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The pastor of an Episcopal church that held a 'Beyoncé Mass' last Wednesday for a crowd of more than 900 people defended his decision to do so.
The special worship service, given by guest Revered Yolanda Norton, at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, highlighted Beyoncé's music and how it relates to the spiritual experience of black women as well as the issues they face in society.
Pastor - Jude - Harmon - Sermon - Church
Pastor Jude Harmon explained of the sermon at his church: 'We're following in the way of Jesus,' in a statement seen on WND.
Harmon added: 'I know there are people who will say using Beyoncé is just a cheap way of trying to get people in the church.
Jesus - Images - Stories - People - Questions
'But Jesus used very provocative images in the stories he would tell to incite people to ask hard questions about their own religious assumptions. He regularly provoked.'
Norton, Assistant Professor of Old Testament at San Francisco Theological Seminary, preached the message which she came up from her class 'Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible'.
Service - Vine - Church - Ministry - Services
The unique service was organized by the Vine, the church's contemporary ministry, which holds services every Wednesday night that are aimed at young worshippers.
The church told ABC that on a typical Wednesday night roughly 50 people attend the Vine's non-traditional mass. More than 900 people turned out for the April 25 service, Reverend Jude Harmon said.
'We - Response - Outlet - Kind - Exploration
'We didn't expect this response,' he told the outlet. 'We thought it would be kind of a small exploration as a community about what it means to lift up black female voices because traditionally the church hasn't done a great job of that.'
The large cathedral was dimly lit with purple lights for the evening service. As guests filed into the church, Beyoncé songs like 'Freakum Dress' and 'Countdown'...
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