Attend a Gospel Mass in Harlem

If you’ve ever dreamed of attending a Gospel Mass in Harlem among local churchgoers instead of being among tourists on the first floor then I’m happy to give you some advice and great tips.

The top 10 best tips you must know before attending a Gospel Mass in Harlem

Avoid big and famous churches. The smaller they are, the better the chances you will be among local Harlem churchgoers. The best tip is to walk around Harlem and to enter any random small church. You will always be welcome.
Try to attend a service early in the morning. The earlier you show up, the fewer tourists you’ll find. I noticed that last year when I attended the first mass between 7.30 and 8.30 am.
Don’t be a part of an organized tour!!! Staying in a small group is the best way to integrate the mass.
If you can only attend the 2nd morning mass, choose a small church and try to show up early.
There is no need to book in advance. The mass is not a show but a place of worship where people gather for a spiritual purpose.
Masses are free.
It’s strictly forbidden to film and take photographs inside the church, unless you’re well hidden or among tourists but it’s true to say that it’s not recommended. Since you’ve followed all my advice in order to enjoy a great Gospel Mass, you won’t get in trouble 🙂
Sing, clap your hands and hug each other as much as you want!!! It’s just an incredible experience.
You’ll quickly notice that the attendees are very friendly and they usually don’t hesitate to come to see you and hug you during the little celebration of friendship. It’s a real treat!!!
Open your eyes and ears wide since you will experience great moments of joy. You’ll discover that in New York, they enjoy their mass 200%!!

Attend to a Gospel Mass in Harlem

Which Gospel church should you attend in New York?

In New York City, there are a number of churches that perform Gospel masses.
You’ll find churches in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens but I sincerely recommend Harlem since the church is a great part of the locals’ lives.
Thus, this would be a shame not to enjoy this experience at a NY Gospel Mass and then you’ll want to have brunch at Amy Ruth’s!

My favorite church in Harlem: the First Corinthian Baptist Church

It’s not small after all, but I have to say that I was never disappointed every time I went there.
Unfortunately, a number of you have told me that during school vacations, the church gets really crowded with tourists. As a result, instead of being surrounded by locals, they send you to the first floor among tourists.
So if you are planning to visit not during school vacation, then try to go to the First Corinthian Baptist Church but if it’s not the case then my advice is to walk around Harlem and enter any small church that inspires you.

Attend to a Gospel Mass in Harlem

The Gospel Mass takes place on Sundays at 7.30, 9.30 and 11.30am.
Once again, I repeat, try not to go at 11.30 am and wake up early to attend the first mass of the day!!!

Address : 1912 7th Ave New York (at the corner of 116th street and Adam Clayton Powell)

My favorite church in Brooklyn: Brooklyn Tabernacle

The Brooklyn Tabernacle is in Downtown Brooklyn.
It looks like a concert venue. You won’t find the typical church benches but seats like in any Broadway theater, a giant screen hanging on the back wall of the stage, and several tv screens all around the room.
The choir is stunning! It is formed by 150 singers (approx.)!!! They sing for almost 40-45 minutes during the mass, it’s powerful!
Your best bet is to arrive as early as you can to attend the first mass and be seated among the locals.

The Gospel Mass takes place on Sundays at 9.00, 11.00 am, and 1.00 pm.
Address : 17 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Additional Gospel Churches in Harlem and Brooklyn

Please note that I indicate the worship schedule but before going to a gospel mass, double-check the hours on their website! They can have special events!
Canaan Baptist Church at 10 am (132 W 116th St, New York, NY)
– The Salem United Methodist Church at 11 am (2190 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard/ 7th av – 129th Street)
– The famous Abyssinian Baptist Church at 9.00 and 11.30 am (132 Odell Clark Place (Formerly 138th St.), New York, NY 10030)
Bethel Gospel Assembly at 10.15am (2-26 East 120th Street, New York, NY 10035)
St. Luke Baptist Church at 9.30 and 12 pm (1916 Park Ave, New York, NY 10037)
Metropolitan Community United Methodist Church at 11 am, and at 10 am during the summer (1975 Madison Ave, Manhattan, NY 10035)
Middle Church at 9.30 am and 11.45 am (112 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003)
First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn at and 10 am during the summer (124 Henry Street, Brooklyn, New York, NY)
Concord Baptist Church of Christ at 10 am (833 Gardner C. Taylor Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11216)

Attend to a Gospel Mass in Harlem

Is it possible to attend a Gospel Mass on Wednesdays in NY?

