The Grace Cathedral community is multifaceted. Just as the stained glass windows have many, many individual colors and pieces that form a cohesive whole, each one of us contributes to the mission of Grace and is part of realizing its vision. I am a relatively new congregant who consciously explored Grace and invested in the community. Perhaps both new and legacy congregation members can learn from my experience. Thus I humbly offer these suggestions for how you might make the most of your relationship with Grace Cathedral:
For new congregants:
- Each of the weekly services has its sub-culture and tone; try many of them and see what suits you
- Smile and greet the people sitting near you as you arrive at the service. People tend to gravitate to the same seat week after week, and you will recognize one another over time.
- Come to the coffee hour if there is one; if not, linger and introduce yourself to the staff and fellow participants at your service. Many people struggle to remember names, so reintroduce yourself repeatedly. Ask people about their Grace experience: Why do you attend Grace? What activities and ministries do you participate in?
- Check out the non-service happenings at Grace: yoga, sound bath, concerts, etc., and experience the cathedral as a home to arts and various forms of spiritual wonderment.
- Get to know the current and former clergy of Grace by listening to past sermons (the archive of sermons is available on your podcast platform of choice: Apple, Outcast, Android)
- Reflect on your skills and interests and consider which of the Grace ministries you would like to learn more about
For long-time members of the congregation:
- Attend a different service than the one you typically attend.
- Seek out unfamiliar faces and introduce yourself – they may be visitors, new congregants, or perhaps long-time congregants that you don’t yet know. Ask about their Grace experience: Why do you attend Grace? What activities and ministries do you participate in?
- Explore the extensive archive of Grace’s virtual offerings on YouTube. You can follow Dean Malcolms Summer 2022 Cathedral Tour, see what is on offer for younger people, revisit past sermons, and listen to concerts.
- Many ministries that paused during Covid are returning. Consider getting involved in something new and contributing to a vital reawakening of our community involvement.
- Are you aware of community needs that Grace can address? Are there opportunities for new ministries? Approach fellow congregants and staff to explore ideas.
- Reflect on what prompted your visit and the role of the cathedral in the fabric of San Francisco’s civic and cultural life – do you think you would like to return?
- If you are from another city, are there similar spaces in your hometown that you may want to visit?
I’ve found that willingness to be slightly uncomfortable socially (repeatedly introducing myself!) and some curiosity are all one needs to gain more from Grace Cathedral. I look forward to getting to know you better.
Erin McCune has been attending Grace Cathedral since 2019. She is a member of the Congregation Council and the Stewardship Committee.