Love. Acceptance. Community.
With admirers ranging from Harvey Milk and Huey Newton to Warren Buffett, Dr. Maya Angelou, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, GLIDE Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco has been inspiring, infuriating, welcoming, and changing the world for fifty years.
Now in Beyond the Possible, the two founders, Reverend Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani, show how GLIDE transformed a dwindling all-white congregation into a diverse and energetic community of the poor, the disenfranchised, the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill, the newly immigrated, and the politically passionate.
A vivid storyteller, Cecil describes removing the trappings of conventional religion to make way for a new spirituality—one that embraces gay rights, jazz in the sanctuary, the antiwar movement, and Celebrations that fill the church to this day. In prose as gripping as her acclaimed poetry, Janice recalls starting out at GLIDE as a nonbeliever in the 1960s who found herself drawn to Cecil's vision for social justice.
Soon we see how Cecil's charismatic power, combined with Janice's organizing genius, created a model for wraparound health care, a million free meals a year, apartments for the homeless, and a stand-up pride that confronted police brutality, riots, racism, and institutional bigotry. And we discover that GLIDE's insistence on inviting rather than avoiding controversy has revolutionized approaches to drug addiction, racial conflict, and domestic violence.
Both a personal love story and a riveting view of American history, Beyond the Possible demonstrates what is truly possible for all of us. Here is Obamacare with a human face. Here is Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of "the beloved community" come to life at last. And here is a courageous couple facing impossible odds—and discovering the power of unconditional love time and time again.
“Cecil and Janice took a dying church and turned it into one of the most important social institutions that I’ve seen in this country.” — WARREN BUFFETT
“Humor, courage, and conviction radiate through these stories…The authors’ persistent self-examination and honest recounting provide a generous, faithful window into Glide’s consequential ministry.” — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“ Rev. Williams and Janice Mirikitani welcomed the underground characters, criminals, prostitutes, drug dealers, and everyone into the church. They offered joy to all of us. We learned and we grew and I am one of one thousand to join tens of thousands to say thank you to Cecil and Jan.” — DR. MAYA ANGELOU
“Glide Memorial is the soul of San Francisco. Cecil now shares his wisdom earned over a lifetime of saying and doing right against all odds. Blessed are we!” — ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU
“ It’s a radical Christ that Cecil Williams follows. Social justice is a next-door neighbor to redemption, in Williams’s wisdom. . .no faith without actions is his doctrinal certitude. Glide is the only parish I know where you can get an HIV test during the service. . . and everyone, I mean everyone is welcome as they are. I f I lived closer, I’d go to church every day.” — BONO
“Glide has been a beacon in San Francisco and something for which we can all be proud. Cecil and Janice now share their many stories and lessons of wisdom, courage, and leadership so we all can benefit.” — JEREMY AFFELDT, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
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