Venue Spotlight: Swedenborgian Church of San Francisco
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A charming historic sanctuary breathes peacefully in the vibrant city of colorful Victorian homes, jolly cable cars, and one iconic bridge. Born in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco in 1895, the Swedenborgian Church is a true native within the bustling city scene. Loosely bordered by the Marina district and the Presidio, the scenic neighborhood spares none when it comes to showcasing the best of the city. Here, the refreshing bay breeze greets each visitor as the panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the woodsy Presidio, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the expansive bay delight the senses. Located in such a neighborhood, it’s no wonder that the church—a National Historic Landmark—has served as an unforgettable destination for weddings for over a century. Throughout its life, Swedenborgian Church has welcomed the involvement of many of San Francisco’s most important personages. Robert Frost, for one, attended Sunday School here. The founders of the Sierra Club were all active associates, including naturalist John Muir. The club’s legendary landscape painter, William Keith, painted four large murals that line the sanctuary, while Phoebe Hearst (William Randolph Hearst’s mother) is represented by her donation of a rare cast-iron copy of Peter Vischer’s 15th-century “Praying Madonna.” Couples wedded at the church sign the registry book, embedding their union into the pages of San Franciscan history.
The historic Swedenborgian Church is rustic and enchanting in the Arts and Crafts tradition, humbly housed under a red tiled roof that highlights the simple yet picturesque face of the building. Small steps lead to the iron-wrought door that invites guests to enter. Inside, the chapel glows with warm candle light, adding a glossy, cherry-brushed finish to the wood walls. Rays from the sun seep gently through the windows, melting together with the deep color scheme of the interior. The fire burning in the large brick fireplace at the back of the room intensifies the intimate atmosphere, and wooden beams form a grid across the ceiling, furthering the sense of depth and character. The most eye-catching feature of the chapel proves to be the arching overhead beams. The Madrone tree trunks curve over the handmade Mission-style maple chairs, symbolizing the appreciation for the beauty of nature that gave rise to the church’s spirit. William Keith’s murals attest to this spirit as they grace the left wall of the chapel. Adjacent to the chapel is a turn-of-the-century Craftsman house where celebrations unfold. The Garden Room, the Fireside Room, and the Dining Room all boast a quaint and homey ambiance suited for a warm evening with loved ones. A lively historic garden with a small pool, tidy trees, benches, and delicate flowers entices guests to wander outside and enjoy the tranquil scene before them. Picturesque in its rustic simplicity, Swedenborgian Church is an unspoiled venue tucked within a dynamic metropolis.
Photos provided by: Swedenborgian Church Photography by: Nikki Ritcher Photography, Laurie Passey Photography, Ely Roberts Photography, Juan Carlos Photography, Heather Elizabeth Photography, Jere Visalli Photography
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