' in an effort to woo young people.
U2 MIGHT think they are a rock band but the rest of the world seems to view their songs as soul music.
First American churches began holding so-called U2 Eucharists - religious services staged around the lyrics and music of the band.
Yesterday, the Church of England revealed it, too, is planning the first British 'U2charist' in an effort to woo young people.
The adapted services are already filling Episcopalian churches in the United States, despite the Pope's condemnation of rock music as "anti-religion".
Now Church of England faithful have been invited to sing and sway along with classics such as 'Mysterious Ways' and 'Beautiful Day' in a Lincoln church in May.
In a bizarre form of mass karaoke, worshippers will be encouraged to sing along as a live band performs covers of the chart hits, while the lyrics are displayed on a large screen at St Swithin's church in the town centre.
The event is to focus on the Millennium Development Goals, which seek to reduce world poverty - a cause promoted by U2 frontman Bono and Bob Geldof.
A sophisticated lighting system will pulse with the beat, while images of those suffering in poverty and drought will fill the screen.
The Bishop of Grantham, Timothy Ellis, said the service would be "completely inclusive" with anyone who wished to come along would be welcome.
The Rt Rev Ellis insisted that rock music could be "a vehicle of immense spirituality".
Seating will be moved in order for the 500-strong congregation to be able to dance and wave their hands.
"The Millennium Development Goals are extremely important for the future of the world. It is also very important that we continue to try and find ways of worshipping that are surprising, challenging and fun," he said.
The idea of a U2charist was first created in the US with the first such service held there in 2005.
Such services featured multi-coloured streamers, fluorescent glow sticks and, of course, lots of hand-clapping and dancing.
Christian Scharen, a Lutheran pastor and professor at Yale Divinity School, has written a book on the subject.
'One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God' is due out this year. He says it does not surprise him that churches have caught on to U2.