San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral plans on hosting a Beyoncé mass this week in honor of the history-making singer. The service, scheduled to take place tomorrow, will also include Queen Bey’s music along with Bible readings, prayers, and communion.
Reverend Yolanda Norton, who will preside over the mass, say it’s misunderstood. “There’s been pushback. There has been a misunderstanding about what we’re doing and even from people in the church,” she told The New York Times. “But this is about bringing people together, not pulling them apart.”
Speaking with Essence, she also explained the concept further. “This is not a service deifying Beyoncé,” she explained. “This is a service that uses Beyoncé’s music as a tool to engender positive, empowering conversation about black women. The premise of [the class] is that if we look at the personal life, career trajectory, music and public persona of Beyoncé, so much of her life reflects aspects of black women’s stories.”
Norton said some of Bey’s work connects with her own religious reflections. “We use ‘Flaws and All,’ a song maybe she wrote for her fans or for Jay-Z,” she explained. “But if you listen to the words in an ecclesiastical context, it’s a very faithful, honest, raw acknowledgment of the imperfect relationship we have with God.”
The Beyoncé mass is part of the “Speaking Truth: The Power of Story in Community” series. It will reportedly take place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Apr. 25) at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.