My husband Harrison and I moved to San Francisco in 2008 from Illinois. I was raised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic schools. I always felt connected to God, and my early experience of Catholicism—which was largely shaped by my mom—was one where the golden rule of doing unto others was the most important lesson.
As I got older, aspects of Catholicism began to make me uneasy. I remember in high school debating a fellow student about whether Catholics can choose which portions of the religion they agree with—for example, if I identified as a Catholic, does that mean I have to agree with the church’s stance on same-sex couples? I discovered I needed to find a church that honored my own relationship with God.
In 2012, a colleague encouraged me to check out Grace Cathedral, where her two dads had been married. I came to an 11 am service, and I’ve never looked back.
When my mom visited San Francisco, I invited her to attend Ash Wednesday service with me. The moment she walked in the door, she gasped and said, “This is a house of God!” Now she’s also a pledging member of the congregation.
The things that draw me most to Grace are the conversations it’s willing to have and the important issues in which it chooses to be a leader.
For example, the deep reverence for the divine feminine and prioritization of women leadership and clergy. The steadfast commitment to social justice, from antiracist work to LGBTQIA+ equality. The passion for climate justice and respect for our planet. And finally, the involvement of the church in working to solve our tragic gun violence epidemic.
Grace looks to God to help us solve injustices here on earth. I feel that the work being done at the cathedral is creating a better future for all of us, particularly the next generation.
Over the last 11 years, I have had so many joyful moments in this sacred space. Countless services, yoga sessions, concerts, Christmas pageants, sound baths, writing retreats, and bringing our cat Otto to the blessing of the animals.
Harrison and I were married here on the labyrinth in 2014. And when I was pregnant with our son in 2021, the first time I felt him kick in my belly was while doing yoga on the labyrinth. We named him Malcolm Jude, in large part because of the inspiring clergy here at Grace who have shaped our lives. He was baptized last year just steps from where his parents said wedding vows.
Parenthood is surprising, and one thing I did not expect from my toddler was that he would love being at the cathedral more than I do. My little Malcolm loves nothing more than “going to da cafedal” to, and I quote, “get some blessings.” We stop by, and Malcolm loves to run in, say a prayer in the pews, practice climbing the stairs by the Chapel of Grace, say hello to the Mary Magdalene picture and listen to the choir practicing (often giving them enthusiastic applause).
Grace Cathedral is so important, not only to the congregation and the city of San Francisco, but also to the entire world. I am proud to be part of a church and community that is leading the way on the urgent issues facing humanity today. Being a pledging member of Grace helps fuel my own spirituality and brings me closer to God. Grace Cathedral brings me peace, joy and strength.
I hope you may also consider pledging to stewardship in support of this sacred place. Thank you.
Fall is stewardship season in the Episcopal Church. It is a time for us to show our appreciation for the love we experience in our caring, inclusive community. Our participation in the stewardship campaign means that we make the ministry and message of Grace possible. When we pledge, we become a part of something bigger than each of us individually. Join us in pledging today.