All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California

Out & About—All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My religious background is quite varied. I was born Catholic (dad). Switched to Mormon when I was six (mom). Switched back to Catholic when I was eleven (dad’s mom).

When I left home for college at Texas A&M University, I lived in the dorm my first year. I made friends on my dorm floor with people who were Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, Buddhist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Jewish, Scientology, Rastafari, Hindu, and even Native American. Those are just the ones I can remember. We had a group of about 20 students who went exploring each weekend, visiting different churches and religions, usually on Sunday, but we made exceptions when necessary for Saturday or a week day, depending on the religion.

Ever since that time, I have had little respect for religion. Everyone had a different God. Didn’t make sense to me then, and still doesn’t make sense to me now. However, I’m a full supporter of religion if it helps create responsible citizens, i.e., if its members don’t go raping, pillaging, or killing people (ooops, that leaves out a lot of religions!).

I love to visit churches, though, because they usually are some of the most beautiful architecture around. I do wonder, though, what kind of god requires that these huge edifices be built in her honor instead of using that money to house the homeless, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, heal the sick……….

Recently, when I was up in Pasadena, I found three beautiful churches within blocks of each other. That took me back to my college days wondering whose god was the biggest and the baddest…..

One church was not open to visitors so I didn’t bother taking any pictures of it. Another church had a huge brick campanile; read about it here in my blog at The Leaning Tower of Brick. The third church was across the street from City Hall (see my City Hall pictures at Pasadena City Hall). It was open to visitors so I took pictures of the interior and exterior:

All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is All Saints Episcopal Church in downtown Pasadena. According to Wikipedia, it is Southern California’s “largest and most liberal churches.” According to Rector Ed Bacon, via Wikipedia: “Political activism ‘is in the DNA of the church.’ “

Therein lies another problem for me: the mixing of religion and politics. My personal belief is that it should not be done. Nothing good can come of it. And I mean nothing. All we have to do is look at today’s Republican leaders in the United States, not to mention theocracies in other countries. Nope. Nothing good can come of mixing religion and politics. There’s a reason why the Founding Fathers created a wall of separation between church and state. If churches want to get involved in politics, then we need to start taxing them. Heck, we should tax them anyway. That alone would budget the balance and reduce the federal deficit to zero!

All Saints Episcopal Church has been so involved in politics throughout its history that the IRS actually did investigate them after the 2004 presidential election. It took three years for the IRS to conclude its investigation. On September 10, 2007, the IRS notified the congregation that its sermon on the Sunday before the presidential election was political campaign intervention. However, the IRS offered no explanation as to why the sermon violated the ban on political intervention, did not indicate if it intended to impose excise taxes on the church or its officers, and did not revoke the church’s tax exempt status.

All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All Saints Episcopal Parish was founded in November 1882. The current church building was built in 1923-1924, opening in December 1924. It was designed by noted architects Roland Coate (1890-1958), Reginald Davis Johnson (1882 – 1952) and Gordon Kaufmann (1888–1949) in the Gothic Revival style. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wikipedia lists several political and social activism moments of note which I found interesting:

  • 1942 — Rector Frank Scott stands “in front of trains to protest the removal of Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II”
  • 1964 — Rector John Burt joins with Martin Luther King, Jr., to speak for racial justice in Los Angeles
  • 1971 — Rector George Regas preaches anti-Vietnam War sermon, “Mr. President, The Jury is In”
  • 1987 — All Saints’ AIDS Service Center created
  • 1990 — Regas preaches “God, Sex and Justice” sermon on homosexuality
  • 1992 — First same-sex union blessing, of Mark Benson and Philip Straw, performed on January 18
  • 1999 — New Vision Partners founded to advance a peace and justice agenda from an interfaith basis
  • 2004 — Regas preaches “If Jesus Debated Senator Kerry and President Bush” on October 31. (This was the sermon that caused the IRS investigation.)
  • 2008 — Mel White and Gary Nixon become first same-sex couple married at All Saints Church in response to a ruling by the California Supreme Court of California
  • 2008 — Following the passage of California Proposition 8, the All Saints Vestry passes a resolution supporting their clergy in declining to act as agents of the state in marriage while the state discriminates against same-sex couples. (If gay couples can’t get married, neither can straight couples!)
  • 2009 — Appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Bacon’s January 7 statement that “being gay is a gift from God” creates controversy and provides a national platform for All Saints’ message of inclusion
  • 2009 — Bacon joins with interfaith witnesses at the White House as part of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If I were religious and lived in Pasadena, I’m pretty sure I’d belong to All Saints Episcopal Church.

