Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | August 10, 2016

Outside the Box, Inside the Circle


Estate and gift planning have long-ensured that the vitality and mission of the cathedral continue for years to come. Grace Cathedral is reinvigorating its planned giving program to better appeal across generations and to plant the seeds for future bequests and gifts that will preserve our cathedral home. The Legacy Circle will now be called the Circle of Grace.

Please read below about some generous donors and why they have included Grace Cathedral in their plans.

The Rev Dr David E Abernethy-Deppe and the Rev Jonathan Abernethy-Deppe

Our relationship with Grace Cathedral began with a visit over the Labor Day weekend in 1989 and a conversation with Dean Alan Jones. For a number of years after moving to the Bay Area in 1994, we occasionally attended Grace Cathedral even though we were clergy in another denomination. In 1999, Jonathan was celebrating the 25th anniversary of his ordination and took our guest preacher on a tour of San Francisco. Coming up California Street, Jonathan said to her, “Here’s Grace Cathedral, our spiritual home.” What a new and revealing idea that was to him, and Jonathan told David that evening, “We have a journey to make.” In 2000, Bishop Swing received us as Episcopalians and as members of Grace Cathedral, where we are welcome to “think outside the box.” There we were invited to engage in discerning our ministry, and Bishop Marc received David and Jonathan as priests in the Episcopal Church in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

We first learned of the planned giving program of the Diocese of California because the Diocesan Planned Giving Officer invited Jonathan to join his staff, and Bishop Swing invited David to become the Diocesan Stewardship Officer. As we contemplated our estate plan, we wondered how to be good stewards of the gifts we had received. Because we have been so blessed by God and by our relationship to Grace Cathedral, we wanted to “pass it forward.” How grateful we are to be able to make this commitment because Grace Cathedral is an important voice of a progressive witness of an expansive welcome to the Christian faith.

It is difficult for us to specify a favorite thing in the cathedral’s ministry: music, liturgy, preaching. But we have chosen to designate Grace Cathedral in our legacy planning because of the cathedral’s outreach to others, especially those in need in the community. Because of the world ministry of Episcopal Relief and Development, they will share the major portion of our estate with Grace Cathedral after our children, who have done so very well for themselves, receive a token, although generous, gift also from our estate.

We are excited to be charter members of the Circle of Grace and challenge others to join us in making this commitment.

We are so grateful to all who have made plans for our future. You can learn more about the Circle of Grace by contacting the development department at (415) 749-6352 or


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