Lady Fancy and the Gospel Jubilee presents
Church of a Different Kind
By Patrick Rogers, MDiv
Lady Fancy and the Gospel Jubilee’s church is indeed “kind,” and similar to that Jesus. This uniqueness and kindness begin with the Leadership of Lady Fancy!
There is one place that you will find me on the last Sunday night of every month. From 7PM to 9PM, I attend “church,” held in a Wilton Manors bar called, The Pub. But it is a different kind of church, because here, all are truly welcome. At the beginning of the church service, Lady Fancy comes on stage and says, “If you came here tonight, thinking that the other drag performers and I are going to make fun of gospel music, you are sadly mistaken. We love this music and are here for one reason, and that’s to pay tribute to it.”
Rev. Patrick: Earlier in your life, what church denomination were you raised?
Lady Fancy: I experienced the Nazarene Church and later moved to the Pentecostal Church. My early influence of gospel music was from listening to groups such as The Speer Family, The Rambos, and of course, The Happy Goodman Family.
Rev. Patrick: What do you consider your gospel favorites?
Lady Fancy: My favorite gospel songs are way too many to list, here, but my top 5 are, “Amazing Grace,” “How Great Thou Art,” “Blessed Assurance,” “It Is Well,” and “Born to Serve The Lord.”
Rev. Patrick: What is the origin of your drag name, Lady Fancy?
Lady Fancy: It came about when Nancy Ross and I were doing our first show in her backyard. I didn’t have a stage name. “Fancy” came to mind so that we could be Nancy and Fancy. I don’t remember who put “Lady” in front of it but they did, and it stuck.
Rev. Patrick: When did you receive your “call” to ministry?
Lady Fancy: I played piano and organ in church starting at the age of 14 and continued until my late 20’s (which was not that long ago). Being rooted and grounded in gospel music since childhood, I knew it was part of my identity and part of my DNA. Like so many who share this same story of being rejected by the church because of who you are, I felt that the love of gospel music was part of my life that was over. But after starting my drag performances, I was doing a weekly show at Monkey Business. For something different, Ron and I decided to do a gospel themed show one week and called it, “The Gospel Jubilee.” I knew then that my life in gospel music was not over as I thought, but just going to be taking a different (much different) direction.
Rev. Patrick: How long ago did Lady Fancy and the Gospel Jubilee begin?
Lady Fancy: The Gospel Jubilee will be going on 10 years this November and I have led it for nine of those years. I had to take some time off and at that time Anastasia Ross led it for a year to keep the show going.
Rev. Patrick: The Gospel Jubilee rejuvenates and inspires me personally. I love singing the gospel songs and hymns from my youth. And as I look around the room during church, I notice that many of those attending know the words to the songs. What type of responses have you received from audience members, or should I say church members?
Lady Fancy: Here are some of my favorite responses to our Gospel Jubilee. “Thank you so much for taking me back to church.” “The music really touches me.” “It took a man in a dress to remind me of God’s unconditional love!”
Rev. Patrick: In June, I attended your first show at the new location at The Pub. It seemed like you were right at home! How do you feel about your new church home?
Lady Fancy: I am very grateful to The Pub for wanting to pick up the show. Let’s face it, it’s not your typical drag show, but like the saying goes when a window shuts a door opens. We will just keep doing what we have been doing and that is sharing the message of joy, love, and hope through gospel music.
For the readers who don’t attend (yet), the Lady Fancy Gospel Jubilee often includes live performances and instrumentals. So if you want to go out and get your “praise on” with the option of your favorite libation, you are welcome to join in on the last Sunday of every month and be part of the “Church of a Different Kind” at The Pub in Wilton Manors. All are welcome and there is a table or bar stool waiting for you! See you at 7PM. You will be lifted up as the church lifts up the name of Jesus. Amen!