Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

The weekend leading up to Juneteenth, Grace Cathedral invites the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company to present a special limited run of their beloved show I, Too, Sing America, from Friday, June 13 to Sunday, June 15.

I, Too, Sing America is a theatrical concert celebrating works by poets of color, including Langston Hughes, Frances Chung, Vince Gotera, and more, set to original music and choreography First produced by SFBATCO in 2018, I, Too, Sing America was named Theatre Bay Area’s Outstanding Musical of 2019 and was also awarded Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Choreography. The production was remounted in 2022, and in 2023, SFBATCO released a cast recording on Spotify. And now, we are lucky to present it at Grace Cathedral for four performances.

We spoke with Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., Director and Performer, and Christine Chung, Director of Choreography and Performer, about the inspiration behind the remounting of this show.

What excites you about bringing I, Too, Sing America to Grace Cathedral this June?

We feel honored to perform this show at such an iconic and beautiful San Francisco venue. The messages in I, Too, Sing America resonate deeply with people because they are both timely and timeless, and we’re thrilled to bring this powerful music and movement to new audiences.

While the show is rooted in our country’s history of marginalization and oppression, it ultimately is a celebration of our collective pride, ambition, strife, perseverance, joy, diversity, and optimism. People tend to walk out of our shows singing, dancing, and clapping along and we can’t wait to fill this space with the soulful sound of our immensely talented cast.

Rodney adds, “It’s an honor as a gay black church boy growing up in an incredibly diverse city to play such an incredible venue with our now 10-year-old company’s crowd favorite: I, Too Sing America.” 

What styles of music and dance should we expect to hear and see onstage?

The music composition ranges from gospel to R&B to jazz to musical theater to the soul. The dance styles range from contemporary to hip-hop to salsa to jazz. The text ranges from Langston Hughes to Frances Chung to Junot Diaz to Alok Vaid-Menon to Victoria Chang to Nina Simone to Gwendolyn Brooks to James Baldwin to San Francisco’s own Vince Gotera and more. All this to say, audiences get a vast range of styles jam-packed into an exhilarating 75-minute performance.

What are you hoping our audiences leave with after experiencing this show?

We hope people feel connected and uplifted. We hope our show is a cathartic experience and people can see their stories and identities reflected on stage. And we hope people feel energized to continue doing their part to ensure our society continues to change for the better, however that might be!

As we prepare to grace the stage of this iconic venue, we’re thrilled to bring to life some of the show’s most compelling pieces, including the soul-stirring melodies of ‘In Daddy’s Arms’, the poignant narratives of ‘Accents’ and ‘Too A Dark Girl’, and the vibrant rhythms of ‘First Mango’. These are moments not to be missed in SFBATCO’s decade-long legacy.

Folks will leave with an invigorated love of San Francisco and its awesome arts scene!

Book your tickets today and join the Zoom panel with creatives and rehearsal sneak peek on May 28 at 6:30 pm!

Nestled on the top of Nob Hill San Francisco, Grace Cathedral is a beacon of architectural magnificence and spiritual solace. Its Gothic revival architecture, stained glass windows, labyrinths, and art installations draw visitors globally. Yet, beyond its grandeur lies a mission of community engagement and cultural enrichment. To realize this mission, we are making an appeal for more docents to illuminate the cathedral’s wonders and deepen visitors’ experiences.

Docents are the guardians of Grace Cathedral’s narrative and play a pivotal role in fostering connections between the past and present, the sacred and secular. Their expertise transforms mere sightseeing into encounters with history, art, and spirituality. They enrich the visitor experience and foster a deeper appreciation for the cathedral’s significance.

The invitation to become a docent is extended to those who feel called to share in Grace Cathedral’s mission. Grace Congregants and church members from the Diocese are highly encouraged to apply, but this appeal is also for the residents of San Francisco and beyond. We simply ask that you commit to at least two tours each month after you receive training.  No prior experience is required; only a passion for learning, a desire to connect with others, and comfort speaking to groups are needed. Our docent training program covers the three types of one-hour tours currently offered. 

Space available for these docent training dates, April 30 1:30 – 3 pm and May 30 1:30 – 3 pm.

Join us in enhancing the visitor experience at Grace Cathedral. 

