Brand New Day (and more) at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

By Brandon HENSLEY

Maybe a church like St. Luke’s of the Mountains still hasn’t found what it’s looking for, at least in terms of growing its congregation, but it’s about to shake things up this weekend.
That’s because on Sunday at 10 a.m., the church, located at 2563 Foothill Blvd., will hold a traditional service but will center it around the band U2. It will be called U2charist because the service will follow the liturgical structure of an Episcopal Eucharist, just with those popular U2 songs.
All songs performed by the worship band will cover some of the Irish rocker’s classics, including “Beautiful Day,”  “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” “Where the Streets have No Name” and “When Love Comes to Town.”
“Their music has been profoundly influenced by their spiritual life as Christians … so a lot of the lyrics are directly from scripture,” said Holly Stauffer, a St. Luke’s member.
Stauffer is also in school at Claremont College to be ordained as a priest, and she first heard a U2charist service at the school a couple of months ago.
“I was floored. I just did not realize how heavily influenced U2 was by Christianity, by the Bible,” she said.
So she and some of the band members at the church brought the idea to have a service like that to Father Bryan Jones. He said yes, but he did have one condition: that is be a part of the traditional service, and not have it be an additional “special” service.
“For him it was about, ‘This is who we are,’” Stauffer said. “He didn’t want it seen as a special service set aside for a different crowd on a different day.
“We’re still a growing congregation, so we want people to come.”
U2 allows these services to be played by churches as long there is a collection taken up with an alignment of UN Millennium Development Goals.
An offering will be dedicated to Glendale Healthy Kids, a program that ensures children have access to healthcare and health education.
St. Luke’s wanted to wait until after Easter to hold the service but not after June.
“Generally, most of the stuff that happens on the Church calendar in the Episcopal Church happens through September to June, and then in July and August people are gone,” said Stauffer.
The musical arrangements will be in good hands. Lead vocalist Angela Garcia is also singer for the band Hazel. Bassist Zach Bilson is a member of the band Einstein’s Dirty Secret. Guests include guitarist Andrew Wells and Michael Barsimanto on drums.
“You really feel God’s presence,” said Stauffer. “It’s really fun.”