Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | July 29, 2022

Congregation Update: Pilgrims and Friends

Blog|The Rev. Canon Anna E. Rossi

Dear Friends,

I had the gift of spending part of my evening at an interfaith gathering in the South Bay. The occasion was to say goodbye to Fatih Ates, Director of the Pacifica Institute, as he takes up the leadership of a similar organization in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Somehow we, along with a Jewish leader, fell into a conversation about the significance of white garments at pivotal life events and death. Despite very different life occasions — baptism, Jewish marriage, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca or “hajj” — there is a shared garment that ultimately drapes itself on an urn or grave. 

We shared this discovery with warmth and enthusiasm. While our differences are meaningful, the culture has exploited differences to the point of dehumanizing those who hold divergent perspectives. The deterioration of human rights and the expulsion of its advocates from Turkey provide a salient example. But the Hizmet movement, of which the Pacifica Institute is a part, finds in its Turkish Muslim roots an experience of common humanity, from which blossoms commitments to learning, dialogue, service, and peace. These values have led the cathedral community to share the Ramadan fast-breaking meal, the Iftar, with the Pacifica Institute and other interfaith partners. It also meant that in the frequent occasions of crisis, we have stood and prayed beside one another. 

Pilgrimage, service, and friendship are always timely. Each of us can find ways to journey toward the shared garment and table of our most elemental humanity. To that end, you’re invited to be part of a cathedral Mission to the Border. We’ll go to witness, learn, pray, and be in solidarity with migrant and asylum-seeking families. The first one-day trip to Tijuana and its environs will be on Wednesday, August 24. It will include visits to two family shelters and early learning centers operated by PILA Global. Attend an information session next Wednesday, August 3, at 5:30 pm, or contact Vice Dean Greg Kimura at

Lastly, summer has moved swiftly toward the school year, when inequality is felt acutely. You can help bridge the gap by ensuring that kids in Bayview-Hunter’s Point start with a sturdy backpack and all the requisite supplies. Follow the instructions to buy and ship from Amazon. With beloved Archdeacon Nina and Bayview Mission, we can make a difference in the lives of our city’s youth.
Whatever our circumstances, we can be pilgrims, and we can be friends, moving toward God and one another.

Every good gift,

The Rev. Canon Anna E. Rossi
Canon Precentor 
Director of Interfaith Engagement

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