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New Zealand’s first U2charist

MEDIA RELEASE

2 November 2006

Shake, Raffle and Roll for New Zealand’s first U2charist

Calling all fans of U2, people looking for a thought-provoking and entertaining night out, and those who want to help make a difference. On November 17 at 8pm join St Matthew-in-the-City and Oxfam New Zealand in their effort to MakePovertyHistory by being part of a ‘U2charist’ - an event never seen before in New Zealand.

The U2charist is a radically different worship service held at the historic St Matthew-in-the-City church. It will feature the music of U2, a band that has never promoted themselves as a Christian band, but whose biblically rich lyrics and social justice messages have reached out to a wide range of people, and have helped make them one of the greatest bands in music history. It is an event for the religious and non-religious alike - people of all faiths or no faith at all will feel welcome and included. Everyone is welcome if love is to transform a world broken by war, hunger and disease.

The U2charist is an event where each individual can make a difference. Become aware. Wear a white MakePovertyHistory wristband. Sign petitions to the nation’s leaders. Donate to Oxfam New Zealand. Sing U2 hits that transform the heart. Pray.

Recent media coverage of U2’s lead singer Bono’s commitment to the MakePovertyHistory campaign has brought to light the need for more attention and effort for this worthy cause. In a world divided by nationality, age, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, distribution of wealth and belief, U2’s visit to New Zealand gives us a unique opportunity to come together in mutual appreciation for a purpose greater than ourselves.

Since the first U2charist was organised under the guidance of the Reverend Paige Blair at St George’s Episcopal Church on the southern coast of Maine it has crossed the United States, travelled to Britain and throughout Europe, over to Latin America, Asia and Australia and now to New Zealand.

Local Auckland band The Believers will bring the music of U2 to life and a number of special guest stars will speak at the event. Barry Coates, Executive Director of Oxfam NZ, Dave Gibson of popular New Zealand band Elemeno P, and Bono himself (via video) will rally New Zealanders to promote the United Nation’s Development Millennium Goals. These include halving extreme poverty with fair trade; reducing debt in the world’s poorest countries; providing more aid and better quality aid to feed the hungry; reducing violence against women and children; preventing HIV/AIDS and treating its 11 million sufferers in Africa alone; giving clean water to the world’s poorest; providing universal primary education and restoring millions of refugees to safe, adequate housing.

Admission to the U2charist is free and donations will be collected on the night for Oxfam New Zealand. To further support the cause, buy a raffle ticket to win two corporate tickets with inner circle access to U2’s Saturday 25 November concert at Ericsson Stadium. Tickets can be ordered by phone on 09 379 0625 and each ticket costs $20. No more than 1,000 tickets to be sold. The winner will be drawn at the U2charist.

WHEN: Friday, 17 November. Music begins at 7:45pm, U2charist begins at 8pm
WHERE: St Matthew-in-the-City, corner of Wellesley & Hobson Streets, Auckland
Seating and standing room is limited, so come early.

ENDS

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