All Saints Episcopal Church
Combining high-church Episcopalian pomp with liberal social activism, All Saints draws occasional national attention, like its run-in with the IRS over its tax-exempt status. It’s been a longtime leader in Pasadena, starting and then spinning off a number of excellent nonprofits, from Union Station to Young & Healthy. Offerings include frequent services, a fantastic children’s choir program, Sunday-school classes, adult education that brings in speakers from all walks of life, youth activities, social-justice programs and ministries for all sorts of groups, from gays and lesbians to diabetics and seniors.
132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena, 626.796.1172, allsaints-pas.org
First Congregational Church of Pasadena
A member of the United Church of Christ, this grand and beautiful church is home to a liberal Christian congregation that meets on Sundays for worship services. It also hosts classes and a choir for children, a Lambda group for gay and lesbian congregants and a Justice and Peace outreach ministry.
464 E. Walnut St., Pasadena, 626.795.0696 , uccpasadena.org
Holy Family Church
A huge and vibrant Catholic community, Holy Family attracts parishioners from well outside its parish boundaries, thanks in no small part to the longtime, dynamic leadership of Monsignor Clem Connolly. The church runs a highly regarded parochial school, a bookstore, lots of outreach programs (food for the homeless, fair-trade merchandise, social-justice activism and a commitment to a community in Haiti), bible study, social events and, of course, plenty of masses.
1527 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, 626.799.8908, holyfamily.org
La Cañada Presbyterian
There’s never a dull moment at this big, bustling church, which hews to mainstream Presbyterian doctrine and is a pillar of La Cañada life. It sponsors an exceptional roster of outreach programs, from house building in Tijuana to feeding homeless folks locally, and its social and volunteer programs for kids and teens are terrific. The parent-ed classes are also a big draw.
626 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, 818.790.6708, lacanadapc.org
Lake Avenue Church
Pasadena’s Christian megachurch occupies almost an entire city block just north of the 210 Freeway, and something is always going on here, from community meetings to huge worship services to lively teen gatherings. A theologically conservative place, it offers a lot of local and international outreach programs, which emphasize evangelicalism as much as helping the needy.
393 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena, 626.844.4700, lakeave.org
This growing Islamic mosque has been improving itself, adding a minaret, classroom space and a larger prayer room. Besides providing a venue for daily prayer, it offers children’s Arabic classes and such special events as post-Ramadan potlucks.
1301 E. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel, 626.285.2573, masjidgibrael.org
Neighborhood Unitarian-Universalist Church
A place of peace and thoughtfulness, this longtime Unitarian church occupies a beautiful campus next door to the Gamble House. In Unitarian fashion, the services draw on many traditions, from Christianity the Buddhism. Neighborhood sponsors excellent music, youth education and social-justice programs, and it also serves as the home for Pasadena Pro Musica. The adult-education classes (ranging from sustainable living to a survey of world religions) are often worthwhile, and it gets politically involved on a regular basis, most recently with the marriage-equality issue.
301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena, 626.449.3470, uuneighborhood.org
Pasadena Buddhist Church
Established in 1948, this Buddhist temple, complete with a serene teahouse in the garden, has Sunday-morning services in English, followed by classes in both English and Japanese. It sponsors a lovely Obon Festival every summer to honor the memories of the deceased.
1993 Glen Ave., Pasadena, 626.798.4781, pasadenabuddhisttemple.org
Pasadena Church of God
This predominately African-American church has a more modern vibe than the old-line AME and Baptist churches—it’s made a commitment, for instance, to the American Cancer Society’s Body & Soul campaign aimed at black churches, so fruit and granola bars are served after Sunday school instead of doughnuts. Besides Sunday services, you’ll find bible study, prayer groups, choir and youth program.
404 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, 626.794.2951, pasadenachurch.com
Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center
Although this temple is technically allied with the conservative movement, it honors a diverse range of Jewish belief and practices (including interfaith families) and has a hip young rabbi. It’s a busy and engaged community, with a strong adult-education schedule, events for young families, a full roster of Shabbat and holiday services and good community-service groups, from the Green Committee to the United Synagogue Youth Program for high school kids.
1434 N. Altadena Dr., Pasadena, 626.798.1161, pjtc.net
St. Andrew Catholic Church
What sets this church apart is its architecture and art—it’s a must-visit, regardless of your religious orientation. Inspired by the Renaissance churches of Rome, it is a building of exceptional grace and color; take some time to really look at the artwork, which fills every inch of the place. Besides its beauty, it boasts a large and active community, a parochial school, plenty of masses in both English and Spanish, and all sorts of ministries and programs.
311 N. Raymond Ave., Old Pasadena, 626.792.4183, saintandrewpasadena.org
Saint Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Church
A community center as much as a church, Saint Anthony’s offers everything from Greek folk dance and Greek school to youth groups and traditional bible study. Liturgies are held weekdays and Sundays. Its fall Greek Fest is a great party for the whole town, with Greek food, music and dance.
778 S. Rosemead Blvd., East Pasadena, 626.449.6943, saint-anthonys.org
St. Elizabeth of Hungary
A warm, friendly Catholic parish, St. E’s, as it is known, has a respectable parochial school, an active community, a handsome Spanish-style church and a peaceful and lovely grotto that we highly recommend you visit, whether or not you are Catholic.
1879 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, 626.797.1167, saintelizabethchurch.org
Temple Sinai of Glendale
This welcoming Reform temple draws people from all over Pasadena and Altadena as well as Glendale and Eagle Rock. It’s home to Shabbat services, lots of bar and bat mitzvahs on Saturdays, Hebrew school and good opportunities for community service, from Habitat for Humanity homebuilding to holiday toy drives.
1212 N. Pacific Ave., Glendale, 818.246.8101, temple-sinai.net