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Trinity + St. Peter’s Episcopal Church - National Fund For Sacred Places
2016 Cohort

Trinity + St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

San Francisco, California

Trinity + St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco houses the oldest Protestant congregation in California and the oldest Episcopal congregation on the Pacific Coast.

Trinity + St. Peter’s Episcopal Church by Alessandra Kameron

Trinity + St. Peter’s Episcopal Church by Alessandra Kameron

2016 Cohort

Trinity + St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

San Francisco, California

Trinity + St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco houses the oldest Protestant congregation in California and the oldest Episcopal congregation on the Pacific Coast.

The establishment of the Church of the Holy Trinity in 1849 predated the official incorporation of San Francisco. The congregation has occupied four church buildings throughout its history, remaining in its current church since its completion in 1894. Architect Arthur Page Brown designed the church using Durham Cathedral in England as inspiration, and components from the congregation’s earlier churches, including the city’s oldest painted glass, are integrated into the building. Unlike many of Brown’s buildings, this church survived the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake thanks to its structural steel frame and construction on bedrock. During the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, the church emerged as a spiritual home for LGBTQ individuals who were not welcome at most churches. In 2012, Church of the Holy Trinity merged with St. Peter’s Church, a historic congregation established in 1867 that founded the first charity in the diocese in order to care for women in need.

The combined Trinity + St. Peter’s congregation identifies as “caretakers of [the church’s] treasures and future possibilities.” Trinity + St. Peter’s collaborates and shares space with many other organizations, including the Freedom In Christ Evangelical Church, a street soccer league, a multi-ethic theater, a dance studio, and a community-based chorus. The congregation is committed to welcoming congregants and neighbors facing housing insecurity to a regular community dinner.

 An $80,000 National Fund grant with another $80,000 in matching funds raised by the congregation is allowing Trinity + St. Peter’s to install bathrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, ramps, and emergency exits. Outside of the National Fund, the congregation is completing a seismic retrofit of the building to prevent potential damage from future earthquakes.

Historic Houses of Worship as Advocates for LGBTQ Rights & Inclusion

Houses of worship may not be the first places that come to mind when thinking about institutions that uplifted lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, as many LGBTQ individuals across the nation and the world have faced discrimination as a result of the policies of organized religions. Although discrimination against this community has not been extinguished from religious institutions, an increasing number of religious groups in the United States have taken firm steps towards welcoming and advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ community.

Trinity + St. Peter’s Episcopal Church by Alessandra Kameron

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

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