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Gospel Mass in Harlem: hours and duration

Attending a Gospel service is one of the biggest cultural attractions for immersing yourself in the soul of New York. You're most likely to find a Sunday morning mass service, but read on for other alternatives.

María Cano

María Cano

3 min read

Gospel Mass in Harlem: hours and duration

Detail of the Mass | ©Ben White

Harlem is a district full of ethnic diversity. A must-visit if you want to come back from New York having seen all the ins and outs of the city.

And one of the main attractions of this neighbourhood is to visit a Baptist church and enjoy a live gospel mass, a show that, in principle, you can only enjoy on Sunday mornings and which you can read about in How to go to a Gospel Mass in Harlem.

Even so, there are certain Sundays when tourists are not allowed to enter and the times vary depending on the church you go to. Don't stop reading because, below, I'll give you all the details so that you can have an experience to remember.

Times to attend a gospel mass in Harlem

Gospel Choir| ©iStock
Gospel Choir| ©iStock

If you are wondering what is the best day to attend a gospel mass in Harlem, you should know that most of them take place on Sunday morning.

The sessions vary depending on the church. In fact, some churches hold two sessions on the same morning, but the usual starting time is between 9:00 and 11:00 am.

Alternative times

As mentioned above, there may be exceptions to the usual Sunday masses, and there are a few churches that also hold gospel mass on Wednesday evenings around 7pm.

An example of this is the Abbyssinian Baptist Church and Bethel Gospel Assembly that hold a gospel mass session open to the public on Wednesdays at 7pm.

Book a Harlem Gospel Mass Tour

Dates when you can't enjoy a gospel mass in Harlem

Inside the church| ©Karl Fredrickson
Inside the church| ©Karl Fredrickson

If you are attending a Gospel Mass on a Sunday, please note that there are certain Sundays of the year when access is limited to tourists and visitors who are not regular parishioners.

  • Women's Day, which falls on the second Sunday in March.
  • Palm Sunday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Mother's Day
  • Homecoming, which falls on the second Sunday in September
  • Men's Day, which falls on the second Sunday in October
  • Limited Access Days include Christmas Day and New Year 's Day when they fall on a Sunday
  • There are some churches that during the month of August stop visitors to Sunday gospel services and move them to another day of the week, usually Wednesdays.

Book a Harlem Gospel Mass Tour

How long does a Harlem Gospel Mass last?

Gospel Mass in Harlem| ©iStock
Gospel Mass in Harlem| ©iStock

To see a gospel mass in Harlem you can either go on your own, in which case it will last around two to two and a half hours depending on the congregation's participation, or you can attend a mass by booking a tour. In this case, you will be inside the church for one hour.

  • Duration if you attend a gospel service on your own: Two hours or two and a half hours.
  • Duration if you attend a gospel service as part of a sightseeing tour: One hour.

If you do not attend the service as part of a tour, you will have to wait in line to get in, which does not guarantee you will get in depending on the number of people attending that day. Therefore, it is very important to arrive at the church early.

Book a Harlem Gospel Mass Tour

Schedules of attractions near a gospel church in Harlem

Walking around the area| ©Josh Wilburne
Walking around the area| ©Josh Wilburne

Visiting a gospel mass is one excuse to go to Harlem, but there are plenty of other things to do in this district.

See a show at the Apollo Theater, visit the Morris Jumel Mansion, walk down Sylvan Terrace, see a show at the Cotton Club, stroll through the residential neighbourhood of Strivers' Row, visit the Schombur Center for Research in Black Culture or walk through the Sugar Hill neighbourhood are just some of the wonders this area has to offer.

  • Apollo Theater hours: Shows usually start between 7pm and 8pm.
  • Morris Jumel Mansion opening hours: The museum is open from 11am to 5pm Thursday to Sunday.
  • Coton Club opening hours: The club opens at 20:00 for dinner and cocktails. The band plays from 20:00-20:30 and the show starts at 21:00-21:45. For brunch, the Cotton Club is open from 12:00 noon until approximately 2:30 pm.
  • Schombur Center for Research in Black Culture opening hours: The library is open every day except Sundays, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.