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Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco hosts Drag Queen Bible Story Hour


Flamy Grant and Joanne Fabrixxx help about 80 attendees celebrate God’s expansive love

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

Joanne Fabrixxx, otherwise known as the Rev. Sam Lundquist, was one of two drag queens who presented during last month’s Drag Queen Bible Story Hour at Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Calvary Presbyterian Church)

LOUISVILLE — Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco celebrated Father’s Day this year in an innovative and memorable way not commonly seen in churches across the PC(USA).

That afternoon, about 80 people gathered in the church’s chapel to celebrate Drag Queen Bible Story Hour featuring Flamy Grant and Joanne Fabrixxx, also known as Matthew Blake-Lovegood and the Rev. Sam Lundquist, associate pastor at nearby St. John’s Presbyterian Church. Watch Drag Queen Bible Story Hour here.

“We hoped to balance the hateful rhetoric that’s floating around and the laws that target drag queens and LGBTQ people,” said the Rev. Victor Floyd, who was ordained by the United Church of Christ and is minister of spiritual care at Calvary Presbyterian Church. “It was a fabulous experience” that received thoughtful news coverage despite hate mail sent to Floyd and others, enough to spur security precautions. “When the devil gets angry with us,” Floyd said, “we’re on the right track.”

About 12 children attended the event, more than were present during worship that morning, Floyd noted. “We felt like we have been passive long enough and needed to be more proactive,” Floyd said. A former church member drove about 90 miles to witness Drag Queen Bible Story Hour, telling Floyd, “I’ve been waiting 69 years for this.”

Cracking open the “Growing in God’s Love” story Bible, Joanne Fabrixxx read the account of God appearing to Moses in the burning bush, Exodus 3:1-15, to children seated at her feet. Children and others created their own burning bush artwork, completing “I am” statements with “curious,” “flexible,” “kind,” “thoughtful,” and, from Floyd, “not giving up.”

Flamy Grant’s alter ego is Matthew Blake-Lovegood. (Photo courtesy of Calvary Presbyterian Church)

Flamy Grant’s musical selections included Amy Grant’s “El Shaddai,” “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman,” and two of her own songs, “What Did You Drag Me Into” and “I Am Not Ashamed,” a song “I wrote for my church in San Diego,” she said.

“Singer/songwriters,” according to Flamy Grant, “sing about the world we want to live in.”

Drag Queen Bible Story Hour was a benefit for Trans HeartLine, a house where transgender people having affirmation surgery can come and receive a radical welcome, support and loving care. The event raised $1,500 for Trans HeartLine.

Representing Trans HeartLine, the Rev. Janie Spahr told those gathered for Drag Queen Bible Story Hour that faith communities deliver food and services to the facility for people in need. “Do you know what it means for trans people, many of whom have been thrown out by their faith communities, to be fed by people and loved by people?” Spahr said. Those delivering food to Trans HeartLine “ask nothing else but for them to eat well and be well.”

During the Pride Parade the weekend after Drag Queen Bible Story Hour, 19 church members marched and handed out 2,500 pieces of Calvary Presbyterian Church swag, including hand fans bearing “Not today Satan” messages. Floyd said the church’s campaign this year uses the theme “God: The Original They/Them.”

The Rev. Victor Floyd is the minister of spiritual care at Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Calvary Presbyterian Church)

“I told the congregation before we left for the parade, ‘You will never be cheered for as a church except during the Pride Parade,’” Floyd said. “They were thrilled to be walking down the street in a Calvary T-shirt. I told them that in my mind, maybe that’s what Jesus felt like riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. People were cheering and hoping for a better state of affairs, this time for LGBT people.”

As Drag Queen Bible Story Hour was coming to an end, Floyd offered a benediction. “I hope you have received a blessing in this hour,” Floyd said. “I have, and I have enough to share with you if you didn’t.”

Quoting John 14:27, Floyd added, “the blessings of God — Creator, Christ, Holy Spirit, these three — they go with you this day on every step of your pilgrim journey. Let the church say, ‘Amen.’”

“If you can’t love yourself,” Floyd reasoned, “how in the heck can you love someone else?”

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