Pride Mass grows after moving from parade to Castro

On Monday, June 23, roughly 80 people gathered at Beaux, a bar on Market Street in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco, for the annual Pride Mass coordinated by the Diocese of California. Oasis California, Sacred Cocktails, Sacred Space — San Francisco, and Reconciling Works of the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America all participated in the planning process.

In the past, the Pride Mass has been held the morning of the Pride Parade. The timing greatly limited turnout to those marching with the diocese and synod. Regarding the time, day, and venue change, the Rev. Tommy Dillon, chaplain for Oasis California and rector at St. Aidan’s, San Francisco, said, “We want to have a Pride Mass that really celebrates Pride and can involve the whole community.”

The half-hour service took place in one half of the bar, as the other half continued its normal Monday evening operations. Oasis arranged for a keyboard player, violinist, and vocalist to offer music and lead some singing. There was great age and geographic diversity represented. The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of California, preached and presided. His sermon was on the Beatitudes in Matthew 5.1-12. 

Andrus said, “I most frequently hear this gospel passage at funerals, because people can only imagine these blessings being true in a life and world beyond this one. Jesus, though, I believe, was creating a way to care for those who had left their communities of support to follow him. People lost families and jobs, and yet could continue to live in their new community of faith. When families that should care for us do not, we create and find communities of support that will. We experience God in others’ help.”

While most attendees had come explicitly for the Mass, others drifted into the bar or over from the bar through the course of the service — especially during the Lord’s Prayer and when communion was offered. The service concluded with updates about the rest of the diocese’s activities for Pride this year, including marching in the parade and hosting a booth at the Pride festival on Saturday and Sunday.

After the service, the Pride celebrations continued with a gospel-themed drag show of four performers that Oasis had arranged to perform. Although this was the first time the Pride Mass took place in the Castro, organizers hope for an even bigger turnout in the years to come.

Rublev’s icon of the Trinity adorned one of the bars at Beaux to invite a sense of the Holy.

Musical leadeship was offered by a keyboard player, a vocalist, and a violinist. 

Roughly 80 people gathered to begin Pride week with Eucharist.

The crowd was diverse and will hopefully grow next year.

The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus presided at the Pride Mass. The Rev. Diana Wheeler served as deacon for the service.

Following the Mass, a Gospel drag show continued the general celebratory atmosphere beginning Pride week.