Idol Chatter

A few months ago Idol Chatter noted that Episcopalians had taken to piping U2 songs into their churches, a phenomenon that’s not surprising, given lead singer Bono‘s coy but steady relationship with Christianity and the group’s redemptive musical themes. Evangelical kids have considered the band fellow travelers for years and have been often rewarded by winks and even pretty firm nudges: When U2 performed “Where the Streets Have No Name” at the 2002 Super Bowl as the names of the 9/11 victims scrolled behind them, they confirmed for many evangelical observers that the song’s title refers to heaven, and the “you” in the chorus is Jesus.

But now Episcopals have integrated U2 songs into their services, a practice that has a name–“U2charist”–and has become a movement. Started by Sarah Dylan Breuer at St. George’s Episcopal Church in New Harbor, Maine, the services pull youth from all Christian denominations (though they are largely held in Episcopal churches and are structured around the Anglican Mass), with an estimated 168 taking place so far across the country. The catchy name has been mentioned in Entertainment Weekly, and on Easter the BBC will broadcast a “U2charist” from Lincolnshire, England.

Will there be “Live U2charist”? The band hasn’t shown up for any Masses yet despite that fact that most make contributions to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, for which Bono is a global ambassador.

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