Simon Klemenjak does some street dance moves and throws his hands up in the air to cheer on the crowd before he starts singing to the techno beat in front of the altar in the Church of All Saints in Stockholm.
Instead of praying silently and singing gentle hymns, the congregation inside raves to techno sounds in ultraviolet lighting at Friday’s “techno Mass” — more like a disco at a youth center than a service conducted by the Lutheran church.
“It was an awesome feeling,” an ecstatic Klemenjak, 21, said after his performance of the song “Never Leave Me”, which has been independently composed by youth at the church in Swedish capital’s hip Sodermalm district.
It is the church’s latest attempt at attracting young congregations in a country where attendance at services has been dwindling for decades.
The church fills up for this thing.
The service started with organ music and choir singing but soon broke into powerful techno beats to loud approving claps, shouts and cheers. People jumped up and danced at their seats while disco lights swirled over the ornamented wooden ceilings.
“It was superfun, it was really kicking, I didn’t think it would be this good before I came,” said Ella Schwarz, 15. “The church isn’t really my kind of thing, but after this it seems like it is great,” she said.
Well, gosh. More:
The church in Sweden has become increasingly progressive.
In 1958, it allowed its first female priests, and two years ago ordained its first openly gay bishop, Eva Brunne, and gave priests the right to wed same-sex couples.
[Rave mass organizer Olle] Idestrom says his modern Mass is a further development on the road of progress.
“People say this is exactly what the Church of Sweden needs,” he said.
People do? Yeah, some people say this is exactly what the church needs in America. A-one, anna two…
Progress: is there anything it can’t justify?