Please contact:

Just in time to close this month’s Game Developers Week, the video game industry conference being held at Moscone Center, Grace Cathedral welcomes the return of Sixth Station Trio to perform the iconic music from Nintendo video games on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23. The San Francisco-based trio features Katelyn Tan on piano, Anju Goto on violin, and Federico Strand Ramirez on cello. The Trio’s members, who met at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School for the Arts, are not only classical musicians but avid gamers who grew up playing Nintendo games. Their goal is to further uplift video game music to the classical music repertoire and bring gamers to the classical music world.

We spoke with pianist Katelyn Tan to learn more about the group’s approach to this “unorthodox” music and what audiences can expect when they perform it at Grace Cathedral.

What do you think about performing this music inside Grace Cathedral?  

Performing this music at Grace Cathedral is such a wonderful privilege for us. Grace Cathedral is a historical landmark and so many musicians have performed in the space, so it’s definitely a rite of passage for us. We are so appreciative of how open and accepting Grace Cathedral has been in allowing us to program non-traditional classical music.

How does Grace Cathedral’s 6-second reverb affect the music and its performance?

I think the reverb, although challenging to maneuver, can often add a unique sound to our playing that we don’t get playing at other venues. We’ve learned to use the reverb to our advantage, using it to create different textures and timbres in our playing and sometimes even for musicality and phrasing. 

What are your thoughts on major orchestras playing video game music and its popularity over the last few years?

We love that major orchestras are starting to program more video game music and non-traditional repertoire. It’s a wonderful way to get new listeners into the classical music scene, who otherwise may have never decided to attend a classical performance. Many of our audience members have told us that they’ve never been to a classical concert before and that we were their first experience of classical music. 

What is the trio’s artistic process in arranging this music? Does some game music work better than others?

We have so much fun arranging this music. It’s been a wonderful learning process for us, since we are self-taught in arranging. We usually do a combination of transcribing and score studying, if we have access to the original scores. We always make sure to reference the original recordings, and we compose new parts to pieces; for example, if we need a more resolved ending, we’ll create our own. Oddly enough, there have been pieces that I thought wouldn’t work well for our ensemble that ended up fitting our trio really well. People are often surprised at how well a piano trio can recreate the fullness of an 80-100-person orchestra. We may only be 3 people, but that puts no limitation on the diversity of sounds we can create. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to witness the magic of Nintendo classics reimagined in a stunning cathedral setting. Whether you’re a seasoned classical music lover or a devoted gamer, Sixth Station Trio welcomes you to be part of this extraordinary musical journey. Join us at Grace Cathedral on Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 pm for an unforgettable concert experience. Let’s celebrate the power of music to unite and inspire us all.

It’s been a year since we launched GraceArts cultural membership. Thank you for your support! GraceArts Membership helps us underwrite the good work of Grace Cathedral in the Arts & Culture, Music, and Mind, Body, and Spirit programs.   

Did you know that GraceArts members have free passes? They’re waiting for you through the eMembership Card App that you can access from your smartphone. Find and install it through the App Store or Google Play store.  

Once installed, you can easily find your card by searching for “Grace Cathedral” with the magnifying glass. Click on Grace Cathedral and then select “Find My Membership Cards” and enter your last name and membership ID # (which you’ll find in your welcome email). Let us know at if you don’t know your membership ID. 

Once you complete this task, your membership card will be available. You are now ready to go! You can now freely explore the Member Benefits and access your coupons. 

Make the Most of Your Membership

Generation Active Passes 

All members receive six free passes to Generation Active. This is a wellness class offered on Thursdays from 8:30 – 9:30 am. This group class of mindfulness practices combined with physical activities will help you with balance, maintaining strength and posture, reducing stress, and staying active. This class is also great for folks who are easing back into activity, whether it’s from a less active lifestyle or an injury.

Yoga on the Labyrinth Passes  

Arch and Spire members receive two free coupons for Yoga on the Labyrinth. Practice yoga amidst our soaring Gothic columns to live music and expert instruction for all levels every Tuesday night at 6:15 pm or Saturday mornings at 9 am. Doors open 30 minutes before the starting time.

Redeem your coupons today! Just show up for class and show the greeter at the door your coupon. You do not need to reserve a spot ahead of time. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact: We hope you enjoy these great GraceArts benefits! 

