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Church of the Angels

May 4th, 2009 | By | Category: The Office Filming Locations

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A few weeks ago, my good friend and fellow stalker Kerry, who was a HUGE fan of  the show Knots Landing  during her high school years, set about to locate the church where the characters Joshua and Cathy got married in the Sixth Season episode of the series entitled “For Better, For Worse”.  And it wasn’t long before she found it.  That church turned out to be none other than Church of the Angels, a place that is no stranger to the silver screen.  So, last weekend I dragged my boyfriend right out to stalk it. 

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Church of the Angels, which was built in 1889, has the distinction of being Pasadena’s oldest church.  The church was built by the widow of one of the first settlers of the Pasadena area, Mrs. Frances E. Campbell Johnston, in memory of her husband, Alexander Robert Campbell Johnston.  In 1883, the Campbell-Johnstons, who were natives of Great Britain, purchased 2,000 acres of what is now known as Pasadena and named it San Rafael Ranch.  Alexander passed away only five years later in 1888 and his wife decided to build a church in his honor on their land.     The church was designed by English architect Arthur Edmund Street and was based on Holmbury St. Mary’s Church in Surrey.  The cornerstone of the church was laid in place on April 20, 1889 by Frances herself and construction was completed a short six months later on September 29, 1889.  Originally named Mission of the Church of the Angels, the Episcopalian church is now simply called Church of the Angels.

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When Frances passed away in November of 1893, her sons had a large sundial placed at the front of the church in her memory.

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Church of the Angels is an absolutely idyllic place.  It honestly looks like it came right out of the pages of a fairy tale.  As we walked up to it I felt like I was in the middle of Disney’s Fantasyland – the sun was shining, the sky was bright blue, and (no joke) birds were chirping everywhere.  I half expected Snow White to stick her head out of a window and start singing “Someday My Prince Will Come”.  LOL  It’s really no wonder why the church has been featured in hundreds of productions over the years.  It’s a simply magical place.

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Practically everywhere you look there is some small, but exquisite detail that adds to the church’s charm.  The tiny wooden doors, the sandstone walls, the arched walkways, the three acres of beautifully maintained landscaping.  It’s like no other church I’ve ever seen. 

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The interior of the church is just as beautiful as the exterior.  The first thing you notice upon entering is the amazing stained glass window located behind the altar.  The window, which illustrates the resurrection of Jesus, was built in London and, according to the Church of the Angels website,  is said to be “one of the finest examples of stained glass in America”.  Frances Campbell-Johnston actually commisioned the church to be built facing the West, so that the sun would better radiate through the amazing window. 

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The church’s walls are made of red pressed brick and the peaked ceiling is made entirely out of redwood, giving the interior the feeling of a medieval castle.  The church is actually much smaller than it appears – it can accomodate only 130 patrons – thus creating a very warm, intimate atmosphere.

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Along the sides of the church, there are several tiny, little doors built into the brick walls.  The doors lead to stairways, offices, and restrooms.  As is stated in the Church of the Angels’ informational brochure, the stairways are “steep and narrow.  People in 1889 were smaller than we are today.”  How cute is that???  :)   

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Church of the Angels has one of the biggest pipe organs I have ever seen!!  It was built in 1889 at the Roosevelt Organ Works in New York City and is still in use today.

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Amazingly enough, Church of the Angels still looks exactly the same today as it did when Knots Landing was filmed there back in 1985.  You can watch Cathy and Josh’s wedding scene here. 

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Besides Knots Landing, the church was also featured in the Season 5 episode of Desperate Housewives  entitled “The Story of Lucy and Jesse”, as the location of Carlos’ boss, Bradley’s, funeral.

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It was also where Ashton Kutcher married Brittany Murphy in Just Married. 

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screenshot971  And it was the location of the many funerals in the 1988 movie Heathers.  Yes, that’s Shannen Doherty in the above screen capture.  :)

It was also recently featured in the Season 7 episode of The Office titled “Christening”, as the location where Jim and Pam Halpert (aka John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer’s) had their baby baptized.

Church of the Angels was also featured in the Season 9 episode of The X-Files  entitled “Hellbound”, the Season 4 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer entitled “Who Are You”, several episodes of JAG, The West Wing, Lawnmower Man, Mick Jagger’s “God Gave Me Everything I Want” music video, and an episode of TLC’s A Wedding Story.

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I HIGHLY recommend stalking Church of the Angels.  It is literally one of the most beautiful  and unique places I have ever seen!  My boyfriend even enjoyed stalking it!  I have to say it is one of the very few places he didn’t mind being dragged to.  :)

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: Church of the Angels is located at 1100 Avenue 64 in Pasadena.  You can visit their website here.

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11 comments

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  1. Richard Yokley says:

    An episode of Days of our Lives was filmed here where Jack kidnaps Jennifer on her wedding day on a fire truck. Jack Harcourt Deveraux (Matthew Ashford) and Jennifer Rose Horton (Melissa Reeves). Possibly 1990 but unsure of episode air date

  2. Big Love was also filmed there. The episode where Nickie puts her child in non-Mormon day care

  3. Carly says:

    Bones Season 2 Episode 17 was also filmed there :)

  4. lavonna says:

    Just watched the Office episode…had to re-read the post. Also used to watch Knots Landing…and saw Heathers!

  5. Gaby G. says:

    they just filmed the chuck wedding there yesterday too!! it won’t air till may though

  6. Amanda Woodward says:

    The church can be seen in the episode “In Bed with the Enemy” of “Melrose Place” (season 2).

  7. E.J. says:

    Also wedding scene from the Eva Longoria film Over My Dead Body…


Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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  2. […] which was then owned by the Campbell-Johnsons, the very same family who built the oft-filmed-at Church of the Angels.  And then there are further reports still which state that the site was first developed by the […]

  3. […] a link to a chick who dressed as Quorra from the new […]

  4. […] I rewatched part of the episode to try to see some signage (which I did) and subsequently found this site about the Church of Angels.  It’s apparently the oldest church in Pasadena and has been used […]

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