September 05, 2007

Rock merges with religion in 'U2charist' - Longview News-Journal

By RANDY ROSS
Wednesday, September 05, 2007

It's where rock 'n' roll meets traditional worship.

Between a flashy slideshow and blaring rock music, a group of about 200 Christians took communion Tuesday night at LeTourneau University's S.E. Belcher Jr. Chapel and Performance Center as part of "U2charist," a Eucharist service featuring the music of the rock band U2.

Matt Walker and Ruby Outlaw were among the many students who came to the service out of curiosity.

Walker, 19, is a sophomore flight science student, and Outlaw, 17, is a high school senior from Temple visiting the Christian school. The pair saw the pamphlet and did not know what a "U2charist" was, Outlaw said.

Outlaw was all smiles as she talked about the service. She said it took the normal message of Christian communion and presented it in a new way. Walker said he enjoyed the way the service alternated between U2's music and readings from the Bible or brief thoughts from speakers.

Neither was familiar with the music of U2, but both appeared to be enjoying the music, as hand-in-hand, the couple nodded their heads to the music.

The Rev. Jim Watson of St. Michael and All Angels' Episcopal Church and professor of English at LeTourneau University, led the service, reciting from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer between songs. Watson said the Eucharist service was a celebration of Christian community around a fellowship of believers.

"This one is unique because Bono is here in spirit," Watson said with a smile.

Bono, lead singer of U2, gave the Episcopal church the opportunity to use the band's music during the traditionally liturgical service. Harold Carl, university chaplain, said Bono is a Christian who writes songs with spiritual themes. As a part of the service, churches are required to take a collection for human rights causes, Carl said. This service took a collection for the Longview chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Many students are identifying with Bono's message, and many now see ministry as a way not only to evangelize but also to meet the needs of the world, Watson said. The service was a way to introduce students and other people in the community to a new way of worship, he said.

Students in attendance appeared interested in what they saw and heard. Most students sat in rapt attention as they watched religious images interspersed with global photographs and U2 lyrics.

"It's a very unique approach," Outlaw noted between songs.

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September 5, 2007 in U2charist in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 09, 2007

U2charist Coming to Christ Church - Christ Church Anchor

"A Multimedia Rock Concert Meets the Eucharist"

February 2007

By Richard Belshaw

At 5:00 in the afternoon on Sunday, March 11, Christ Church will do something it has never done before: host a U2charist. A what???

A U2charist is, for all those familiar with the music of the Irish rock band U2, essentially what it says it is - a Eucharist with U2 music. The actual band will not be in attendance - they comprise, after all, four of the world's most popular musicians - but their music and message will be; listened to, sung, chanted, danced to, and accompanied (at times) by other musicians.

Think of it as "multimedia rock concert meets Eucharist" -- informality, dancing, clapping, and movement in the aisles as well as the pews are not only encouraged, but assumed. The music, loud and emotional, demands ecstatic response which the Eucharist by its very nature is only too
happy to reciprocate. The result is a unique spiritual experience -- a new way of being together, worshipping together, and proclaiming the Gospel.

This very new way of “doing” liturgy was conceived a few years ago by a woman living in Maryland named Sarah Dylan Breuer, who, as it happens, enrolled this year as a seminarian at my school, Episcopal Divinity School. What makes a U2charist work is the power of the song lyrics, which are striking in the way they mirror our Anglican theological ethos of mission to those less fortunate than ourselves.

This is not a coincidence: the members of U2 have been as concerned with justice issues in the world as they have been with writing and performing the music that expresses that concern. Indeed, lead singer Bono (pronounced BAW-no, for those who aren’t quite that familiar with the band) was named Time magazine's person of the year with Bill and Melinda Gates for his efforts in promoting an end to poverty in the world, particularly in Africa. This makes the Millenium Development Goals an ideal and specific focus of the liturgy. And in fact, the readings, sermon, and collection are all tied to them, and projected images on a screen will accent the MDGs. This service is all about the message of eradicating world poverty as an expression of our faith. We become unified in communion, a witness to the way that we want to see the world unified.

A U2charist was celebrated at last summer’s General Convention and have happened in a few dioceses around the country. This will be the first one to take place in New Hampshire. Believe it or not, there are teams of clergy who have been “trained” to lead U2charists, one of which will be with us on March 11.

The Rev. Stephanie Spellers, who some may recognize from her participation in our Via Media roundtable discussions last spring, will preside and I am pleased to report that Dylan Breuer herself will be with us in a leadership role. Five or six fellow seminarians will be here lending logistical support and their musical gifts.

Christ Church's youth group will be taking an active role in advertising, drumming up support, and helping behind the scenes. An invitation to attend will be sent to local churches and throughout the diocese. Please mark your calendars - this is unlike any worship you have ever previously experienced!

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July 9, 2007 in U2charist in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Cathedral Rocks - Episcopal Diocese of Western NY

Published Sunday, April 15, 2007
by Laurie Wozniak

Three to four hundred people of all ages filled the pews of St. Paul's Cathedral on Saturday, April 14, for the diocese's first U2charist. U2charist is the term coined for an Episcopal liturgy in which the hymns are comprised of songs by the rock band U2.