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference will be held in San Francisco from November 11 – 18, 2023. Elected leaders and nearly 30,000 delegates will participate.   

Getting to and from the cathedral will be impacted.    

If you plan on attending any services, activities, or events at Grace Cathedral during this period, please allow additional time to get to the cathedral and home, as street closures and rerouted public transportation will be in place. 

To help you get a sense of what these traffic delays may look like for your area, view the map and read more about the potential heavy traffic zones.  

The page will be updated periodically, so please continue to visit it. 

Join the volunteer children’s chorus and sing along with the professionals on stage during this wildly popular Christmas production at Grace Cathedral! We welcome all young people of the community ages 5 – 16 to participate. You do not need to have any experience – just be willing to sing, dance, have fun, and wear a costume! Rehearsals will be held at Grace Cathedral in Gresham Hall from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesdays in October and November (no rehearsal on November 22) with a mandatory dress rehearsal on Tuesday, December 12 from 5:30-7 p.m. 

Sign up here!  Children’s Chorus Form | Presto! Interactive Opera

On September 3, the cathedral is presenting a staged reading of a short play, PIKE, which tells the story of James A. Pike (1913-1969), who served as Bishop of the Diocese of California from 1958 to 1966. While not without controversy, among his many accomplishments were the completion and consecration of Grace Cathedral, ordaining the first woman deacon, and inviting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to preach shortly after the Selma-Montgomery march. Pike was considered as “one of the greatest prophets of all time — perhaps one of the greatest Episcopal ministers of the 20th century.”  Learn more about the inspiration behind the event from the playwright Kathleen Kinsolving.

What is a staged reading?

A staged reading is where actors perform a play in front of a seated audience with scripts in hand (very similar to a radio play). There are no props, sets, or costumes; it’s not a fully staged production with a 10-minute intermission. As an audience member, you are invited to savor the playwright’s words through the actors’ performances. PIKE will include a slide show as a visual guideline.

What inspired you to write PIKE? 

Several years ago, I was teaching high school seniors Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, which included the line, “I think my father is like the Holy Trinity” – I immediately remembered how Bishop Pike questioned this concept, which was one of the reasons he was a controversial figure. A lightbulb went off over my head: “You need to write a play about him.” Not long after this divine inspiration, I began my research. 

Why is Bishop Pike so important?

He was a theologian visionary, very ahead of his time.  Bishop Pike wanted to do away with outdated ideals in order to keep the Episcopal church alive.  He rejected an honorary doctorate degree from Sewanee University because they didn’t accept African American students.  In 1965, he called on his clergy to participate in the Selma-Montgomery march and later invited Dr. King to preach at Grace Cathedral. Bishop Pike also instigated the push for womens’ ordination, giving permission for deaconess Phyllis Edwards to be the first woman to perform the Holy Eucharist. Finally, he honored gay clergy by reinstating these fired priests to their original posts.

Register today for PIKE: A Staged Reading on September 3 at 7 pm.

Kathleen Kinsolving grew up in the Bay Area during the 1960s, which influenced her to write about Bishop Pike. She also penned her father’s biography, Lester Kinsolving, a worker-priest (and Pike’s legislative assistant) who investigated Jim Jones and the People’s Temple in 1972 for the San Francisco Chronicle. She is an English teacher, poet, film essayist, and screenwriter and is currently writing a play about Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands. 

On March 13, our Canon Pastor, The Rev. Canon Mary Carter Greene, gave the opening invocation at a small gathering for President Biden in San Diego. During their conversation, President Biden asked that Grace Cathedral pray for him and mentioned his abiding affection and respect for the Episcopal Church for our commitment to social justice.

Here is the Prayer of Invocation for an Evening with President Biden:

Gracious God,

Source of all that we are,

Draw our attention to your presence.

For this is no ordinary day.

On this day, at this hour, in this sacramental moment,

we come together giving thanks and asking your blessing.

Accept our thanks for this remarkable gathering, for our hosts, for Megan and Allan and their boys, and hear our deep gratitude for the people who prepared and served the food we will eat, along with all the others who made our being here possible.

As we give thanks, we ask your blessing on each of us, on those in our hearts, those depending on us, and for those who have no one to speak for them.

