The sounds of U2 might not seem like typical church music, but one Raleigh congregation is celebrating the popular band’s compassion.
Hayes Barton United Methodist Church will present U2Charist, a service Sept. 8 that features U2 songs. The church’s Lighthouse Band will perform songs such as “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for” and “With or Without You.”
“It is a concert, but it’s also a service,” said Stephen Howell, director of contemporary worship at Hayes Barton UMC. “It’s such a bridge between the two things. Getting to experience those songs almost in what I think their element really is, elevates that experience of singing the songs you love to sing on the radio.”
The U2Charist service celebrates the spiritual themes of the songs along with the activism of lead singer Bono and the band. Worshippers will be asked to focus on the ripple effects of the actions of Christians in the world.
“The flow of it goes from recognition of the problem, trying to figure out why the problem exists, into fixing it or imagining a time when that is not a thing anymore,” Howell said. “That problem includes hunger and the global impact of the awareness of poverty and being able to use some of those songs in that direction, culminates in ‘Beautiful Day,’ which is the pinnacle of what it would be like to not have to worry about these things.”
Many of the U2Charist selections are songs from “The Joshua Tree,” the career-defining album for U2 that was released in 1987 and topped the charts with its socially conscious lyrics.
“We’ve never seen a time in thirty years that things don’t need to be done, that actions don’t need to be taken, and people can relate to that,” Howell said. “Our mission is to do good, that’s what Bono wants and that is the emphasis behind it. This should be for the greater awareness and to do good in the world.”
The U2Charist will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, in Holroyd Hall, on the campus of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church, 2209 Fairview Road in Raleigh.
There is no admission charge for the service, but a love offering will be collected to support Carroll’s Kitchen, a nonprofit restaurant in Raleigh dedicated to ending homelessness for women.
Gospel on the Lot
Watts Chapel Missionary Baptist Church will celebrate 141 years with Gospel on the Lot from noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9.
There will be live music from the group Sumthin 4 Tha People, and comedian Mike Goodwin will also perform. There will be food, games and inflatables.
Pre-registration for the event is required. To register, go to www.wattschapel.org or call 919-828-7348.
Watts Chapel Missionary Baptist Church is located at 3703 Tryon Road in Raleigh.
Carla Turchetti writes about faith news in Wake and Johnston counties. Send story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.