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Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Grace Cathedral is an Episcopal cathedral located on Nob Hill in San Francisco. It is the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of California, once state-wide in area, now comprising parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The cathedral has become an international pilgrimage center for church-goers and visitors alike, famed for its mosaics by De Rosen,[1] a replica of Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, two labyrinths, varied stained glass windows, Keith Haring AIDS Chapel altarpiece, and medieval and contemporary furnishings, as well as its 44 bell carillon, three organs, and choirs.

It contains one of only seven remaining Episcopal men and boys cathedral choirs, the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, along with two other choirs with its corresponding boys K-8 school in the United States, along with Washington National Cathedral. Its director of music and choirmaster is Ben Bachmann. The Very Reverend Alan Jones retired as dean on January 31, 2009. He was also the moderator of The Forum at Grace Cathedral. On June 25, 2010, the Rev. Canon Dr. Jane Alison Shaw was named the eighth dean of Grace Cathedral.

Its ancestral parish, Grace Church, was founded in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. The cathedral is the daughter of historic Grace Church. The first little chapel was built in the gold rush year of 1849, and the imposing third church, for a time called Grace “Cathedral”, was destroyed in the fire following the 1906 earthquake. The railroad baron/banker Crocker family gave their ruined Nob Hill property for a diocesan cathedral, which took its name and founding congregation from the nearby parish.

Mark Twain was to satirize the church’s efforts to find a short-term rector in the 1860s and 1870s. Among the short-term rectors were roll film inventor Hannibal Goodwin and James Smith Bush great-grandfather of former US President George H. W. Bush and great-great-grandfather of former US President George W. Bush.[2]

Dean J. Wilmer Gresham nurtured the young cathedral and work began on the present structure in 1928. Designed in French Gothic style by Lewis P. Hobart, it was completed in 1964 as the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the nation.

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