The raving reverend
By thisislancashire – Wednesday 19 December 2001
A RAVING reverend joined clubbers for carols with a difference when he went to Heaven to spread the word of God.
Clubbing curate the Rev Philip Chew of St Laurence in Chorley performed a rave version of carol Ding Dong Merrily on High as part of the opening ceremony at the new Heaven and Hell nightclub.
The former rock musician, who was born and brought up in Blackburn, had been invited by contacts in the music business to lead the official unveiling of the new club in Stockport, Cheshire.
And Mr Chew took to his new flock — some dressed as angels and devils — with delight, dancing in his dog collar and telling clubbers that Jesus loved a party.
Mr Chew, 39, said: “I did a club version of ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ and we finished with pyrotechnics going off.
“It was quite an anxious time as it was obviously a difficult place to preach the gospel in. I was doing it off the cuff and trying to get the balance right. It seemed to work out alright — I wasn’t lynched and they got into the spirit of it. When I mentioned my faith they all shouted ‘Hallelujah’ and they all joined in when we did the carol.”
Mr Chew, who will take over as vicar of St Stephen’s in Burnley in March, is a former member of Blackburn-based band Euro-K who toured throughout the North-West in the early 80s and who were great friends with other Blackburn almost-famous rockers The Stiffs.
He said: “I still write and perform music and the club opening was a great opportunity for me to get to an audience the church might not normally reach.”
A spokesman for the Blackburn Diocese said: “This was a fun occasion which Philip used with courage and imagination to share his Christian faith.
“The invitation came from the club and Philip was able to respond appropriately and through the positive response he received was able to show that the Church has both a message to share and a sense of humour with which to share it.”