A woManist worship service
HOW BLACK WOMEN FIND THEIR VOICE, REPRESENT THE IMAGE OF GOD,
AND CREATE SPACES FOR LIBERATION
What is Beyoncé Mass?
What if “Flaws and All” was a song about a complicated relationship with God?
And “Survivor” spoke to how Black women thrive even as they’re undervalued and underestimated?
Beyoncé Mass is a womanist worship service that uses the music and personal life of Beyoncé as a tool to foster an empowering conversation about Black women—their lives, their bodies, and their voices.
Based on the scholarship of Rev. Yolanda Norton, the H. Eugene Farlough Chair of Black Church Studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary, this groundbreaking spiritual experience gathered over 1000 people at its inaugural event in San Francisco.
GOT MORE QUESTIONS? READ OUR FAQs.
REVEREND YOLANDA NORTON
Rev. Yolanda M. Norton is the H. Eugene Farlough Chair of Black Church Studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Her womanist scholarship explores how Scripture treats foreign women and how this has led to the oppression of women of color who encounter the Bible today. She is also a PhD candidate in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel and Theology and Practice Fellow at Vanderbilt University.
Rev. Norton is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and she holds a Master of Divinity and Master of Theological Studies degree from Wesley Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Syracuse University.
Sam Lundquist is a senior divinity student at San Francisco Theological Seminary dedicated to reimagining Christian worship and community in the diverse, urban spaces of today. Prior to pursuing ministry, he worked as a creative director in theme parks and branded entertainment. His past clients have included Harry Potter, Walt Disney Imagineering, Warner Bros., Universal Studios, and Dollywood.
Sam is a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Southern California.
HBO VICE News | Broadly
“Vice’s Broadly recently attended a jam-packed Beyoncé Mass held at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, which was organized by reverend and theologian Yolanda Norton, who teaches a class on Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible where she uses the pop idol's songs to interpret biblical scripture through a black feminist lens.”
NEW YORK TIMES
San Francisco’s Spiritual Bastion Gets Behind Its Beyoncé Mass
“We use ‘Flaws and All,’” a song maybe she wrote for her fans or for Jay-Z,” she said.
“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.”
San Francisco Church To Observe Beyoncé Mass To Lift Up The Marginalized Voices Of Black Women
“This is a service that uses Beyoncé’s music as a tool to engender positive, empowering conversation about Black women. The premise of this work 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.”
ARE YOU WORSHIPING BEYONCÉ?
No. Beyoncé Mass is a Christian worship service that is open to all. It does not deify Beyoncé. The worship service uses Beyoncé’s life and music as a tool to engender positive, empowering conversations about Black women.
WHAT IS WOMANISM?
Beyoncé Mass is a womanist worship service. Womanism recognizes and celebrates the lives, beauty, culture, spirituality, and experiences of Black women and is committed to the survival, well-being, and wholeness of all people.
WHERE DID THE BEYONCÉ MASS START?
Beyoncé Mass evolved out of a chapel service developed by students in Rev. Yolanda Norton’s class “Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible” at San Francisco Theological Seminary. The class explored female-centric interpretations of the Bible and how Scripture reflects Black female identity. Like the worship service, the class explored how Beyonce’s personal life, career trajectory, music and public persona reflects aspects of Black women’s stories.
WHEN WAS THE FIRST BEYONCÉ MASS?
The inaugural Beyoncé Mass took place on April 25, 2018 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and gathered over 1000 people.
CAN I HOST A BEYONCÉ MASS AT MY CHURCH, SEMINARY, OR ORGANIZATION?
Yes! Contact us using the booking form below to discuss how we can bring the service to your community.
Are you interested in hosting the Beyoncé Mass with your faith community, seminary, nonprofit, or community organization? We’re always looking for new partnerships.