Welcome to Grace Cathedral, Greg! We are so grateful that you have joined us. We are looking forward to helping you and your family discover and learn more about Grace Cathedral congregation and community. Thanks so much for taking time to answer some questions from us..
Aside from the announcement we made back on March 20, how are you enjoying making a move to the SF Bay Area from Ojai, CA?
“Joy and I had always loved San Francisco and the Bay area – when we lived in Alaska, we even came here for an anniversary! Our oldest is now at Cal, and we have many friends and family in the area, so it’s exciting and a delight to move here!”
How would they describe you if we were to go down to Ojai and ask folks from your former congregation?
“I suppose you’d have to ask them. They might mention my story-telling style of sermons, involvement in social justice, or just approachability at coffee hour.”
Ok, so how would you describe yourself?
“I’m a husband, father, priest, and Yonsei (fourth-generation Japanese American). I grew up in Alaska but have lived in the Lower 48 and the UK and California for the last decade. I enjoy the outdoors, and I’ve embedded myself in the community everywhere I’ve gone. I started a Spanish-language service in Ojai, Laundry Love, and joined Search and Rescue.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“I enjoy reading literary fiction – and spy fiction — for fun. I dabble in short stories and have a novel in progress. I also must spend time outdoors to stay centered. This includes hiking and climbing and trail running.”
As you may already know, San Francisco is quite a Foodie town. Are there any favorite foods you think haven’t been introduced to us San Franciscans?
“My family would describe me as an “eatie,” not a “foodie,” as I’ll eat anything! That being said. Lily and I have a rating system for ramen, and we’re looking forward to discovering more. Last week after finals, I picked up Julian, and we found a food truck in Berkeley that serves quesabirria tacos. They are wonderful! Quesabirrias has exploded in LA recently, and we’ve started another ranking system.”
What other organizations are you currently involved with?
“In LA, I was co-chair of the Diocesan Sanctuary Task Force, the committee advocating for social justice, especially around immigration and race issues. We hosted know-your-rights training, organized rapid response teams, and so forth. I organized training with the Office of Governmental Relations on civil discourse right before lockdown. I was also on the Episcopal Public Policy Network of CA, representing LA, like the EPPN nationally, but organized around the six dioceses here. At the Japanese American National Museum, I was involved in practically every national-level response to racial justice issues. I have a picture in my office with President Obama from an APPI leader event at the White House.”
Wow, that’s quite a list of organizations! In your new role as our Vice Dean, are there any particular organizations/initiatives that you would like to be more involved with?
I’ve already joined a few civic and ethnic organizations in the past couple of weeks, which is great because it is AAPI month. Many activities are happening here at Grace Cathedral, including a special AAPI The Vine Service.
What are your hopes and dreams of things you would like to accomplish as our new Vice Dean?
“My biggest hope as vice dean is to help organize and be part of the team and vision for Grace Cathedral as the leading voice for spirituality, inclusiveness, and justice in San Francisco and around the country. Coming from outside San Francisco, I have always thought of Grace as the Cathedral of the West. It has such a storied history of prophetic witness and action. I’m looking forward to being part of that tradition.”
It’s only been 30 days since you arrived here. What has surprised you so far?
“I’m still awe-struck by the sense of mystery and awe in Grace Cathedral. It is inspiring to sit and look up at the gorgeous windows as the vibrations of organ notes pass through your body. Grace Cathedral has extraordinary acoustics compared to other places in the US and England. It is a full-body experience of worship. It is uplifting!”
Ok, enough questions for you. Do you have any for us?
“I have tons of questions that I’ll constantly be asking. Mostly, I have gratitude and appreciation for everyone’s warmth and patience as I learn the Grace Cathedral way!”
We look forward to seeing you this Sunday as you preach at all three services. – we’ll make sure there is plenty of church coffee!