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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Seeking Spirituality - Don't Miss these 3 SF Churches

Whether you're seeking enlightenment, or just great architecture, these three San Francisco churches fit the bill — no matter what your religion.

Grace Cathedral (1100 California Street): This Nob Hill church was founded during the gold rush in 1849. While the original building was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, this newer French Gothic masterpiece is the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the U.S. The soaring interior is dotted with stained glass — more than 7,000 square feet of it — depicting at least 11,000 people including Albert Einstein and John Glenn. It’s a bit of a celebrity draw as well — Courteney Cox and David Arquette married here. While visiting, take a few meditative moments to walk the cathedral’s two labyrinths — one inside, one outside. The labryinths are something even the kids will enjoy. Those looking for lodging could consider the Huntington Hotel, half a block away.

Glide Memorial Church (333 Ellis Street): You won’t find the fanciest people at Glide. But you will find the heart of San Francisco here. This church is probably the most inclusive one in the city — reaching out to gays and lesbians, transgenders, the homeless, people of color, and the rest of the mix. Come for a service - the kids will love the lively and soulful Glide Ensemble, which raises your spirits with music. In addition, the church's extensive social service programs provide meals, beds, healthcare and other services to those in need. The Hotel Nikko is a block from Glide.

Cathedral of St Mary of the Assumption (1111 Gough Street): It’s got a long name, but we just know it as St. Mary Maytag. Look at the top and you’ll recognize a washing machine agitator - or so it seems. The outside walkways offer a lovely view of San Francisco. Inside, however, stained glass windows make up a ceiling cross, and on the wall is a haunting, large yellow stained glass window with Jesus’ silhouette. Don’t miss the organ, perched atop a concrete column. You’ll be in walking distance from the church, if staying at the Kabuki or Best Western Tomo.

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