'U2Charist' lights up church as young and old worship
YOU'D be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled into a nightclub instead of a church at Ireland's first U2Charist service in Dublin last night.
The domed altar at St George and St Thomas' Anglican church off O'Connell Street was lit up with bright pink, purple and blue floodlights as a fog of dry ice wafted up from behind.
Circling the altar were 20 members of the Discovery Gospel Choir belting out an unlikely hymn: U2's 'Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' accompanied by a rock band complete with electric guitar and keyboards.
The song's lyrics were projected on two giant video screens above them as the faithful swayed back and forth, clapping their their hands to the rhythm.
The pews were packed with young families, teenagers, twenty-somethings and a smattering of parishioners of all ages who crammed the church to see history in the making.
It was the first time that the Church of Ireland hosted a liturgical service geared around the music and lyrics of Ireland's most famous export.
For the next 90 minutes, interspersed between prayers, bible readings and sermons, the band and choir performed some of the band's most popular hits with a gospel twist, including '40' (based on Psalm 40) 'Yaweh' (God in Hebrew), 'Windows in the Skies' and 'One'.
The concept, which originated in the US several years ago, is to use the biblically-inspired lyrics and music of U2 as an alternative backdrop to a regular church service in order to entice more young adults and teenagers to the church.
"For me, the point is that instead of expecting teenagers to sit in a cold and boring church, this will give them something they can relate to," said Greg Fromholz, Director of the Diocesan youth project 3Rock Youth.