St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church will host the Beatles Mass, “All You Need is Big Love,” at 5 p.m., on Sunday, Oct. 13, at the church located at 1909 15th St., Gulfport.
That’s right. A Beatles Mass. Featuring the music of English band members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – the Beatles are regarded as the most influential band of all time and integral to the evolution of pop music into an art form.
While the service follows the usual Episcopal tradition, this mass will feature the music of the Beatles as the congregation sings “Good Day Sunshine” for the processional; “Let It Be” for the sequence hymn; “I Want to Hold Your Hand” for the peace; and the choir will sing “The Fool on the Hill” as the offertory. For communion, the song will be “All You Need is Love.” The recessional is “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends.”
To take things a step further, J.T. Anglin, choirmaster and organist, has taken the lyrics to all the service music, the “Gloria”, the “Holy, Holy, Holy” and “Lamb of God”, and set them to the tunes of Beatles music.
The offering collected will benefit Elijah’s Closet which provides clothing for children in foster care.
This isn’t the first time the church has held a service of this kind. In years past, people have packed the church as it has hosted a Beach Boys Mass, a Grateful Dead Mass, an old-time gospel mass and even a Blues Brothers Mass. While this kind of service may seem a little unorthodox, the crowds who attend love these out-of-the-box services while the church sees it as a rather unusual outreach ministry.
These out-of-the-box services have become an annual event since the arrival of the church’s priest, the Rev. Patrick Sanders. “There has been so much debate in church circles about secular versus sacred music and art,” Sanders said. “These music masses are sort of an attempt to see God in all of creation, sacred and secular.”
“This is a way for us to reach people who are little shy about the formality of the church service,” Anglin said. “For people who are not familiar with the mass, this is more user-friendly, in a laid back kind of atmosphere. It’s a chance for our church family and our community to come together, have fun and worship in a safe and Godly way. This is a joyful time for our church family and the community to come together,” Anglin said. “So if you don’t have a church home, you can sit next to me.”
As a teaser, leading up to this service, Anglin has interwoven different Beatles songs into the church music each Sunday during the preludes and communion to keep the excitement of the upcoming mass building.
“It’s truly a service you don’t want to miss,” he said.