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Columbia Seminary partners with Spelman College to host Atlanta stop of ‘Beyoncé Mass’

Music from the Grammy-winning singer is used to cultivate empowering conversations

by Columbia Theological Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

ATLANTA Spelman College, in partnership with Columbia Theological Seminary, will host the Beyoncé Mass at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 2, in Sisters Chapel, 440 Westview Dr. SW in Atlanta.

Created and curated by Rev. Yolanda Norton, H. Eugene Farlough Chair of Black Church Studies and assistant professor of Hebrew Bible at San Francisco Theological Seminary, the Beyoncé Mass uses music from the Grammy-winning songstress to cultivate an empowering conversation about black women.

“We’re honored to host the Beyoncé Mass. This event is a natural extension of what we stand for in Sisters Chapel, as the spiritual center of Spelman College,” said the Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry, dean of Sisters Chapel and director of the Women in Spiritual Discernment of Ministry Center. “In my role as dean, I recognize that a creative womanist approach to spirituality is necessary to sustain black women.”

The Mass serves as the kickoff to Sisters Chapel’s Women’s Herstory Month.

“During the month of March, we will honor the transformative contributions of black women to the world, particularly in the forms of liberating spiritualties and theological conviction,” said Guidry. “In so doing, we will continue to position Spelman as a beacon, not only of the mental development of black women, but also for the nourishment of their souls and their hearts.”

The inaugural Beyoncé Mass, held in April 2018 at San Francisco’s historic Grace Cathedral, drew about 1,000 people. Since then, the worship service has traveled across the globe to major cities, including Los Angeles, New York City and Lisbon, Portugal.

“Beyoncé Mass, as a Christian worship experience that is open to all, is not a ceremony deifying Beyoncé,” said Norton. “Our hope is to glorify God, tell black women’s stories and give people healing space to see how they are included in the divine narrative.”

The liturgy of Beyoncé Mass includes music from the artist’s vast discography, readings from womanist scholars and prominent Black female leaders, and a sermon from Norton.

“We at Columbia Theological Seminary are excited to partner with Rev. Norton and Spelman College to bring the Beyoncé Mass to Atlanta,” said the Rev. Brandon Maxwell, vice president of Student Affairs and Community Life at Columbia Theological. “It is a unique time at the seminary. We have the privilege of having four womanist scholars on our faculty across biblical studies, theology and ethics, and practical theology. It has really created a lively conversation among our students and in the community more broadly. We see this partnership as congruent with our deep commitment to 21st century church and liberation theology.”

The event is free and open to the public. Space is limited. To register visit here.

About Columbia Theological Seminary
Columbia Theological Seminary is “cultivating faithful leaders for God’s changing world.” As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia Seminary offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, visit www.CTSnet.edu.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country’s leading producer of black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and partnerships have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit www.spelman.edu.


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