Not Your Grandma's Church Service

Posted: November 20, 2006

The U2 Eucharist is coming to Mount Holyoke's Chapin Auditorium on Saturday, December 2, at 4:30 pm. Described as a "rockin' rollin' singin' dancin' worshipalooza," the service will raise awareness of global poverty and AIDS.

According to Sherry Tucker, interim dean of religious and spiritual life, chaplain to the College, and adviser to the Protestant community, the first U2 Eucharist was held by a female Episcopalian priest in Maine, and it has become popular across the country. "It brings a different part of the population into the worship service," Tucker said. The freewill offering will go to the One Campaign, a grassroots organization backed by U2's Bono that has gained support among students and religious leaders committed to fighting poverty. Those attending the service will be invited to sign the One Petition, a statement directed to the U.S. Congress urging action to end poverty.

The service is structured as a traditional Protestant worship service, but in a more upbeat and lively atmosphere, fueled by U2's music accompanied by colorful images projected on a large screen. There will be a sermon, or "message," and communion will be offered to members of all faith traditions. "Instead of sitting quietly in their seats, people dance, clap, and sing," Tucker said. "I hope that the message about global poverty will really touch people. The communion will give people an opportunity for a personal connection with the spirit. It's a service that people can get into on a lot of different levels."

The College's Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and the Belchertown Congregational Church are jointly hosting the event, which is open to people of all faith groups.

Tucker said people have asked her whether Bono will be at the service. "I wish he would be there, but he will be there in spirit," she said.

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