Vicar rocks the flocks with Queen

THE SPIRIT of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, who died a year ago, lives on at St Augustine's Anglican Church in Bradford. Three hundred people filled the church earlier this month for a new multi-media production based on Queen's hit records. It was written and presented by the vicar.

The Gospel According to Queen, says the Rev Robin Gamble, 'uses the words and feelings of Queen's songs to talk about life, materialism, God and eternity'. It has been such a success that next month, with his Bishop's blessing, he will take the glad tidings on the road.

'We are reaching out into secular society and using secular language to communicate,' said Mr Gamble, 39. 'It is a chance to make deep spiritual statements without using traditional religious language.'

The show is no mere tribute to the music of the bisexual pop star who had Aids and died in November last year. Produced by a 25-strong team, it incorporates giant images of Freddie projected on to the church roof, video screens and a live band playing theologically profound Queen numbers such as 'I Want It All', 'I Want To Be Free', 'Who Wants To Live For Ever?' and 'You're My Best Friend'.

Mr Gamble, the compere, also introduces Queen quizzes, competitions and a Freddie Mercury lookalike competition. But it is not just aimed at the group's fans. 'We are trying to talk about God to people who are normally a million miles away from God.'

Mr Gamble, vicar at St Augustine's for 10 years, had the idea after hearing Freddie Mercury singing 'Who Wants To Live For Ever', which struck him as 'a cry against death, a cry for something other than mortality'. He played it to his congregation at Easter, and was well received.

'It dawned on me that Freddie Mercury was an icon of the greedy, get-rich-quick Eighties,' he said. 'But another side of him was asking very important questions about the meaning of life.'

While not suggesting the late singer led a particularly Christian lifestyle - he was a Zoroastrian - Mr Gamble says: 'Freddie Mercury was prone to be a self-centred and sin

ful man and every single member of the Church of England is exactly the same. I might not have Aids but I am dying of other diseases of self-centredness.'

Brian May, Queen's guitarist, has met the vicar and approves of his presentation. But there is some opposition. Mr Gamble attributes that to non-churchgoers 'who believe the Church should be a religious version of the National Trust and nothing new should

happen'.

David Smith, the Bishop of Bradford, has not yet seen The Gospel According to Queen himself, but describes it as 'very imaginative'.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory