Lonely Planet Writer

Shine up your halo at this Beyoncé mass in San Francisco

Beyoncé’s cosmic performance at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival last weekend lifted souls and broke the internet. Now Grace Cathedral in San Francisco is hoping to tap into Queen Bey’s spirit-swelling powers by offering a mass celebrating her music and accomplishments.

Beyonce to be honored with a mass in San Francisco
Beyonce Knowles performs onstage during the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 21, 2018 in Indio, California. Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Coachella

The service, on Wednesday, 25 April, is hosted by the Vine — a weekly gathering that pairs contemporary worship with great music, according to the church website. Rev. Yolanda Norton will deliver a sermon and discuss how Ms Knowles creates art that opens a window into the lives of the marginalized and forgotten — particularly black females.

“This is about Beyonce’s life, her music, her agency as a black woman and what that represents for how black women walk in the world as spiritual and complicated individuals,” Norton told HuffPost.

Grace Cathedral to host a celebration of Beyonce
Grace Cathedral located on San Francisco’s Nob Hill. Photo by: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images.

Rev. Norton is an assistant professor of Old Testament at San Francisco Theological Seminary where she teaches a class dubbed “Beyoncé & the Bible.” The class explores black female sexuality and motherhood and stigmas around black women through the life, persona and music of Beyoncé.

During Wednesday’s event, scripture will be read by women of color and attendees will have the opportunity to belt out Beyoncé tunes with fellow worshippers.

“In this year where there’s been so much conversation about the role of women and communities of color, we felt a need to lift up the voices that the church has traditionally suppressed,” Rev. Jude Harmon, founding pastor of the Vine, told SFGate.

Beyonce's golden halo at the 2017 Grammy awards
Beyonce performs onstage during The 59th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles. Photo by: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS

With Beyoncé’s recent use of religious iconography, it’s no accident that her art has inspired discussions of female spirituality. During her Grammy performance in 2017, she wore a golden halo and invoked a range female deities from the African water goddess, Oshun to the Hindu mother of the universe, Durga. With nods to The Last Supper, Black Madonna and the Virgin Mary the performance paid homage to Christian symbolism as well. And when twins Sir & Rumi Carter were born, Beyoncé presented them to her Bey-hive with an Instagram image that directly referenced the Virgin Mary cradling the baby Jesus.

The Beyoncé Mass is part of a three-part series held at the Nob Hill church called “Speaking Truth: The Power of Story in Community.”