Church of Coltrane

Healing, Power, Community, Timeless

Our Lady of Ferguson (We Are All In This Together) is the title of the breathtaking work of Mark Doox that currently adorns the homepage of the Church of Coltrane website. Using a Byzantine style of a gilded devotional portrait, the piece speaks against gun violence and police brutality, while also acting as a call for solidarity to other marginalized communities.

Doox, who has been working with the Church of Coltrane for some time now, uses these iconographic depictions of Black folks to shed light on the hypocrisies and violence of White supremacy.

Our Lady of Ferguson by Mark Doox

Seated now in San Francisco’s Western Addition on Turk Street, the St. John Coltrane Church celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019. Founded by The Most Reverend Archbishop F.W. King and The Most Rev’d Mother Marina King, the church and its congregation have seen many changes in location and in function. King and his wife started the "The Jazz Club", which later became the "Yardbird Club," to celebrate all forms of African-American improvisatory music, reclaim the space of performance venues and record stores for the communities of black folks, preserve artistic freedom, and maintain the creative integrity of the music. By 1969, they became a site for worship, and renamed themselves the "Yardbird Temple" and then the "One Mind Temple", a space devoted to the exploration of that spirituality as primary to, but still in combination with, the cultural impact of the music.

After a decade as a "One Mind Temple Evolutionary Transitional Body of Christ", the church underwent another change, a unification with the African Orthodox Church. The AOC was founded by Archbishop George Alexander Mcguire, who became chaplain general for Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association due to their shared separatist ideology. The church made John Will-I-Am Coltrane their patron saint, the Risen Trane, who overcame his drug addiction in 1957 and "experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening".

As well as providing transcendent musical services and sound baptisms, where they foster the transfer of the Holy Spirit through sound, the church also performs a social function in the community. Around the rise of the Black Panther party, the church began to get politically involved as an activist space and organizer. In addition, in those early 70s years, the church created and expanded its programs for "feeding, clothing and sheltering the poor." This year strives to be a monumental one, a coming out of the darkness, and there seems to be no better time to celebrate the ministry and the message of the Church of John Coltrane.
Statement by Omar El-Sabrout