Happy-clappy, or Happy clappers, is a derogatory term originating in the United Kingdom, referring to a style of Christian worship particularly evident in Evangelical and Pentecostal churches. The term came into household knowledge in that country in the late 1990s after a reported remark by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie, criticising what he perceived as the shallowness of such worship.
This style of worship involves joyful congregational worship songs, often accompanied by acoustic guitars and drums in which the congregation clap along to the rhythm of the song, or raise one or both hands in the air, and occasionally dance. Christian critics of this style of worship, of which Runcie was one, object to what they perceive as simply the rousing of emotion rather than properly focusing on God. Supporters counter that this style is more relevant and therefore accessible to ordinary people.
Unlike many derogatory terms, it has not been adopted by groups that practice it, who prefer to call it "charismatic" or "spirit-led" worship.
- Andrew Brown (10 February 1997). "Runcie and the long melancholy roar". The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media Limited. Retrieved 3 December 2012.