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St. John Coltrane Church faces eviction

St. John Coltrane Church faces eviction

RNS reportsSt. John Coltrane Church, a 48-year-old institution in this city’s Fillmore District, just south of swankier Pacific Heights,” has agreed to vacate its rented space at the end of April:

Sunday Masses are built on a live performance of “A Love Supreme,” a 33-minute opus that saxophonist Coltrane wrote to express the awesomeness of God.

Church officials say the landlord stopped accepting their monthly $1,600 rent checks two years ago and attempted eviction last September. That was averted with a petition of 4,000 signatures, way more than the church’s worldwide membership of 700. Now, landlord Floyd Trammell — himself a pastor at another church — has agreed to withdraw eviction proceedings if the church will peacefully vacate by the end of April.

The Rev. Franzo W. King, the church’s founder, archbishop and sax player, and his wife, Mother Marina King, started the church after attending a Coltrane show in 1965. As Nicholas Baham III recounts it in his book “The Coltrane Church: Apostles of Sound, Agents of Social Justice,” the pair were out for fun, but had a spiritual experience. “They had what they call a ‘sound baptism,’” Baham, a professor of ethnic studies at California State University, East Bay, said in a telephone interview. “They saw the Holy Ghost walk out on stage with John Coltrane and the movement started from there.”

A version of “A Love Supreme” that I grew up with:


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Eric Metoyer

Archbishop Franzo King and his family and his church have been fearless supporters of social justice in San Francisco for decades, taking on it’s principalities and powers regarding tenants rights, food injustice, economic injustice, and extra judicial killings. They are also one of the founders of the San Francisco Interfaith Council.
Worship at Coltrane Church is lively and spirit filled and not forgotten, I strongly recommend a visit. My prayers are with them as they seek a new home in the difficult San Francisco real estate market.
Episcopalians may note the African Orthodox Church was founded by a former PECUSA priest, Fr G A McGuire, in the 1920’s.

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