Reports on Grace Cathedral’s Beyoncé Mass:
We Went to “Beyoncé Mass” and It Was Glorious
Grace Cathedral’s congregation is “Crazy in Love”…with Jesus.
Grace Cathedral, an historic Episcopal church known for its commitment to social justice, hosted its “Beyonce Mass” as part of a weekly worship series intended to uplift the experiences of women and appeal to young worshippers. The unconventional service featured a sermon about liberation struggle, readings from a speech by civil rights leader Ella Baker, scripture readings by black women, a traditional communion, and of course, the singing of Beyoncé songs. A gospel soloist backed by a choir and live band performed Beyonce’s songs “Listen,” “Freedom,” “Flaws and All,” and “I Was Here,” as well as “Survivor,” a hit by Beyonce’s original girl group Destiny’s Child.
The sermon was delivered by Rev. Yolanda Norton, a professor at the San Francisco Theological Seminary who specializes in black feminist interpretations of the Bible, and who helped organize the service….
Beyoncé received acclaim for her 2016 album Lemonade, which was widely interpreted as a reflection on both the hurt that black women sometimes experience in romantic relationships and the trauma they’ve endured over generations from the double-whammy of being black and female in America. But the lyrics to many of her songs, when viewed as a conversation with God, are ripe for use as hymns, Norton adds.
As an example, she cites “Flaws and All” from Beyoncé’s sophomore album B’Day: “She talks about being a train wreck. She talks about, ‘When I need attention I tend to nag.’ All the things that she says in there, whoever she’s talking to, if we make that in our worship a song to God, that’s exactly what we do,” Norton says. “So put that into that context and then have this chorus, ‘I don’t know why you love me, and that’s why I love you.’ That to me is a perfect conversation with God.”
A diverse crowd of many ages, races and denominations snaked through the courtyard at Grace Cathedral Wednesday night, waiting for the doors to open at the church’s first-ever Beyoncé Mass.
Staff at the Episcopal cathedral estimated that over 900 people came to the celebration of the traditional service using the music and social philosophy of the pop star.
Produced by Grace Cathedral’s contemporary-culture-themed ministry called the Vine, founded by the Rev. Jude Harmon, the Mass is one of a three-part series at Grace called “Speaking Truth: The Power of Story in Community,” which aims to tell stories of those traditionally marginalized in Christianity, such as women and people of color.
— Grace Cathedral (@gracecathedral) April 27, 2018
— Brandon Patterson (@myblackmindd) April 26, 2018
— Amen, Praise God! (@amenpraisepod) April 26, 2018