The Religious News Service reports today on a rather unique church that is facing, sadly, a not so unique challenge. The Church of St. Coltrane was founded the year John Coltrane, the iconic jazz musician died. The idea for the church began with Franzo and Marina King a couple inspired by Coltrane’s performance of his opus, “Love Supreme.” The RNS article explains that the church doesn’t worship John Coltrane, “…its members see the music as a vehicle to “Coltrane consciousness,” a higher state of mind achieved through the music and through living Coltrane’s anti-poverty, anti-war, social justice beliefs.” They even have some amazing artwork in tribute to the musician and his life.
The congregation is facing immanent eviction. A uncooperative owner, wouldn’t renew their storefront lease in the quickly gentrifying Fillmore District in San Francisco. The church must move out by the end of April and, to date, has no new location.
Though I wouldn’t consider myself a wild jazz enthusiast, I’ve always been intrigued by the music and the cultural connections to this American art form. The idea that a family of ministers and a dedicated congregation would embrace this specific musical composition for experiencing transcendence is fascinating and I wish them the best in their quest for a new home.
This story left me with the immediate urge to listen to Coltrane’s “Love Supreme.” John Coltrane wrote this “to express the awesomeness of God.” How inspirational is this composition? Here’s a rare film clip of the first portion of the piece performed in concert. Set aside some time and listen for yourself.