Service combines Scripture, U2 music
By Matt Russell
When the Rev. Kyle Haack was starting his career in ministry, he went to a U2 concert in Chicago and was inspired.
The experience, he recalled, was "worshipful." Bono, the Irish group’s lead singer, quoted from Psalms during the concert, he said, and ended the concert by singing "Hallelujah."
On Friday, the 32-year-old Haack will grab a guitar and act on that inspiration, leading a Good Friday service at People of Hope Lutheran Church in Rochester that combines U2 songs and Gospel readings.
"We’re trying to use the music and Scripture to bring meaning to each other," Haack said.
Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the hourlong service will alternate between performances of U2 songs and Gospel readings that tell the Easter story from Palm Sunday through Jesus’ resurrection. U2 song lyrics will be projected on a screen so worshippers can sing along.
Haack, who leads Living Stone Church in Rochester, will be backed by a band and also joined by the Rev. Jason Bryan-Wegner, 29, of People of Hope, who will sing on a few songs.
Haack said songs will be connected with Bible verses with which they work well. "When Love Comes to Town" will be paired with the story of Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem, for example, "With or Without You" will be coupled with Jesus’ Last Supper.
Other songs will include "Beautiful Day," "Where the Streets Have No Name," "Wake Up Dead Man," and "Sunday, Bloody Sunday."
"I really just tried to follow the Gospel story as closely as possible with music that fits," Haack said.
Haack said he proposed his U2 Good Friday service at three other churches where he worked before coming to Rochester, starting his congregation, and sharing his idea with Bryan-Wegner.
"When Kyle came to me with the script I was like, ‘Dude, this is amazing,’" Bryan-Wegner said.
The first U2 Good Friday service was held in 2007 at the Radisson hotel in downtown Rochester, drawing about 70 people. The service moved to People of Hope last year and attendance doubled.
Haack’s small congregation, which meets at the Rochester Senior Center, has been singing a U2 song a week during Lent, making Friday’s service a culmination of the season for them.
"This is kind of what we’ve been building toward," he said.
Using U2 music in the service is a way of reminding people that the Easter story is still relevant to our everyday lives, according to Bryan-Wegner.
"The whole service gives fresh eyes to the story," he said.
For more information, go to
Living Stone Church http://www.living-stone-church.org/
People of Hope Lutheran Church http://www.peopleofhope.com/
U2 and Good Friday
"When Love Came to Town: A U2 Easter Worship Experience" will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at People of Hope Church, 3703 Country Club Road W., in Rochester.