A CURATE from Morley is reaching out to new audiences with a rock mass at Dewsbury Minster in October.
The Rev Robb Sutherland joined the Morley Team Ministry in August 2009 and since then the congregations have grown to appreciate the rock music-loving, long-haired, Harley Davidson-riding assistant curate.
Now he is reaching out to a new demographic, teenagers and young people who listen to heavy metal and rock but who may not see a place for themselves in the traditional church.
Embracing modern technology and communication, Mr Sutherland, 33, already runs a popular website and a blog that is read by thousands.
Now he has put together a multi-media rock mass which will be part of a day-long celebration of the translation of the King James Bible.
Dewbury Minster will welcome people in from 10.30am-3.30pm with free family activities including displays, drama, games and storytelling.
At 7pm on October 15 Mr Sutherland and his band Metanoia will lead the rock mass in a full Eucharistic setting drawing on the best traditions of rock music as well as the somewhat older traditions of the Church of England.
“It will be quite a high church experience so there is going to be a full serving team but as well there is going to be mixed media, different ways of engaging with people, and it will be a bit like a rock concert too, with the band, a grand piano and smoke machines,” he said.
“In the past I have been involved in organising services in churches with a rock band using songs by artists like Evanescence and Hoobastank, which we called The Rock Mass.
“This time it is on a much bigger scale with a massive lighting rig, three multimedia screens projecting images and a full PA.”
Mr Sutherland said that while rock music may seem like a new and radical approach, it is really a continuation of a long tradition the church has of drawing on different musical styles throughout history and from across the world.
“It is about culturally relevant worship.
“This is not a gimmick, it’s about being authentic to who you are and worshipping God in that way.”