Rave church seeks a leader

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Church officials will this week select a replacement for the shamed "rave" vicar, Chris Brain, who was sacked last year after for sexually abusing female members of his congregation.

Representatives of the Sheffield-based Nine O'Clock Service said yesterday that they are to interview five candidates for the job of chaplain.

Under Mr Brain's control the Nine O'Clock Service featured overhead projections, pounding music and Mr Brain in Messianic robes. Men in T-shirts and mini-skirted female members of the congregation created an ambience that was part-cathedral, part-nightclub.

The Communion service was often celebrated by Mr Brain rubbing his chest with soil in the sign of the cross. Instead of bread for the host, worshippers were given hamburgers. After the congregation had drunk the wine, the blood of Christ, some danced.

An advertisement for the chaplain's post in the Church Times sparked applications from all over the world, although all the short-listed candidates are from Britain.

Alan Gibson, a churchwarden at the Nine O'Clock Service, said: "It will be quite a different position for the new chaplain. To a large extent the role will have to be worked out as we go along. The NOS is much smaller now, and things are inevitably different because of that."

Mr Brain, who was banned from practising by church authorities, is now believed to be in America trying to establish a career as a rock musician.