Rev. Angela Brown on A March For Our Lives and Leaving a Legacy of Peace
In the wake of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida and the epidemic of gun violence in this country, we sat down with Rev. Angela Brown, Associate Pastor at GLIDE Memorial Church, to discuss what we can do to end gun violence, and why we should stay hopeful and loving. Continue reading “Sensible Gun Laws Now!”
Rev. Dr. Jay Williams on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the “Urgency of Now”
This weekend San Francisco, the Bay Area and the country will honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through acts of solidarity, resistance and celebration. We sat down with GLIDE’s Lead Pastor Rev. Dr. Jay Williams to talk about this weekend’s events as well as their significance for our moment. Continue reading “"We Will Get There"”
A message from GLIDE’s Pastoral Team
A wave of cruelty is sweeping over our country.
On Tuesday the Trump Administration moved to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the immigration policy that gave “Dreamers” a fairer chance to thrive in the United States. Rightly, DACA made undocumented minors eligible for work visas and offered safety from deportation. Continue reading “Defend DACA: A Call to Action”
Introducing GLIDE’s new President and CEO, Karen Hanrahan
After a nationwide search lasting more than a year, GLIDE is thrilled to welcome Karen Hanrahan as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. This is a new position, created last year by GLIDE’s Board of Trustees as part of a carefully managed transition plan. The intention throughout has been to ensure that GLIDE retains the dynamic leadership necessary to carry its social justice mission forward, as Co-Founders Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani move to part-time positions, having guided and grown GLIDE with phenomenal success and impact for over five decades. Continue reading “Dynamic Leadership Team Complete!”
“I’m not a professional photographer, I’m a political organizer. I happen to use the camera to tell the story of the work I do.”
—Bob Fitch, Civil Rights photographer, former GLIDE seminary intern, and author of Hippie Is Necessary
From the nostalgic perspective of this year’s 50th anniversary, San Francisco’s Summer of Love in 1967 can seem like a harmonious celebration of youth culture and creative alternative lifestyles. But the great influx of young people, popularly labeled hippies, from around the country that summer was controversial from the start.
GLIDE welcomed the hippies and, indeed, championed them as early as June 1967, when San Francisco city officials released a statement declaring their rejection of the youthful visitors, who had already begun congregating in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. In a press release, GLIDE’s Rev. Cecil Williams responded on behalf of GLIDE, defending the youthful arrivals and chastising the City for its unwelcoming response.
“We are very disturbed about the statement by the city officials which in essence rejected the pilgrims,” read the statement from Rev. Williams, “the Flower Children, who are coming to San Francisco this summer. As members of the Christian community, we are committed to the acceptance of all men whether they are on vacation, attending conventions, or seeking a new community.”
As the hippies gained prominence in the Haight-Ashbury and throughout the city, GLIDE saw an opportunity to celebrate “the beautiful people” by publishing a look into their lives. The Glide Urban Center, which was then a center for GLIDE’s advocacy work on a range of pressing social issues, commissioned Bob Fitch, a GLIDE seminary intern and later a major civil rights photographer, to create a photo essay about the hippies, which was eventually published under the title Hippie Is Necessary. The introduction to the essay explains further:
“In the last few years, Glide has intentionally gravitated toward cultural movements with major ramifications for the people—present and future. In the last year, the people who have caught Glide’s attention have been “the hippies”—as branded by the popular press. During the year the hippies have captured international interest—and have regularly confounded Glide. Glide believes that hippie developments in the Bay Area may have long range ramifications for everyone. As another step in making current trends and history self-conscious, we invited Bob Fitch to engage the new community and say in photos and text what he wants to say. His conclusion is that ‘hippie is necessary’.”
To further protest the city’s rejection of the hippies, GLIDE hosted a special Sunday Celebration entitled “Born Free.” The service featured radical poet Lenore Kandel, who read her banned poem “Circus,” and nightclub singer Ann Weldon singing “Born Free.”
In his sermon that day, Rev. Williams urged that hippies be accepted as they are, even if they looked different than what GLIDE members were used to at the time, because “the meaning of being a free man is that we no longer have to worry about how men look.”
Hippie Is Necessary is archived at Stanford University Libraries along with Bob Fitch’s other work. Fitch photographed a number of other programs related to GLIDE, including the Black People’s Free Store, and Huckleberry House for Runaways—both projects that were sponsored by the Glide Urban Center.
More of Bob Fitch’s work with Glide’s early programs, along with a diverse selection of other photos and artifacts from the Summer of Love, are now displayed in GLIDE’s Creative Space at our 330 Ellis Street location. This exhibit is, as always, free and open to the public.
GLIDE hosted its first-ever Gender Expression and Identity Summit on May 5–7. The idea came from the GLIDE Pride Team and GLIDE’s pastoral intern, Todd Whitley, who designed the gathering to deepen our understanding of issues related to transgender and gender-expansive people, increase solidarity, and hold space with and for people to discuss spirituality in the fullness of who they are. Continue reading “A Gender Identity Summit at GLIDE”
A conversation about Standing Rock, solidarity, and faith with GLIDE Seminary Intern Todd Whitley
How has Standing Rock figured in your time here at GLIDE?
The first time I preached at GLIDE I spoke about Standing Rock. I was scheduled to preach on the first day of Advent in 2016. The sermon was based on that verse that says, “To whom much is given, much will be required.” I used that verse as a way to talk about privilege—whether that’s white privilege or male privilege or cis-gender privilege — and leveraging it for groups with less privilege. The Gender Summit that I am helping to coordinate for the weekend of May 5 — 7 is one of those ways of leveraging privilege. Part of the reason for the summit is to help people be allies. A lot of people just don’t know what to ask. And they are afraid to ask, or they don’t know who to ask, so they won’t do anything because they don’t want to offend anybody. That’s the last thing that they want to do. We want to tell people, “Here’s what you need to know, in a place where it’s safe to ask questions.” If you can’t do that at GLIDE, where can you do it? Continue reading “"The Work Is Resistance"”
In our concluding post in honor of Black History Month, we offer the following excerpts from a recent conversation with GLIDE’s Isoke Femi and James Lin about the African American roots of GLIDE’s ethos of radical inclusion.
Isoke Femi: People who have studied African cosmology have recognized syncretism as a quality of the African consciousness, which is about bringing in and including various [ideas and influences] in the common [culture]. Part of what got Africans in trouble with Christian [missionaries] was that tendency. Because Africans said, “Jesus was cool! We’ll adopt him as a deity.” And the church fathers were like, “No, no! He cannot be one of many, he has to be the one.” There’s something about that that feels like it’s at the root of this idea of inclusion—that we can include almost anything. That’s one of the jump-off points for me. Continue reading “The African American Roots of Radical Inclusivity at GLIDE: A Conversation”