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
Friends of Grace,
I’d like to share some exciting news!
New churches and yoga studios are popping up all over SF. A hunger for authentic spirituality and a thirst for real community, is driving a spiritual Gold Rush in this city of dreamer and innovators. Over the last several months, I’ve been praying and visioning with a committed group of friends about how Grace Cathedral might serve the changing spiritual needs of our city in a new way. The culmination of that loving process, this Wednesday we launched “The Vine,” a new community at the cathedral for urbanites and spiritual seekers.
Our community is all about creating new connections as we explore, experience and share the transformative love of Jesus with the Bay Area together. Whether it’s through powerful, contemporary worship on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. in the cathedral, or the smaller gatherings throughout the city, our “Grace Groups” on weekends and weeknights, or fun opportunities to serve our city together we know you’ll find a place to connect. Grace Cathedral has been a “House of Prayer for All People” seeking and serving the city we love for over a hundred years. We will continue to embody our tradition of progressive values as we also step out in this new, exciting direction.
Grace is more than a word, more than a theological concept; it’s an experience. When we know we belong, when we can be ourselves and be loved, when we know we have a home – that’s grace. I hope you’ll check us out on Wednesday night. God makes us to flourish in community. God makes us for grace. Grace is making a place for you.
Founding Pastor of The Vine & Director of Innovative Ministry