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Monday, 3 February, 2003, 13:38 GMT
Teenagers invited to church rave
Cymmer Apostolic Church
The rave was held at a church in Rhondda
A rave replaced the traditional sermon at a special service for young people at a south Wales church on Sunday night.

The event aimed to try and change the way teenagers think about religion by using dance and music.

It is all Christian-based music really to reach young people in the area and to show that it is cool to be Christian

Ian Willis, Focal point

About 120 youngsters from the Capel Farm estate in Tonyrefail were invited to the rave at the Apostolic Church in Cymmer, Porth.

It was run by Christian charity Rhondda Focal Point who drove many of the youngsters to the venue in limousines.

"The rave uses hard house garage, techno, rap, dance and trance music with a Christian DJ," said Ian Willis from Focal Point.

"It is all Christian-based music really to reach young people in the area and to show that it is cool to be Christian.

"It was an excellent night and it was amazing to see the amount of young people in church enjoying themselves.

People dancing at a generic rave
Raves are not usually held in churches

"We wanted to present the church in a radical way.

"The majority of the young people who came would never have come to church before.

"It was amazing to see them having such a good time," he said.

The rave was wholly funded by the Tonyrefail-based Focal Point, which has been running since 1999.

the church rave was one of several which have been held by the charity in other venues in the area.

"Focal Point has a second-hand shop in the town and uses half of the money it raises to go to good work in the community, and the other half is spent on young people," said Mr Willis.

"We want to be able to pump money into events like the Powerhouse rave so that young people don't have to dip into their pockets," he added.

I am aware that the churches are not reaching into young people's lives

Pastor Keith Day

Pastor Keith Day of the Apostolic Church in Cymmer said: "You should have seen the smile on my face when I saw all the young people enjoying themselves.

"Seeing them off the streets in a non-threatening environment with no drink or drugs and having fun was just amazing.

"I am aware that the churches are not reaching into young people's lives.

"There is a relevance gap and that culture gap is so big that we can't bridge it under normal circumstances.

"The music, the lyrics of the songs, the dances - all these will communicate the heart of the Christian gospel.

"I am aware that the future of Wales rests in the hands of these young people and I am frustrated that few people are doing anything so little for them," he added.

One of the teenagers who attended the event said: "It was such a laugh, really good fun. I would normally have been sitting at home bored."


More from south east Wales
See also:

22 Jan 03 | England
14 Dec 02 | Wales
27 Aug 02 | England
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