On Saturday 7 February, Wakefield Cathedral held the first diocesan Rock Mass for the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.
People of all ages from children to those in their 80s were welcomed in for this special, joyful Eucharist service for Candlemas, presided over by the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Area Bishop of Wakefield. Live, loud rock music was provided by Christian band Metanoia.
Plenty of chairs were provided for those unable to stand for the service. The service included spectacular lighting, big screens and ‘smoke’ effects, with hymns inspired by the music of popular bands such as U2 and Metallica.
The congregation wore and waved glow sticks, danced, and gathered together to share their own individual prayers for our World and for each other, using chalk on a special mat running the length of Cathedral nave.
Passers-by and young people from the Cathedral Precinct, who had heard the music from outside and wanted to find out what was happening, were welcomed in as the service progressed.
Enthusiastic feedback was received after the service by those who attended. One older man said that he had previously been “Very, very sceptical” about the Rock Mass, but having taken part he had completely changed his mind and now wished to use ideas from the service for worship in his own church.
Another member of the congregation said:
“There were lots of people in the congregation I hadn't seen there before, and the music drew young people in from the precinct who stood at the back and watched. People were there of all ages from small children to people in their 70's and 80's.
"An older man who couldn’t manage to stand was sitting right at the front and jigging away all evening in his chair with a huge smile on his face.
“After seeing how well it was organised and the wonderful lighting and music, I feel strongly that this is something which could be a game-changer for bringing the younger generation into church - but yet can still be enjoyed by all. I really hope the next one will be publicised wide and far.
“The big question now on everyone’s lips is - when is the next one?”
Plans for a second diocesan Rock Mass at Wakefield Cathedral are already under way, with a date later in the year hopefully to be announced.
In the meantime, a monthly Rock Mass service is held at Holy Nativity church, Mixenden & Illingworth, near Halifax. The parish priest Reverend Robb Sutherland is lead guitarist for Metanoia, and his wife Ruth is the lead singer. Both have been involved in playing for and leading similar services since 2005.
To find out more about the monthly parish Rock Mass at Holy Nativity church, please visit the church website at www.holynativity.co.uk The next monthly Rock Mass at Holy Nativity church will be this coming Sunday, 15th February at 6pm and all are welcome to attend.
The band Metanoia’s website can be found at www.metanoiauk.com