In this time together, we pray that the needs and dreams of the voiceless and the powerless, as well as our own interests and hopes would be known and met with your favor.

As we gather easily and in safety, keep us ever mindful of this privilege, and enable us and our leaders to end violence and oppression of all kinds.

Finally, we give thanks for and ask your continued blessing on President and Mrs. Biden. Help President Biden and all the leaders of this country to continue guiding us forward with discernment, decency, courage, and hope. Continue to bless our country, that the United States will soon find accord among its people and realize its dream of equity and Justice.

This is no ordinary day, and your presence makes that so.

To the glory of your name for ever, Amen.

Grace Cathedral will celebrate the Feast of All Souls on November 13 at the Sunday 11 am Choral Eucharist.  This is when we gather to remember beloved friends and family members who have died, joining our prayers with theirs in the communion of saints. Your gift honors the memory of your beloved dead and extends the good works begun during their earthly pilgrimage. * 

As part of that service, the Cathedral Choir of Men & Boys will perform Mozart’s majestic setting of the Requiem, joined by a full orchestra and soloists. The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young will preach. 

Mozart began composing the Requiem in 1791 but died before he could finish the piece. In the final days of his life, as his health continued to deteriorate, he told his wife that he felt he was writing it for his funeral. We had a chance to catch up with Gabriel Fanelli, our Choirmaster, to tell us more about the Requiem service and particularly what to expect from the Cathedral Choir of Men & Boys performance.    

Tell us, what will people expect from this year’s Requiem service musically? 

This piece explores the full range of emotions that come with loss: some movements express grief, anger, and confusion, but there are also moments of peace, assurance, and hope. While the Feast of All Souls is a time to pause, look back, and remember those who have passed, I hope the music also encourages attendees to look ahead and continue to share the gifts and the spirits of those we love but see no longer. 

I understand there are different choices of music that can be performed during a Requiem service. Why was Mozart chosen this year? 

Since Mozart died before he could finish his Requiem, we will perform a version completed by musicologist and composer Robert Levin. As such, it beautifully encapsulates the spirit of honoring the legacy of those who have come before while continuing to share and build upon the beautiful things they have left us. 

Do you have any advice for anyone who may have never attended a Requiem musical performance, particularly anything to look out for? 

Simply allow yourself to be in the moment. Let the music help you examine your pleasant or difficult feelings and use this as a time to step out of your day-to-day life. Music isn’t something that needs to be understood intellectually – if you let it into your heart, you’ll discover it can touch and move you in a way that nothing else can. 

The choir has already been working hard rehearsing for this day. Here is a sneak peek as they rehearse the “Dies irae” movement of Mozart’s Requiem.: 

* Tributes received by Monday, October 31, will be recognized in the Requiemservice leaflet and will combine with tributes received by Monday, November 7, for a full listing on our online  Remembrance Page.

The campaign to eliminate involuntary servitude for people incarcerated in California from the state constitution is on hold until the legislature reconvenes in January. Efforts to stop forced labor wherever it exists are ongoing in other forums. On October 6, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco will hear the appeal of a $23 million judgment in favor of asylum seekers and other immigrants in an immigrant detention center in Tacoma, Washington, operated by The Geo Group. This multibillion-dollar corporation runs dozens of similar facilities around the United States and globally. Before the judgment was handed down, Geo was paying detainees $1 per day for doing laundry, cleaning, and preparing food.

The legal issues in the case on appeal differ from the anti-slavery initiatives that have already passed in three states and will be on the ballot in five more states in November. The businesses that operate immigrant detention centers cannot rely on involuntary servitude and slavery exceptions in the state and federal constitutions to justify forced labor by detainees because penal exceptions don’t apply to asylum seekers and others who have not been convicted of any crime. Legal distinctions aside, there is little or no practical or moral difference between the way immigrant detainees and prisoners are compensated. Class action lawsuits have been brought around the country, including ones filed recently in California seeking damages on behalf of detainees in two Geo-operated facilities for wage theft, unjust enrichment, and forced labor in violation of federal and state laws. Gay Crosthwait Grunfeld, counsel in one of the California cases, explains that the detainees have no natural choice except to work under the threat of sanctions. “It’s shocking. These workers are forced to do an eight-hour shift for $1 a day. That’s a blatant violation of California minimum wage laws and other labor protections.” (Ms. Grunfeld is a member of Grace Cathedral’s congregation.)