If you want to go to a mass on Wednesdays, a number of churches offer a service including 2 locations that I have had the chance to visit and that I can recommend 100%:-
– The Abyssian Baptist Church: 7 pm (Mid-Week Manna)
– Bethel Gospel Assembly: 7 pm (midweek worship service)

Map of the churches with gospel mass

Enjoy a Gospel Harlem Tour

If you want to be part of a group because it’s easier for you and you want to make sure you get into the church, there’s a great tour available but you must book right away, it’s called “The Harlem Gospel Tour.” You can book it on Wednesdays or Sundays.

Wednesday Tours Sunday Tours


A gospel mass is really an experience you won’t forget! You don’t need to be a strong believer or a regular churchgoer to enjoy a gospel mass 😉
If you want to have the gospel experience only, you can see the Harlem Gospel Choir at Sony Hall every Sunday!


My fist trip to New York was in 2007 when I was working for an airline company. I was born in the US, I lived in Mexico, in Europe in between Belgium, Spain and France… Well, let’s say I know about travelling! I bring my experience of NYC to the blog, to provide the best travel tips you could imagine!

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Attend a Gospel Mass in Harlem

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  1. Chantale Williams says:
    Good afternoon,

    My daughter and I are visiting NYC and we are really interested in attending a Gospel church service on Sunday morning. I was looking for the mass times for First Corinthian Baptist Church and could not find any on their website. Do you know what times mass is offered at this church? Do you think it will be too busy this coming Sunday (18th Feb 2024)? Kind regards, Chantale
    • TeamMemo says:
      Hi Chantale,

      They modified their website, and it’s a bit complicated to find the mass schedules. For Sunday 18, the Worship Experience if from 10 am to 12 pm 🙂
  2. Esther-Supriya Iyer says:
    Hello Memo

    I will be traveling from the Middle East to experience Christmas in NY. I have booked for a Harlem gospel tour but the more I read about recommendations to avoid a conducted tour I am inclined to reconsider my booking.

    It’s just going to be me and my 6 year old. I have blocked 16 Dec Saturday for this experience. What’s the best way to experience a service, large or small, to enjoy a worship service?

    Thanks for your help.
    • TeamMemo says:
      Hi Esther,

      The best is to attend the earliest mass of the day, as there will be less tourists.
      I know that some conducted tours can seem less authentic, but they can also be a great experience, and you may benefit from expert explanations.

      Enjoy your stay!
  3. Daniel says:
    I’m interested in going to First Corinthians at 7.30am on Sunday 10th December but can’t find any reference to a service at that time on their website. Do you know if they still do that time?
  4. Hilde de Bree says:
    Hello Memo,
    we wil be in New York from 24-28 of October. I would love to visit a gospel mass but we won’t be in New York on a Sunday. I don’t see any wednesday masses or tours. Can you help us and tell if there will be a mass somewhere on preferably a tuesday/wednesday or thursday morning or afternoon?
    thanx very much!
    • TeamMemo says:
      Hello Hilde,

      Yes, there are a few gospel masses on Wednesdays:
      – The Abyssinian Baptist Church: 7pm (Mid-Week Manna) to be confirmed in October
      – Bethel Gospel Assembly: 7pm (midweek worship service)
      – Times Square Church: 7pm (Worldwide Prayer Meeting at TSC Summit Campus)

      It’s always better to review the churches’ program before your trip, because they may change their events.

      Please let me know if you have any questions.
  5. Mads says:
    Hey Memo

    I am going to NY in the middle of May with two friends, and we were told that Harlem gospel is the best. Which church do you recommend if we want an authentic experience? And which day and time should we go?
    Our preferred date is the 14th of May.

    Best Regards
    Mads from Denmark
    • TeamMemo says:
      Hi Mads,

      Yes, Harlem gospel is the best, but I must say that Brooklyn has some gems too like the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

      In this post, you have my favorite churches to go to. One important thing is to attend the first mass when there are primarily regulars attending 😉

      Sunday the 14 will also be your best option.
  6. Melissa says:
    Hello Memo

    Do we still need to be vaccinated and wear a mask to attend a gospel church? We are in march 2023!!!!

