A service of Holy Communion with a difference provided the grand finale to a weekend of community celebrations and activities in Boston Spa.

The annual Boston Spa Weekend Festival, now in its fourth year, features community groups, local businesses, artists, musicians and residents coming together in a series of events, exhibitions and activities which the whole community and visitors can engage in.

St Mary’s Church has always been involved in the festival, and, as in previous years, offered children’s activities and afternoon teas.

This year, as a newcomer to the village, The Revd Nick Morgan was keen to offer a church service to round off proceedings and so invited the Rock Mass from Holy Nativity Church in Mixenden and Illingworth, Halifax, to St Mary’s Church.

A congregation of around 100 people came to a service themed on the Christian symbol of fire and including a sermon in which Nick set flash paper alight. Music included songs by Metallica, Lenny Kravitz, U2 and a rock version of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’.

“Rock Mass is, at its heart, a ‘normal’ Church of England service of Holy Communion” explains Nick, “but uses stadium rock and heavy metal music, together with a full lighting rig, smoke machine and video projections to bring the drama of the Communion service to life in a way which is rather different to what we do here week by week.

"Any service of Holy Communion is, by its very nature, a drama, a celebration and a community event. It always has been a feast for the senses, but Rock Mass highlights what we do in every Communion service in a loud and lavish, contemporary way.

"We’ve no plans to offer this spectacular kind of service regularly, but I hope that Rock Mass has helped people engage with the Christian faith in a new way. Even if they simply enjoyed the spectacle of it all, I hope everyone would agree it was a fitting way to end the Festival with a bang, flash and Alleluia!”


  • Rock Mass is a monthly service at Holy Nativity Church in Mixenden and Illingworth, Halifax. They meet on the third Sunday of the month at 6pm with music led by the band Metanoia.