Support the Café
Search our site

Grace Cathedral’s Beyoncé Mass draws faithful crowd

Reports on Grace Cathedral’s Beyoncé Mass:

Mother Jones

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.”

San Francisco Chronicle

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.

Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café