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'Beyoncé Mass' is 'womanist' church worship service that weaves iconic singer's tunes with the Bible


'I think Beyoncé is a better theologian that many of the pastors and priests in our church today. That is not an exaggeration.'

Beyonce performing at the 2017 Grammy Awards. (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)

Despite the 2018 Vice Identity video that calls it "The Church Service That Worships Beyoncé," the minister who launched the "Beyoncé Mass" insisted to Vibe that it's nothing of the sort.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

"I'm not worshipping Beyoncé, and I'm not encouraging anyone to worship her," Rev. Yolanda Norton told the outlet of the "womanist" church service. "I'm very clear that this is a Christian worship service, and we're just using the music to tell a story about black women and to provide an alternative vision of who and what the church can be — and we know that can be intimidating to people."

Image source: YouTube screenshot

What is the Beyoncé Mass?

Norton created the church worship service bearing the famed singer's name last year, Vibe said, and it uses Beyoncé's inspirational songs along with the Bible.

Norton — who taught the class "Beyoncé and The Hebrew Bible" at San Francisco Theology Seminary — added to the outlet that the Beyoncé Mass also is "about respectability politics, the commodification of the body, sexuality, motherhood, and relationships because these are all very real to black women. We build from that to talk about how all of these issues show up in the Bible."

Image source: YouTube screenshot

The first Beyoncé Mass was held at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, which attracted over 500 people — up from the normal head count of 50 attendees, Vibe said.

"Honestly, I think Beyoncé is a better theologian that many of the pastors and priests in our church today," Rev. Jude Harmon of Grace Cathedral told Vice Identity. "That is not an exaggeration."

Image source: YouTube screenshot

And as for comparisons to Kanye West's Sunday Services?

"I've been in ministry for 12 years," Norton told Vibe. "I've been ordained for six years, and I'm a trained theologian. I have a decade's worth of education in the field. I lead with theology and the mission of Christ. Again, it's a very different thing. He's a performer — I'm not. That doesn't work for what I'm doing. What I can do is attempt to construct a meaningful conversation about God and Christianity."

Another Beyoncé Mass takes place 7 p.m. Thursday at Harlem's St. James Presbyterian Church, the outlet said. Norton told Vibe that the church's minister, the Rev. Derrick McQueen, "is an out gay male and has a Ph.D. in ethics."

And it's the kind of church that Norton is looking for to spread the Beyoncé Mass — "inclusive, affirming" places, she added to the outlet.

The Church Service that Worships Beyonce

(H/T: The Christian Post)

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