The rock group U2 led by the singer Bono, in front

The U2charist is a new type of Anglican/Episcopalian service which contains a message about God's call to rally around these goals, in particular cutting extreme poverty in half and stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015. The service is very similar to a regular Eucharist service with music by U2 rather than traditional hymns.

The original term "U2charist" is believed to have been coined by Sarah Dylan Breuer to describe a service held in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2004. The inspiration for the service is said to be the publication Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog.

Afterwards, other churches began holding similar services, the most well known being the one that took place at St. George's, York Harbour, Maine. Since then St. George's has been helping other churches all over the world to hold their own U2charists. Sarah could be called the mother of the "U2charist concept" and Paige Blair, the rector of St. George's, the mother of the "U2charist movement".

Services attract many

That first service at St. George's was attended by 130 attendees - not all parishioners. Youth, young adults, and older adults were singing and dancing in the aisles and praising God at the top of their lungs.

Since then worldwide attendance has grown to over 9,000, and monies raised are close to 70,000 U.S. dollars, with 500 different churches contacting St. George's for information. An article was even written for People magazine.

U2 songs played at a 'U2charist'

A typical U2charist service opens with the singing of

Mysterious Ways
. This is followed by an opening acclamation, collect for purity, the singing of Elevation, and the collect of the day. As well as the readings, a sermon, the singning of One, and a creed. The prayers of the people are mainly focused on the Millennium Development Goals.

The song 40 is sung afterwards, followed by the confession and absolution, the singing of When Love Comes to Town in celebration of the absolution, and the peace. Love and Peace or Else is sung during the offertory, Yahweh and Miracle Drug are sung during communion, followed by a prayer, benediction and Beautiful Day is sung as the closing hymn.

Although there is an offertory none of the money is for the parish. Money collected is to be donated to a charity or multiple charities supporting the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals to wipe out extreme poverty, hunger and HIV/AIDS.

Universal and ASCAP decided that there was no need for a parish to have licences for the U2 songs played as long as all monies raised were donated to charity. Part of the purpose of these services is to raise awareness of and rally around the goals, so it only seems logical that the proceeds would go towards them.

St. John's, Sardis is currently set to be the first parish in the Diocese to hold a U2charist. Tentatively the service is set for 7:30 p.m. May 20, the Sunday of the May long weekend. It will be held in Chilliwack either at the church or possibly a local school that already has the proper technology.

It would be great to have a youth presence from outside of Chilliwack in attendance. For more information contact St. John's, Sardis at (604) 858-2229.