The street between All Saints Church, Pasadena, and Pasadena City Hall was filled with more than 2,000 people on May 1 for a service of Holy Eucharist marking rector Ed Bacon’s retirement after 21 years at the parish, said to be the largest Episcopal congregation in the western United States.
During his tenure at All Saints’, Bacon became a leader in peace and justice and interfaith work in the Los Angeles area. He is a co-founder of ICUJP (Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace) and Abrahamic Faiths Peacemaking Initiative (AFPI). He also founded New Vision Partners, an interfaith group that helps develop young people as peace and justice leaders.
Bacon also was a co-founder of Beyond Inclusion and Claiming the Blessing, two organization advocating for LGBT rights within the Episcopal Church. He continued All Saints’ policy of welcoming all couples wishing to be married at there. church. For a time, the church declined to allow any weddings until gay and lesbian couples were legally permitted to wed in California.
Bacon gained wide attention in 1909 when he was a guest on the “Spirituality 101” segment of The Oprah Winfrey Show’s “Living Your Best Life” series and told a caller, “Being gay is a gift from God.” He became a regular on Winfrey’s “Soul Series” on her Oprah & Friends radio program.
In recognition of his peace and justice work, Bacon has received numerous awards from church and community organizations, including the Pasadena Human Relations Commission, the Islamic Center of Southern California, Los Angeles County Children & Family Services (for service to and support of foster children), the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the Islamic Shura Council, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Pasadena branch of NAACP. He holds honorary doctorates from his undergraduate alma mater, Mercer University in Macon, Georgia; and Church Divinity School of the Pacific. The Candler School of Theology at Emory University presented to him their Whiteside Distinguished Preacher in 199.
Bishop J. Jon Bruno named Bacon an honorary canon of the Cathedral Center in 2005.
In retirement, Bacon and his wife, Hope Hendricks-Bacon, will relocate to Birmingham, Alabama, to be near their two adult children and their grandchildren.