Last Friday, a church in Stockholm, Sweden turned into a 90s disco, during a techno Mass priests hope will draw young people closer to religion.
Instead of listening to the sermon and praying silently, the congregation inside the All Saints Church, in Stockholm were throwing their hands in the air, busting dance moves and singing to the lyrics of music, during the second ever techno Mass organized by the Swedish church. Special lighting installations, the techno sounds and raving crowd made the place look more like a dance club than a place of worship, but priests of the Lutheran church say this was just a successful attempt of making religion and attending church interesting for young people.
Photo by Anders Wiklund
Olle Idestrom organized the first techno Mass in April, and although during Sunday services several pews remain empty, they had to turn away people, for lack of space. This time they had extra seating in the church which has a normal capacity of 400, and feedback was mainly positive. ”It was super fun; it was really kicking. I didn’t think it would be this good before I came. The church isn’t really my kind of thing, but after this, it seems like it is great,” said Ella Schwarz, 15. Everyone who attended seemed to have a good time and this made the priests hope some will even start attending normal services.
Photo by Anders Wiklund
It might be a little difficult to take in, especially if you’re a very religious person, but the church in Sweden isn’t governed by the same rules as the Catholic Church. It has become increasingly progressive during the last 50 years, allowing women to become priests and even ordaining an openly gay bishop. Unusual services like the techno Mass are just a further development on the road to progress. Still, over the last 10 years, membership in Sweden’s Lutheran church has fallen 13 percent and attendance at regular Sunday services plunged 50 percent to 4.6 million visits last year. ”People say this is exactly what the Church of Sweden needs,” Idestrom said. “We need to develop the services so that we have a service also for people, mainly from the younger generation, who like this kind of music,” he says. Apparently Sweden already has a hip-hop Mass, a rock Mass and a Jazz Mass, but club music is the country’s favorite so it seemed like the natural choice for All Saints Church.
Of course, not everyone approves of such extravagant events. Some believe there are plenty of entertainment venues around Sweden, and that the church should “remain a place for quiet contact with spirituality.”
Story by AP via Huffington Post