The idea for the church was started when friends Rob Byrne, Roger Kiralfy, and George Papachristodoulou decided to combine their love of Christ with their love of heavy metal music. The church also doesn’t hold their worship gatherings in what most would consider a traditional church building. They meet in a nightclub called Tap N Tin every first Sunday of the month.
Fire and Blood church uses The Metal Bible in their services, a special Bible edition geared toward metal music lovers. The Metal Bible contains the New Living Translation’s version of the New Testament as well as testimonies from popular Christian and non-Christian heavy-metal bands, including musicians like Korn’s Brian Welch, Stryper’s Michael Sweet, Tourniquet’s Ted Kirkpatrick, and Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrain. The Metal Bible was created in order to reach heavy-metal lovers for the gospel. Steve Rowe of the Christian band Mortification calls The Metal Bible “the best tool for evangelization ever!”
Papachristodoulou shared with BBC News, “I think that God placed me in the area to start a metal community based on the Christian faith. Everything the metal culture stands for is very close to the Christian ethos.”
“We’d never encourage someone to listen to music that drives them away from God,” Byrne, who is ordained in the Church of England, explained. “We really want to challenge the stuffy stereotypes that exist about Christians.”
In an interview last year, Byrne said, “If you study the Gospels and observe who Jesus spent the majority of his time with, it was with folks the religious establishment of that era often looked down upon — Christ’s ministry was completely subversive and radical. In a similar spirit, we want to reach out to those who feel alienated by mainstream Christianity and introduce more of our fellow metalheads, goths, and punks to the utterly awesome reality of Jesus Christ.”
Church services include listening to music and themed discussions. Their Facebook page says, “God made Heavy Metal and He saw it was good. And He gave it to humans to make magic out of it.”
One of the church’s leaders said that not everyone is on board with what they are doing, especially atheists. Papachristodoulou said, “We were expecting to have issues with Christians judging us, [but] the atheists were the ones that tried to fault us more. We’ve had some quite interesting conversations on Facebook.”
Kiralfy, who loves heavy-metal music, shared that the church gives him an opportunity to be himself and “talk to people with similar tastes” as him.