  7. Sarah Goetry says:
    Hi Memo! Thanks for the detailed information!
    Me and my family (6 adults in total) are going to NYC during Easter. We would love to join a gospel Mas at Easter Sunday. Is that possible? Which church do you recommend?

    Thank you! Sarah
  8. John says:
    I am planning a trip to NY with my family early September 2022. I would like to confirm that only on Wednesdays and Sundays a Gospel Mass can be attended.
    Moreover, could you recommend any (small) Church close to Lower Manhattan to attend a Mass with the an authentic Choir?
    • TeamMemo says:
      Hi John,

      Yes, the only days you can attend a gospel mass are on Sunday and Wednesday. If you want to stay close to Lower Manhattan, go to the Brooklyn Tabernacle! The choir is amazing and it won’t take you long to get there by subway.
  9. Barbara says:
    Hi I have a group of 24 people Id like to take to a gospel choir mass in August. Is Warfare Wednesday Service: 7:00 pm at Bethel a choir mass? Any other suggestions?
    For Abyssinian is it necessary to arrive as early on Wednesday service as for the Sunday sessions ( 2-3 hours in line from my experience)Thank you.
    I really appreciate your advice. Regards,
    • TeamMemo says:
      Thank you Barbara,
      It´s always better to arrive as soon as you can when you´re travelling with a group of people. However, 2h in advance would be too much on a Wednesday. 1h before would be more recommendable.

      On Wednesday, you won’t find many options for a gospel mass. I heard about Times Square Church, but I never attended a mass there. It could be an option if you don’t want to go up to Harlem with such a big group.

      Don’t hesitate if you have more questions.
  10. Stefano says:
    Hello Memo,
    thank you for your travel tips!
    Do you have any update about the schedule of Wednesdays evening masses with gospel choir?

  11. Janos Sved says:
    Hi Memo,
    could you offer a gospel mass on the 21 or 22 Oct?

  12. Sylvie Brault says:
    Hi Memo 🙂
    Which smaller church would you recommend for inspiring gospel and preacher this Sunday September 22nd?
    We would attend first service of the day. If you can also recommend a brunch place nearby, it would be awesome!
    Thank you for your tips,
  13. Daniel Accaputo says:
    We had a really poor experience attending the Abyssian Baptist Church this morning we turned up early for 9 am out whole family as recommended were turned away and was told to come back 10.30am. We returned and then was told mass was 11.30am and we had to stay for 2 hours. We tried a smaller church earlier and in hindsight we should have stayed at the smaller church. Because we had small children we were lead to another church this morning as my 9 year old kids could not wait for another hour and then attend a 2 hour mass. This other church called Williams Institute CMC was a rip off and not a great experience. The church was filled with 99% of tourists. $10 bag holding fee. A compulsory $10 fee during the mass row by row we were demanded to give $10. I gave a $1 and we walked out. It was a disgrace how can a place claiming to be a place of worship do this to innocent tourists. I had a wonderful experience 15 years ago but this was disgraceful and embarrassment to the Harlem community.
    • TeamMemo says:
      I’m sorry to read that you had a bad experience at the Abyssian Baptist Church. It’s not my favorite one, because it’s more famous, it attracts more people then more tourists and I heard they have to ask people to come back at another time.
      I don’t know the Williams Institute… I’ll make sure to never recommend it!
  14. Olga says:
    How can I be sure if the mass will have gospel singing ? For example First Corinthian Baptist Church website doesn’t mention gospel at all on its site.

    Also, how long is the mass, and is it possible to leave before the end of mass?
    • TeamMemo says:
      Hi Olga,

      These churches are well-know for their choirs, that’s how you can be sure they have gospel masses.

      Leaving before the end could be considered rude, and it’s not appreciated. A mass can last 1h30 – 2h.
  15. Margarida Madeira says:
    Hi I’m travelling to New York from 8th to 13th of September with my family (me , my sister, my son (19) and my daughter(17)) and i really want to assist a Masse is Harlem.
    I look in the internet and i couldn’t find one because there were some that were not open to turist.
    Which one do you advise me to go?
    • TeamMemo says:
      Hi Margarida,
      In the post you’re commenting, all the churches are open to tourists. My best advise is to arrive at the first mass of the day, the atmosphere will be more authentic with less tourists 😉
  16. Amaia says:
    Hi! I’ve been reading about the gospel masses in your article and other websites, I’ve seen the ones in Harlem are a bit full of tourists and I’m looking for a more authentic experience. I’ve read Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn is good for that but I’ve seen it’s crossed out on your list, why is that? many thanks!
    • TeamMemo says:
      Hi Amaia,

      It’s my wordpress version, I have to fix this but whenever the connexion is not safe (http and not https), the link appears crossed… In some cases, the link can be crossed when the website doesn’t exist anymore.

