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 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.”
– Source: BBC, Apr. 2, 2007
In March, 2007, Bono was presented with the Chairman’s Award at the prestigious 38th NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles.
The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) is America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.
The Chairman’s Award, which is bestowed in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service, was given to Bono in recognition of his humanitarian efforts.
In his acceptance speech, Bono made the following comments:
“To those in the church who still sit in judgment on the AIDS emergency, let me climb into the pulpit for just one moment.
Whatever thoughts we have about God, who He is or even if God exists, most will agree that God has a special place for the poor.
The poor are where God lives. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is where the opportunity is lost and lives are shattered.
God is with the mother who has infected her child with a virus that will take both their lives. God is under the rubble in the cries we hear during wartime. God, my friends, is with the poor and God is with us if we are with them.”
– Source: Bono at the 2007 NAACP Image Awards