Grace Cathedral is an Episcopal church in the heart of San Francisco.
We are both a warm congregation and a house of prayer for all people.
We welcome visitors from all over the world.

 

What’s Happening at Grace Cathedral?

Christmas concerts begin December 10. With over 10 performances there is something for everyone!

Christmas Concerts

Saturday, December 10

Christmas concerts begin December 10. With over 10 performances there is something for everyone!

A new light art installation by our 2016 Artists in Residence Benjamin Bergery and Jim Campbell

Jacob’s Dream: A Luminous Path — Opening Events

Sunday, December 11

A new light art installation by our 2016 Artists in Residence Benjamin Bergery and Jim Campbell

Donate your crafts or purchase beautiful handmade goods at this year's Advent Sale to benefit Family Ministries.

Advent Sale

Sunday, December 11

Donate your crafts or purchase beautiful handmade goods at this year's Advent Sale to benefit Family Ministries.

This Advent season, hear preaching each Sunday from one of the diverse voices of our cathedral community.

“Coming Home for Advent and Christmas” Sermon Series: The Ven Malcolm H. Manson

Sunday, December 11

This Advent season, hear preaching each Sunday from one of the diverse voices of our cathedral community.

Donate a gift and help a San Francisco resident in need.

“Grace is Home” Gift Drive and Wrapping Party

Tuesday, December 13

Donate a gift and help a San Francisco resident in need.

Our organ recital series features some of the finest organists playing one of America's great organs

Organ Recital Series – Christopher Houlihan

Sunday, January 22

Our organ recital series features some of the finest organists playing one of America's great organs

Listen to Featured Sermons

Sunday, November 27
Sunday 11 a.m Sermon
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Alan Jones, Dean Emeritus
Sermon from Sunday's 11 a.m. Eucharist
Read sermon

The Very Rev. Dr. Alan Jones’ sermon manuscript will be available soon.

Sunday, November 20
Christ the King
Preacher: Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
Sermon from Sunday's 11 a.m. Eucharist
Read sermon

 

Sign seen recently outside a bookstore:

Post-apocalyptic fiction has been moved to our current affairs section…

 

It certainly feels that way to a lot of people, and not just on the left coast. Many are concerned that it’s not fiction – the end times are here, and judgment is raining down. Fear and violence and evil behavior are evident in abundance. It just might be less stressful to know that an asteroid was likely to strike the earth a month from now than it will be to sort out what kind of government and public policy we’re likely to see in 2017.

It may not be coincidence that our lectionary always brings us grim words of judgment and warning in election season. Jeremiah’s challenge to shepherds is hardly timid: “YOU’VE scattered my sheep and you’ve failed to attend to them – so now I’m going to attend to YOU!” says the Lord. It reminds me of what my mother used to tell us about her father warning his children, “we’re going to have words, and you’re not going to get to use any of yours!” Jeremiah speaks to all of us shepherds, as keepers of our brothers and sisters.

Yet there is always a promise of healing and hope, and never-ending reminders that the current travail is never the last word. All may not be right with the world, but God is at work, especially in the brokenness. Leonard Cohen’s death brought reminders aplenty. In a life haunted by depression and darkness, he gave us the great affirmation of Hallelujah[1] as well as the poignant and pointed Anthem of a prophet:

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.[2]

It’s time to ring the bells: bells of alarm, like those that rang here in 1906, demanding response to earthquake, fire, and disaster; church bells calling us to prayer for a divided and warring nation, or tolling the death of precious human beings – and their hopes; even the quiet tinkling as doors open to announce unexpected visitors. The bells draw attention to cracks gaping wide with pain and yearning, inviting us to enter and keep them open – toes stuffed in doorways, bodies levered into gaps in the seismic rubble, hearts offered for healing wounded and despairing souls – like the hearts of today’s ingathering.

We don’t have to look very far to discover the pain. It’s sitting here this morning – hopes dashed, fears for the future, anger at unholy words and actions. There is a lot more in the city outside these doors, and in the nation east of here.

Human pain and despair generate familiar responses – like those of Jesus’ companions on Golgotha. Some lash out with hateful mocking or vengeance, attempting to mask their own pain. Some see their own failings and believe disaster is well-deserved judgment. Others simply stand in solidarity, like the weeping women keeping vigil at the foot of the cross. And some run and hide, trying to avoid or ignore the suffering. Most of us have played all those parts at one time or another. The hardest may be finding some hope in the promise Jesus makes to his fellow felon — that before the light fades they’ll both be in paradise.

There are different ways to hear that promise – it isn’t only an assurance of heaven after they die. Might it be an ironic claim of solidarity, a tiny community of resistance in the face of the worst the world can muster? ‘Brother, we’re in this together.’ There’s a tiny crack in the doom descending, and companionship offers glimmers of hope.

