With songs like “Irreplaceable,” “Formation” and “Upgrade U,” Beyoncé is not only one of the best performers of our time but she also has created some of the most perfect soundtracks to our lives. It’s hard not to love Beyoncé, but the University of Redlands is taking Beyoncé worship to new levels.
The California-based college is hosting a “Beyoncé Mass.” Now you may be thinking this is some cult-like activity about worshiping Queen Bey, but according to the Beyoncé Mass website, it 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.”
The concept is based on the scholarship of the Rev. Yolanda Norton, the H. Eugene Farlough Chair of Black Church Studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Norton’s educational and religious research has led her to use Beyoncé as a way to tackle issues of female identity and oppression in the Bible.
It all began with the inaugural “Beyoncé Mass,” a groundbreaking spiritual experience that was held April 25, 2018, at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. The event was attended by more than 1,000 people.
The University of Redlands’ “Beyoncé Mass” will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, at the Memorial Chapel on the school’s main campus, at 1200 E. Colton Ave., in Redlands. The event is free and open to the public.
Prior to the event, the school will host an academic panel discussion. It will relate to the themes of the “Beyoncé Mass” titled “Daughters of the Revolution — Black Women, the Civil Rights Movement, and Soundtracks for Liberation.”
Panelists will include Lakisha R. Lockhart, assistant professor of practical theory at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, and the Rev. Chelsea Brooke Yarborough, an ordained minister. That event will take place at 7 p.m. in the Frederick Loewe Performance Hall on the Redlands campus.
If you are interested in hosting your own “Beyoncé Mass,” the organization offers opportunities to partner with members of the faith community, seminaries, nonprofits or community organizations.
More information is available at www.beyoncemass.com.