LET ME IN THE SOUND – an evening in the music of U2
It might seem to some a little surprising to find in the Church notices this week under Sunday evening service at Fitzroy Presbyterian – “Let Me In The Sound – an evening in the music of U2.” The minister of Fitzroy Rev. Steve Stockman sees it as business as usual. “We try to reflect who God is and therefore be creative in what we do and the evenings at Fitzroy are certainly not the traditional Sunday night service. However, this is not too radical for us. We have been using U2’s Psalm-like song October and their actual Psalm 40 in our Sunday morning services. In the evening we do a lot of art and creative critique of culture so U2 is obvious!” When you find out that Rev Stockman has written a best-selling book about U2, Walk On; The Spiritual Journey of U2 perhaps it becomes a little more understandable. Is it appropriate for Church? Stockman believes again that we shouldn’t be surprised. “I quote many people in sermons, as well as lots of the Bible, from theologians like John Calvin and John Stott to novelists like Frederick Buechner and Marilynne Robinson and hymn writers like Wesley and Newton, so why not U2?” Perhaps U2 are hardly theologians or hymn writers. Stockman disagrees, “ Oh they have written some great hymns, 40, Yahweh and Magnificent to name but three, and their songs are full of theological truth.”
So how does it work? What happens on a night in the music of U2? It seems that this little Church in south Belfast has enough musical talent to keep it all in house. From the up and coming young loud and brash Mud Sunfish who’ll tackle I Will Follow and Get On Your Boots, to the stunning voice of Caroline Orr (with Peter Greer), who released an album a couple of years ago and has been a backing vocalist with Duke Special and Brian Houston, to Canadian songwriter Eric Angus Whyte there are in total seven acts doing nine U2 covers in varying arrangements. “It is great to have the talent in house that we have, not many Churches could pull it off,” Stockman beamed. Is there a preach? “Well, there will be enough content to fill a couple of sermons but it will be broken up. My intention is to “DJ” the songs with appropriate prayers and readings that come out of the songs and to add a few clues so that people pick up the spiritual depth in the music. My Youth Director Chris Hunter is also contributing a review of U2’s Paris concert of just last week.”
This is the second in a series of such evenings that Fitzroy are putting on. Earlier in the year they did the same with Johnny Cash and there are plans for Leonard Cohen in the new year. Is it just a gimmick? “Not at all. I do think it will attract a few people to come along for sure. However, the intent is not empty trendiness. The content will be very substantial. Church is about the communication of our Christian beliefs and to use various forms of communication is not strange or gimmicky but obvious.” If you are intrigued, like Moses was at the Burning Bush, then move closer and take your invite into the sound on Sunday night at 7pm, Fitzroy Presbyterian Church, 75-77 University Street (other artists are Gray Bradley, Jonee Hicks, W2 and The Head & Heart Collective).