What’s your version of hope for the future? When Congress meets? In four more years? Right here, right now?

I think it always comes back to solidarity. However deep the despair, hope emerges in insisting that we make this journey together, whatever comes. Jesus offers abundant witness. He may go apart to pray and sleep peacefully in a stormy boat, but he’s always there when the chips are down. He goes looking for underdogs and outsiders, offering food, healing, friendship, and hope in the face of every kind of abuse, exclusion, and injustice. Even in his own extremis, he confronts the gaping hole of despair with a spark of hope.

Christians have been mocked for worshiping a ‘god of the gaps,’ as though God’s role were to do the magical stuff that we don’t yet understand. Jesus does something far more radical, choosing to be present in the gaps and in the cracks and brokenness of existence: even there in the valley of the shadow of death we are beloved, befriended, accompanied, and never abandoned.

We’re meant to be similar shepherds, and all we really need is to claim our own belovedness, and know we’re made in the image of God. We discover more about belovedness in the diverse images of God around us, all of them (and us) yearning for somebody who dares to stick his foot in the crack, or insert her shoulder to stop a closing door, or offer a heart and ear to the suffering.

The fissures in our communities are deepening and darkening. Reports tell of more hate speech and violence than after 9/11.[3] When a BART passenger can scream at another for speaking a foreign language on her phone, when houses of worship are tagged with words of hate and exclusion, when fear abounds in the hearts of those who don’t fit some putative norm as a “real American,” we should be ringing the bells. The fear is real, and it is rampant in this land. Yet the unholy and unlovely behavior being unleashed is itself often driven by fear – fear of displacement, unemployment, and being disregarded. The great tragedy around us is that fear has pitted people and groups with profoundly similar yearnings against one another. Who doesn’t long for meaningful employment and the dignity of being recognized as a valued member of the community? Who doesn’t want to build close and loving relationships, and live in harmony? We all yearn for enough to satisfy the most essential human needs and longings, and enough more for a feast. At some level, most of us recognize that variety and diversity is essential, for living in an echo chamber is ultimately sterile – what does it generate but boredom, psychosis, and deeper fear? Together we CAN transform disaster into communities that care for the fearful, and attend to those fears in life-giving ways.

Life in Christ, life in a community of hope, is never a zero-sum game, and the kind of love that casts out fear only creates more abundant life and possibility.

Ring the bells! Hear their urgent warning and their profound hope. We can learn to put ourselves in the crack and find ourselves and others mended. Reach across some broken relationship in your life and ask to hear the lament or the fear behind it. The next time you witness a breach of human decency, step in and stand with the fearful. Remember that you don’t stand alone. Open your heart to see the humanity of those who frighten you, whether somebody asking for a handout or insisting you are wholly wrong. Each one bears the image of God, each one bears a potential blessing, each one deserves our regard and solidarity in the midst of brokenness. Remember that when we come to the Peace. Reach into the gap and offer the hope of presence, notice the beloved image of God, seek to heal the breach, and keep your foot in the door!

Is it easy? No, but it gets a bit easier with practice, and with solidarity. Notice the cracks, and walk into them looking for light. Demand light, and beat on the doors of heaven until you find it. It’s long past midnight, and the light is coming. Ring the bells!

[1] http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/leonardcohen/hallelujah.html

[2] http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/leonardcohen/anthem.html

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/opinion/a-wave-of-harassment-after-trumps-victory.html?emc=edit_tnt_20161118&nlid=16061526&tntemail0=y&_r=0

Discover Grace

Advent and Christmas

Grace Gives

Tour Smart with GraceGuide

During the season of Advent, we take time to prepare our hearts for the joy of Christmas.

Join us for advent tea, beautiful choral advent procession or our “Coming Home for Advent and Christmas” sermon series which features some of the best preachers of our day. In this season of giving, we invite you to participate in the many Grace Gives volunteer opportunities we have planned. We also celebrate the season with our amazing Christmas concerts, which are a beloved San Francisco tradition. Concerts start December 10.

The cathedral offers many ways for you to share the giving spirit of Christmas this season.

By sharing your talents, you can make a positive impact on local communities that will last beyond the holidays. Donate or volunteer to wrap gifts for our “Grace is Home” Gift Drive, serve meals with Dinner with Grace or schedule a work day at Bayview Mission.

Let our mobile app lead you through one of the city’s most beautiful and beloved landmarks.

Our mobile app GraceGuide gives visitors a fun, new way to see the cathedral. A series of compelling audio stories available on the app spans the architecture, artworks, history and role of Grace Cathedral in the community today. Current offerings are a welcome by Bishop Marc Andrus, a cathedral highlights tour, music for reflection and a treasure hunt for kids and their families. Download GraceGuide on the App Store or on Google Play by searching for GraceGuide—Tours of Grace Cathedral San Francisco.

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