Thursday, August 18, 2011

U2Charist-Sunday, September 11th at Maryville College

Finally offering a U2Charist -- on Sept. 11

It's taken me at least six years, maybe longer, to put together a U2Charist, which is something you get when you cross the music of the Irish rock band U2 with Holy Communion, adding a bit of missional and social justice for flavor. In case you live in East Tennessee, the U2Charist is set for 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, to Clayton Center for the Arts at Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee.

This unique worship event is being hosted by Maryville College’s Center for Campus Ministries and the small church I serve, Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa. Classic U2 songs such as “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and “Pride (In the Name of Love),” will be offered up during the worship service by Davis Mitchell, other members of Dishwater Blonde (a Knoxville-area rock band), and keyboardist Jerry Sullivan.

U2Charists have been held around the world since 2004, featuring the music of U2, with a message supporting Millennium Development Goals, such as eradicating poverty and hunger, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Many of U2's songs are rife with spiritual themes. In recent years, many churches have taken the opportunity to explore those themes from the pulpit and in small groups.

At Green Meadow, for instance, one Christmas Eve message was based upon the U2 song "When Love Comes to Town." The ability to have live music in a neutral setting was something that always seemed to evade me. Yet, here it is coming to pass for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. As the band and the venue came together within the past month, it became clear that there was a U2-based theme relevant to this anniversary. The chorus in "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" is "How long must we sing this song ..." When you think of all the grief and misery that has come in the wake of that attack, what more relevant question to ask for such a time as this?
The event is free and an offering will be collected to benefit ministries related to One Millennium Goals: Strength for the Journey, an East Tennessee AIDS/HIV ministry; Family Promise of Blount County, a homeless ministry; and The Welcome Table, a food and fellowship ministry in Maryville.
If you want to find out more, go

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