- Title: USA: LOCAL CHURCH WORSHIPS MUSIC OF JAZZMAN JOHN COLTRANE.
- Date: 9th April 2000
- Summary: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (APRIL 9, 2000) (REUTERS - NO RESTRICTIONS) WIDESHOT OF SAN FRANCISCO SKYLINE. A SAN FRANCISCO STREET LINED BY TOWNHOUSES. EXTERIOR SAINT JOHN COLTRANE AFRICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH. PICTURE OF JOHN COLTRANE IN WINDOW, PEOPLE WALKING ON SIDEWALK NEAR ENTRANCE TO CHURCH. VARIOUS OF BISHOP FRANZO KING PREACHING.
- Embargoed: 24th April 2000 13:00
- Location: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, US
- Country: USA
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA6SZLOVSAO4CZJ996N5TBLMGBF
- Story Text: San Francisco is known internationally for its many attractions like the Fisherman's Wharf, the spectacular views of the bay and Pacific Ocean, as well as its varied nightlife - but it's a local church that uses the music of jazzman John Coltrane to worship by that is drawing attention worldwide to the City by the Bay.
Worshippers attending the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in the Haight-Ashbury District believe in a liturgy based in organised religion, but liberally flavoured with the highly spiritual music of Coltrane.
The music and religion are blended together in weekly sermons delivered by Bishop Franzo King, who described his approach to religion as novel, but nothing new.
"Somebody asked me what are we doing here.We like to think that we're living.And that's what it is.It's an expression of our heart and our spirit.So we're living it - yes.It's a living ministry."
Many questions as to the origins and validity of the church have been asked by reporters for the past eight months or so following a Life Magazine article discussing religion in the 21st century.
The church, probably the only one of its kind, causes first-time visitors to wonder about the merits of worshipping in the name of a former heroin addict and alcoholic, but after the 3-hour plus service filled with parishioners chanting "praise God" to the sounds of Coltrane's "A Love Supreme", many of those skeptics leave as believers.
A Sunday session typically begins at noon, but the sounds of music can be heard wafting into the street before the band members take their places in the pews and corners of the small storefront church.
Its also a family affair as Bishop King's daughter-in-law Brianne joined the tourists, natives and just plain curious who are lured by the music and end up staying for the service.
One of the first prayers is "A Love Supreme" from the liner notes to John Coltrane's 1964 album which he dedicated to God, after his "spiritual awakening" in 1957.
The accompanying music stretches into extended jam sessions between the church band and worshipers who play along from their seats as Bishop King plays catalyst, alternately stoking the celebration with his sermon and taking up various instruments.
An obvious Coltrane enthusiast, King is also an ordained Bishop of the African Orthodox Church.His credentials have not been enough to stave off controversy however.
After recently settling a copyright infringement suit brought on by Coltrane's widow, he and his church have been facing homelessness, as the current landlord wants them out.
High rents in well-heeled San Francisco no doubt are playing a part in the impending move, but the bishop is on the receiving end of a blessing from a church across town who will sponsor the Sunday service while details on their new home are being finalized.
For King, the future looks and sounds bright.
"We're excited to tell the people about God, about Christ, and of course about John Coltrane being a 21st century saint that's heralding a new call and introducing a new form of worship in a sense.
"We can take those sound discs and put them on and spin them on cd hear the very voice of God."
"And not them hear it, but be ministered to and guided and strengthened and encouraged by that sound."
The church has a website (www.saintjohncoltrane.org) and a weekly radio show that airs locally.They plan to be in their new home by month's end, with some of the new space to be devoted to a John Coltrane museum and archive.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None