Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On this beautiful spring day you are so much on my mind. I am very grateful for our ministry together. God blesses us with each other.
You may have noticed news reports about a special worship service that will be happening here next week with music and a message inspired by the popular singer Beyoncé. You may have heard criticisms from our fundamentalist brothers and sisters that Grace Cathedral worships Beyoncé rather than our Lord Jesus.
As supporters of the cathedral you know how important it is for us to be involved in the public life of our city and the world. A longing for justice lies at the heart of our identity. We have a tradition of engaging popular culture on issues of social justice that stretches back long before our controversial Duke Ellington Jazz Service in the mid-1960s.
I thought that it might be helpful for you to know a little bit more about this Beyoncé Mass.
The Vine, our Wednesday night (6:30 pm) contemporary worship community, was inspired by the Grace Cathedral Year of Truth theme and initiated a preaching series specifically to raise up the voices of women. Last week we focused on Mary Magdalene.
For our April 25 Vine worship service, the Rev. Yolanda Norton, Assistant Professor of Old Testament at San Francisco Theological Seminary, will be preaching. Rev. Norton created a “Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible” class at the Seminary that draws on Beyoncé’s music to raise awareness about the spiritual experience of Black women and the issues they face in our society.
We have been surprised by how much attention we have been receiving about this and do expect a large attendance at this worship service. Your friends may ask you about this. You might want to remind them that God is in all the world and that Beyoncé is made in God’s image. The church has not treated women of color fairly and it is time to face this truth.
You are welcome to join us at the Vine. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you might have after this Sunday’s 11 am service here at the cathedral.
The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young