U2's music resonates with folks in their 60's who recall the band's early hits, as well as with high school youth and college aged young adults. Many of the lyrics incorporate biblical references and the social justice themes for which Bono, the band's lead singer and songwriter, is well known.

"It's great to see the kids here and so involved," commented Beverly Fortune, a 50-something member of the Cathedral. "These are the kids we don't see in the news. And to see all the adults here too, it's wonderful!"

The idea for such a service was conceived by Sarah Dylan Breuer, who planned the first U2charist held in Baltimore, Maryland in April 2004. In July of 2005, the Rev. Dr. Paige Blair, celebrated a U2charist at St. George's Episcopal Church in York, Maine, where she is rector. The service met with great enthusiasm and St. George's soon found itself serving as a resource for other churches desiring to introduce U2charists in their locales.

The service hosted by St. Paul's Cathedral was organized by the members of the Niagara Deanery Youth Group. Samantha Cutlip, the college-aged advisor to the group, attended the U2charist held at The Episcopal Church's General Convention in Columbus, OH last June and introduced the idea to the youth. She worked with them to select the "hymns" and put together a large screen media presentation of images that reflected each song's message. Afterwards, it was the impression made by these images that many worshippers carried home with them.

"The pictures were really interesting, said Kelsy Waack, 10. Sitting alongside 11-year-old Schyler Mathias, Kelsy enthusiastically clapped to the beat of every song throughout the service. Both girls are members of Calvary, Williamsville.

Some of the images portrayed starvation and extreme poverty. To the Rev. Canon Barbara Price, rector of St. Peter's, Eggertsville, these images were "deeply disturbing, but a great connection to what the Millenium Development Goals are all about."

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), established by the United Nations, are eight goals that aim to wipe out poverty around the world by 2015.

Aaron Taube, a 15-year-old member of St. Peter's, Eggertsville liked the combination of the music and the images. "The sermon really related well to them," he said.

The sermon was preached by the Rev. Philip Dougharty, rector of St. John's Grace, Buffalo and diocesan MDG coordinator. "God has set this feast," he said. "And we're all invited. Some of us are already there."

A ripple of laughter ran through the pews when he said, "We've got our faces down in the trough!"

But the crowd sobered quickly with his next thoughts. "We've got our faces right down in the trough and some of us don't even know it. Two billion people in this world live on less than a dollar a day. One child under five dies every five seconds due to hunger and disease. And some of us think we aren't rich enough."

Jesus in his own time, Dougharty said, was concerned that people were making rules and regulations aimed at keeping others out of the feast. "And it's still done today. We don't want any foreigners. We don't want any poor folks here."

"What are you doing that may be keeping people out of the feast?" he asked. "You may not even be doing it consciously. Let's at least pick our heads up out of the trough and look around. Just quit consuming long enough to take a look at the two billion people."

"This planet should be a place of abundance for all creation. Can we make it happen? Maybe so." As Dougharty's concluding words echoed in the minds of worshippers, the music of U2's song "One" filled the air.

One life
but we're not the same
We get to carry each other
One

Symbolic of the entire service, these lyrics had been incorporated into the poster graphic that advertised the event and that was projected on screen during parts of the service. It also adorned t-shirts sold at the door and worn by the youth and others who organized the service. The artwork, which portrayed a broken heart and a broken world held together by four hands, each of a different color, was conceptualized by Matthew MacIntyre, 16, a member of St. Andrew's, Burt and the Niagara Deanery Youth Group.

The collection taken during the service totalled $1400. It will be donated to two charitalble organizations chosen by the youth. Millennium Promise works with villages in ten African countries to develope agriculture, health care, education and access to clean water. People Funding People is a small New Jersey based group that develops projects in Cameroon. The youth especially liked People Funding People, because it enables them to have some say in the specific project for which the funds they donate will be used.

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July 9, 2007 in U2charist in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)

first "U2 Eucharist" to be held in Utah - Utah's 24 TV

Saturday, May 19, 2007
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Tag(s): Music

Centerville, Utah. The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection will be holding the first "U2 Eucharist" ('U2charist' for short) in Utah on May 19, 2007. The event derives its name from the music of the Irish rock band U2. The event was conceived by Sarah Dylan Breuer, an Episcopalian divinity student, in 2003 and inspired by the publication of "Get Up Off Your Knees", a collection of sermons employing on U2's lyrics. Bono, U2's lead singer, has been a particularly vocal proponent the Millennium Development Goals which are a set of eight humanitarian objectives officially endorsed by all nations in 2000. The primary focus of the Millennium project is to eradicate poverty and disease by 2015. To that end, all of the voluntary contributions and offerings collected during the evening will be donated to the Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation. The band, U2, is contributing the music on a royalty free basis.

