NPR ran an interesting article regarding churches that were inspired by The Beatles 1966 film “Yellow Submarine”.
Not long after the British-made film landed in the United States, “submarine churches” attracted urban, young people. They adopted the outline of a yellow submarine with a small cross on its periscope as their symbol and displayed it alongside peace signs, flowers and other popular emblems of the 1960s.
There were enough of the churches a year after the film’s release that they operated The Submarine Church Press, which published a national directory of 40 such churches, most with mainline Protestant or Catholic roots, and held a three-day “rap session,” or conference, in Kansas City, Mo. Attendees came from New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis and Akron, Ohio.
”In the Beatles’ movie, the submarine was the place where they loved each other in a groovy way and got strength to do battle with the Blue Meanies,” Rev. Tony Nugent, a former co-pastor of a submarine church in Berkeley, Calif., told The New York Times in 1970. “It also shows that a church has to have flexibility and maneuverability.”
When a group of so-called radical Christians attended the National Council of Churches’ 1969 convention, they had a slogan: “The submarine church is surfacing.”
As you might imagine a lot of it was based on John Lennon’s song “All You Need is Love”. Apparently you needed more than this since these submarine churches soon passed below the surface. Not exactly surprising – “Imagine there are no submarine churches” to paraphrase Lennon. Pretty easy to do. I never really thought about how one-sided these lyrics were. All about receiving Love.