      Anyway, you can go to this church 😉 The key is to attend the first mass of the day if you want to avoid crowds of tourists.
  17. Guy says:
    Hello, we will be in town with our family next thursday. Is there any Gospel choir we could see or is it hard to find apart from Sundays and Wednesdays (both not possible for us as just traveling through and over in town limited time)
  18. Bec says:
    Hi there,
    Will be in Harlem on Thursday 21 June, are there any masses on?
    Thanks so much
  19. Raphael says:
    thanks for the great informations about those masses. I am currently organising a visit in NYC with 4 music students from Luxembourg who form a group by themselves (4 young ladies). Of cours they would love to attend a gospel mass to feel the true spirit of this way of melodic expression. I read about those Wednesday evening in Abyssian Baptise Church and the Old Union Baptise Church at 7 pm which would perfectly fit into our schedule. (Well be there May 20-26) I’m a bit confused though, as I couldn’t find any corresponding events on their websites. UBC says they rehears on Tuesday nights at 7 pm. Thanks in advance!
    • TeamMemo says:
      Thank you Raphael!

      I have to review this post because some of the information is not up to date, I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

      I you want to attend a mass on Wednesday, you can go to the Bethel Gospel Assembly at 7pm. The service is called “Midweek Worship Service”.
      At the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the service on Wednesday is at 7pm too, it’s the Mid Week Manna.
      • Raphael says:
        and thank you for your reply! Do you think it would be possible to attend to the MASS CHOIR REHEARSAL on Tue, march 22, 7pm – 9pm as? I found this on the calendar page of UBC website. Thanks for your advice.
      • Brita Curcetti-Sokop says:
        Hello, and these masses on Wednesday you mentioned would also have Gospel music?
        Thank you so much for your help!
        Kind regards from Vienna!
  20. Ella Ramsdal Pedersen says:
    Hej Jeg er i New York og Brooklyn fra torsdag den 22.juni. Hvilken kirke vil du anbefale, jeg skal besøge for at opleve en autentisk Gospelmesse.
    Mange hilsener fra
    • TeamMemo says:
      Hi Ella,
      Your best bet is to attend the first mass of the day, usually at 7.30 or 9.30 depending on the churches.
      The First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem is at 7.30am, really amazing.
      If you want to go to church in Brooklyn, you can go to the Brooklyn Tabernacle. The first mass is at 9.30am.
      Feel free to ask me more questions if you need.
  21. Avi Zana says:
    I will be in New York and I plan to do the Harlem tour on 8th of April at 9:45. Problem is that this tour ends at 12:00 so I will miss the Gospel masses. where can I find a mass that can be combined with this tour (before or after )?
  22. Francesca says:
    Hi, I’ll be in NYC next Christmas and I’m looking for an authentic Gospel Mass on 25th December. Can you help me?
    Thank You
  23. Grace Robin says:
    Hi there,

    I’ll be in NYC on 7 January, do you think there’ll be issues getting into any of the larger gospel churches? And what would be your recommendation for a great service to check out currently? With all my travel in the month before that I’m keen to get back into a great church 🙂

    Thanks for your help!
    • TeamMemo says:
      Hi Grace,
      You can go to the Brooklyn Tabernacle, they have a great service and the choir is gigantic.
      No matter the church, the best is to attend the first mass of the day, is more authentic 😉
  24. Anne-Birgitte says:
    Which church and mass do you recomend?. In september.
  25. Marc Ehrlich says:
    We will be in NY on April 12th and would like to attend a weds service that includes gospel singing. Does the Abyssinian Baptist Church have service and song on weds night?

    Thank you
  26. mirko says:
    Hi there,
    are you sure that the mass you wrote about for the Wednesday service are really gospel mass and not just sermon reading??

    please let me know to my email….
    cheers, Mirko
    • TeamMemo says:
      Hi Mirko,
      On a regular basis , those Wednesday services are really gospel Masses. We have to update this article because there may have been some changes…
      When are you travelling to NY? Just to make it sure and give you the correct information on time 😉