The eight Millennium Development goals are:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
2. Achieve universal primary education.
3. Promote gender equality and empower women.
4. Reduce child mortality.
5. Improve maternal health.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
7. Ensure environmental sustainability.
8. Create a global partnership for development with targets for aid, trade and debt relief

Over the past two years the U2charist movement has caught fire around the globe with dozens of services being held as far away as Australia. Most of the hosts have been Episcopal congregations, but the list also includes Roman Catholic, Lutheran, United Methodist and United Church of Christ, among others. The service at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection is open to all faiths and denominations. All are welcome.

The music and celebration will begin at 6:00 PM, Saturday, May 19th. It is strongly suggested that those wishing to attend arrive at least 20 minutes early to ensure seating. The church is located 1131 South Main, Centerville, Utah.

The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection
1131 South Main
Centerville, UT

July 9, 2007 in U2charist in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)

U2 church service held in Dublin - NME.com

'U2charist' held in band's hometown
02.Apr.07 2:42pm

A church in Dublin has conduced a service based on U2's music.

The so called 'U2charist' was attended by 150 people at the Anglican St George And St Thomas Church yesterday (April 1).

Organiser Greg Fromholz said: "We're reaching out to the youth. There's a deep Christian message in U2's music."

During the service, the band's songs were sung instead of hymns. They included 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' and 'One'.

The services have occurred in Australia, New Zealand and Britain and were created by Sarah Dylan Breuer in April 2004 for a service in Baltimore in the US, reports BBC News.

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July 9, 2007 in U2charist in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)

U2 service reaches out - BBC

A church in Dublin's city centre has conducted a service based on the music of Irish rock group U2.
Around 150 people attended the Anglican St George and St Thomas's Church, to sing hits like "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "One."

"We're reaching out to the youth," said organiser Greg Fromholz. "There's a deep Christian message in U2's music."

The so-called U2charist, named after the band and the Eucharist - or Holy Communion - originated in the US.

Featuring the band's music instead of hymns, it was created by Sarah Dylan Breuer in for a service in Baltimore in April 2004.

It has since spread around the world, with services held in Australia, New Zealand and Britain.

The U2charist often features a political message centred around Bono's campaign to eradicate extreme poverty and Aids.

'Soundtrack to searching'

Dublin's Sunday service lasted an hour and a half, with the church kitted out with concert-style lighting, video screens and dry ice.
But US-born Mr Fromholz insisted the Irish version wasn't as "fanatical" as similar services on the other side of the Atlantic.

"I think at times they have pushed it a bit too far, using images of the band," he said.

"We're not doing that at all, we're just using the songs as a soundtrack to searching."

U2's music has often had a spiritual message. The song Until The End Of The World from the band's Achtung Baby album, for example, describes a conversation between Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot.

Fromholz said U2 were an obvious choice to help draw young followers back to Ireland's church congregations.

"They are always searching, always on the look out, always looking for something beyond themselves," he said.

"I think all of us are looking for that intimacy. They are writing songs that accentuate that and they're very easy to sing along to."

Story from BBC NEWS
Published: 2007/04/02 09:32:26 GMT

July 9, 2007 in U2charist in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)

U2charist Originator Comes to Michigan This Month -- The Record, Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

PDF here of this and the article "Innovative Mass Comes to Dearborn in June" from The Record, the newsletter of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan.

July 9, 2007 in U2charist in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dublin Church Adapts U2charist -- Christian Today

A church in Dublin's city centre recently led a ‘U2charist’, an adapted Holy Communion service that uses Irish rock band U2’s best-selling songs in place of hymns.

by Kevin Donovan
Posted: Wednesday, April 4, 2007, 8:30 (BST)

A church in Dublin's city centre recently led a ‘U2charist’, an adapted Holy Communion service that uses Irish rock band U2’s best-selling songs in place of hymns.

Hit songs like “I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For” and “One” were sung by around 150 people at the Anglican St George and St Thomas's Church.

"We're reaching out to the youth," said organiser Greg Fromholz. "There's a deep Christian message in U2's music."

The U2charist was originally created by Sarah Dylan Breuer in Baltimore, USA, in April 2004. It has since spread around the world, with services held in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

The U2charist often features a political message centred around Bono's campaign to eradicate extreme poverty and Aids.

Dublin's Sunday service lasted an hour and a half, with the church with concert-style lighting, video screens and dry ice.

But US-born Mr Fromholz insisted the Irish version was not as "fanatical" as similar services on the other side of the Atlantic.

"I think at times they have pushed it a bit too far, using images of the band," he said.

"We're not doing that at all, we're just using the songs as a soundtrack to searching."

U2's music has often had a spiritual message. The song Until The End Of The World from the band's Achtung Baby album, for example, describes a conversation between Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot.

According to Fromholz, U2 were an obvious choice to help draw young followers back to Ireland's church congregations.

"They are always searching, always on the look out, always looking for something beyond themselves," he said.

"I think all of us are looking for that intimacy. They are writing songs that accentuate that and they're very easy to sing along to."

Link to original article

July 9, 2007 in U2charist in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)