The Very Reverend Penny Bridges has served as Dean, or senior pastor, of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral since 2014. During her seminary years at Yale Divinity School she worked at a transitional residential program for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, and the first funeral she conducted was for a man who died of AIDS and was disowned by his family.
Penny puts her heart and soul into developing a community where all are welcome and where those wounded by their religious experience can find healing. At St. Paul’s, leadership, both lay and ordained, is open to all orientations and gender identities. In 2015, Penny initiated the installation of multicolored lights around the cathedral. Today the interfaith “Light up the Cathedral for Pride” service is an official event of the Pride festival. In 2016 Penny led the effort to install gender-neutral, completely accessible bathrooms at the Cathedral, and she was instrumental in organizing an interfaith, pan-Latinx memorial service for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Other activities include membership of the San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force, sponsorship of the Interfaith Shelter Workshop for LGBTQ; offering blessings at events including three Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfasts, four Imperial Court de San Diego Coronations, the Pride Parade, and the Scott Carlson Thanksgiving Dinner; leadership of the Interfaith Leaders Parade lead group Lighting the Cathedral for Trans Pride; and her role as spiritual advisor to the Imperial Court’s Queen Mother of the Americas, Empress Nicole the Great.
Penny is deeply grateful for the many gifts that our LGBTQ citizens bring to St. Paul’s and the wider faith community. She currently has a dream of raising funds to purchase niches in the cathedral columbarium to house the ashes of LGBT individuals whose families have never claimed them. Penny is proud to be known as a stalwart ally of the community.
About San Diego Pride
San Diego Pride raises funds primarily through festival ticket and beverage sales, and through sponsorships, and exhibitor fees. These funds support San Diego Pride’s community philanthropy which has distributed more than $2.5 million in advancement of its mission to foster pride, equality, and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities locally, nationally, and globally.