Whether the Court of Appeals will uphold the Washington jury judgment is an open question. The Ninth Circuit recently ruled that a California law phasing out private prisons and detention facilities doesn’t apply to ICE facilities. Some good news is that the California Attorney General has filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs in the Washington case. There is reason to hope. Let us offer our prayers for advocates working within the legal system, judges, legislators, and all who seek to make the ideals in our constitution and laws a reality not only for the powerful and protected but for all.

Grace Cathedral makes a difference in people’s lives. Through Grace, you can make a difference while connecting with others in service and fellowship. 

Grace Cathedral has a vast family of ministries, some devoted to our worship and congregation life and others in service and partnership with our neighbors. Every year, one Sunday in September, the Grace community comes together to celebrate these ministries and the Grace congregation over food, fun activities, informal conversations, and information sharing. This year, Congregation Sunday will be held on September 11 in person, on the plaza, and immediately following the 11 am service. 

Congregation Sunday answers questions like “How can I get involved?” “How can I get more involved with Grace?” and finally, “How can I get to know my fellow Grace congregants better?” So many people want to contribute their time and talents to make the world a better place. Congregation Sunday pulls together concrete ways to volunteer and get more involved in the cathedral’s work while connecting directly with others in the Grace community and beyond. 

This is a time to learn more about the many ministries and programs at Grace! Ministry representatives will be on the plaza for one-on-one conversations about their work: Where and when do they meet? How much time do they involve? What’s the level of commitment they require? Some, such as the Stitching Ministry, meet a few hours every two weeks, while others, like Dinner with Grace, provide regular sign-up opportunities to volunteer as your schedule permits. Over coffee and snacks, you can browse the tables, learn more from fellow Grace congregants, and explore ways to get more involved. 

Here are some of the ministries that will be at Congregation Sunday: 

Bayview Mission – Bayview Mission is a Special Mission of the Episcopal Diocese of California with strong support from Grace Cathedral. It provides enrichment services and meets basic needs for families with infants and toddlers, seniors, and foster care groups in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhoods. 

Carillonneurs – Carillonneurs, or bell ringers, share in the expression of music as worship. Experienced keyboardists (piano, harpsichord, organ) and bell ringers play the cathedral carillon (bells) before and after worship and special services. 

Congregation Council – The Congregation Council is a group of elected representatives that promotes community, identifies needs, and provides a voice to congregation concerns. 

Dinner with Grace – Dinner with Grace builds community, engenders empathy, and combats loneliness through volunteer-prepared healthy meals shared with individuals transitioning from homelessness.   

Docents – Docents lead tours describing the cathedral’s history, architecture, stained glass, and other features. 

Education for Ministry – EfM is a small-group-based program of lay education in the Bible, church history, and theology that meets from September to June. Participants develop deep friendships, a way of looking at things through a theological lens, and leadership skills. 

Labyrinth Guild – Supports monthly candlelight Labyrinth Walks and other events. 

Men of Grace – Committed to supporting one another, Men of Grace conducts various activities to deepen faith and provide service to the cathedral and broader community. 

Seniors with Grace – The cathedral’s seniors are a diverse, stimulating community of seasoned people aging with Grace. We gather to learn, grow, stay healthy and enjoy each other’s company – and everyone is welcome. 

Ushers Guild – The ushers welcome and manage the flow of worship services by helping with seating, taking the collection, and guiding people during communion. 

Women in Community – Gathers monthly for mutual support and fellowship, building friendships among women drawn to the Grace Cathedral community. 

We hope to see you there!  

Dear Grace Cathedral community, 

Your voice matters! We invite you to share your thoughts and priorities with us in the 2022 Congregation Survey. Your input is very important as we continue to reimagine church with courage, joy, and wonder.    

This year, we have added some new questions based on feedback from the congregation and have re-imaged ones from years past. We estimate the total completion time to take 30 minutes if all questions are answered. The respondent’s information is confidential.   

Please plan to complete this survey before August 18.   

We look forward to sharing the result at our September Town Hall Meeting.  

Gratefully yours.
Grace Cathedral