Nine O’Clock church relaunches raves
By the daily telegraph – Monday April 8 1996
Copyright: the daily telegraph
THE Nine O’Clock service, the Anglican rave movement that collapsed amid allegations of sexual abuse last summer, is relaunching itself under a new guise today by celebrating its first public service for eight months.
Despite doubts over the wisdom of restarting services so soon after what was one of the Church of England’s most damaging scandals, today’s ceremony will be presided over by the Archdeacon of Sheffield, the Ven Stephen Lowe.
The congregation will be drawn from the remnants of the Nine O’Clock parish, which broke up after revelations that the Rev Chris Brain, 38, its former leader, had been sexually involved with scores of women.
They have devised a new service
Members are keen to distance themselves from the past. They have devised a new service, though one still based on the experimental forms of worship that have been criticised by traditionalist Anglicans. The parish is also seeking a new name, and a chaplain is expected to be appointed this month.
Two weeks ago, members of the congregation and Mr Lowe held a “releasing ritual” at which they placed their hands on a “grieving stone” as a symbolic way of releasing their bad memories of the Nine O’Clock Service. They then threw brochures, posters and other paraphernalia on to a fire.
Jo Mear, a member for 10 years, said: “When I held the grieving stone, I expressed my anger towards Chris and I felt cleansed by it.”
Today’s Easter Sunday service will take place in a whitewashed chapel rather than the sports centre, with ambient rave music and lasers favoured by Mr Brain, who resigned as a priest after a Church investigation.