Pasadena map

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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11 thoughts on “Out & About—All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena

  1. Lisa

    There is a certain irony isn’t there if you are non-religious (as I am) in that all the most amazing historic architecture in the world (or a lot of it) has been put up and is built in the name of religion….Catholicism has been the basis for some of the most amazing paintings and sculpture made all through time as well as so many cathedrals etc etc…… 🙂

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  2. Hollis Hildebrand-Mills

    Yes, I am a mix of things myself and sometimes the most “religious” people can be the nastiest. I was raised in the Episcopal Church and hurray for their view on gay and lesbian issues! As far as the architecture of all churches, there is nothing better! Except in East Berlin where, before the wall came down all the steeples were cut off! Thanks for the post!

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  3. cat9984

    I have been an Episcopalian my entire life and current serve in a Cathedral. We are liberal in the sense that we believe that all human beings are equal and deserve to be treated equally. We also allow clergy to speak on social issues as their conscience directs them. I understand your lack of belief completely, there are many in your position. However, there are many of us “religious” people who are kind, compassionate, and trying very hard to be the people we believe Jesus intended us to be. My point is not to proselytize, but to offer another opinion.

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  4. an uncommon girl

    It isn’t about going to church but about faith. Almost everyone from every faith goes to church but I believe that the New Testament church is the believers and not an organization. And while it’s nice to get together with others who believe close to the same, church as it operates today is not a Godly place so much as a man made place. I hope you don’t let religion steer you away from knowing God. Hope i haven’t offended anyone. thanks for visiting my blog from time to time 🙂

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I have discovered over the course of my life that I don’t need to know anyone’s god. I believe like Paul McCartney said when George Harrison died, “God is simply Good missing an O. Devil is simply Evil with a D in front.” I know the difference between good and evil, God and Devil. So if there is a god, and she doesn’t like me in spite of my lifetime of service to others, if she is willing to take a murderer over me simply because the murderer said on his death bead, “I repent and accept Jesus Christ as my savior,” well, that’s not a god that I want to be associated with anyway.

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      1. an uncommon girl

        I’ve discovered a lot from life too, some good and some bad; life is tough and it isn’t suppose to be fair. It isn’t suppose to be what we want either. I mean, just because I’m “good” doesn’t mean much. Good by who’s definition? ??
        God does things the way God wants them. And life is what it is because of Our choices.We have choices and make choices everyday. We have power, too!
        You don’t have to know anyone’s god or please people (those churchgoers that we originally were talking about) but we DO have to obey God and have a relationship with him (I’m sure you’ve heard that “relationship” word but I can’t think of another word to use, sorry). That’s where some agree and others don’t. Why some follow and others say “I don’t want to be assoicated with Him”.
        My Thank You page on my blog has my email address. Email about stuff, I could use the thinking, too LOL

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          If your God does things the way your God wants them, I want absolutely nothing to do with your God………..

          Murders, rapists, famine, billions of people starving to death, disease, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, floods, fire………..

          Nope, I want absolutely nothing to do with a God who supposedly is all powerful and all-knowing but doesn’t seem to care about “all” of his children.

          And if you don’t know what good is, the difference between good and evil, I truly feel sorry for you. One doesn’t need religion of any type to know what good is, but religions definitely teach hate, and I know THAT’s not good!

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  5. Naomi Baltuck

    Hi Russel,
    I am not religious, and fervently believe in separation of church and state, although I would not begrudge anyone else the comfort of religion, so long as they don’t try to impose or legislate their religious beliefs upon others. It seems to me that most religions seem designed to keep women in their place, at the bottom of the food chain, ladder, totem pole. And if they didn’t start out that way, somehow it gets twisted into that. Perhaps it’s changing for some of them, but I have no interest in and little respect for any organization that doesn’t support full and equal rights and position for all humans.

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