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Witness, I am Holly, and I am Glide

I am Holly and I am Glide

Good morning Glide Family

I came to Glide 25 years ago when I had just moved out to San Francisco from the east coast. I was looking for spiritual grounding and a close friend suggested Glide. Over the years, I would come every month or so. I was always taken away by everything happening here. The music, the love, the sermons. The truth-telling in the sermons at Glide are gifts and show what radical honesty looks like.

There is the part during the celebration where we are asked to join and help. I have never helped at Glide, except for regularly donating and every now and then making sandwiches. I have always been a teacher, and so, as teachers often do, I worked too much. On Sunday, I wanted to go to Glide to restore myself, but did not know how else to connect with Glide. I kept coming, but remained on the outskirts. I sensed my disconnect, but couldn’t figure out how to resolve it, that the giving request also means opening up and connecting to people while here- the giving of oneself.

During this time I got engaged to my very atheist husband Moge. I burst into tears when Glide said they’d marry us. How could they spend time marrying us, when they are taking care of so many people. I was hugely honored. Glide is an inclusive, non judgemental, and fundamentally loving place.

We had marriage counseling with Donald Guest, and Moge said, “That was the closest I have ever heard someone from church talk like an atheist.” Donald Guest talked to us about church and science and spirituality and it really spelled out how Glide could be a place for everyone, including atheists.

I kept coming to Glide, and always wished I’d come more, but I didn’t come more. I was in that same rhythm – spending too much time on my job, and not enough time on me as a person.

When I had children, I started to understand more about humanity and reflected more on who I was and the importance of connecting to myself. This naturally brought me to Glide more, because Glide is a place that embraces those who are ready to love themselves.

Glide Kids has embraced our kids, and accepts all the children as their whole selves. They show such consistent love to the kids, including during this past year on zoom. Thank you Glide Kids volunteers. The parents are grateful to you.

About a year before the pandemic, I became an usher. I love the celebrations, and, as an usher, I can be more present during the celebrations with everyone here. The ushers really are a delightful, laid back, special group. I’m so fortunate to know them.

About two years ago, I joined the Glide White Anti-racist Group. I had worked on my racism as a teacher through my school. While this peeled off layers, the core of who I was and am remains solidly racist and so any time there is uncertainty or struggle, this core guides me away from facing it back towards comfort. I needed to be an anti-racist teacher in a pandemic, not a comfort-seeking racist teacher. The Glide White Anti-Racist group operates out of unconditional love, like all of Glide, and they don’t hold back on the work of looking at white supremacy within us and in society. It’s been a profound experience and it has shifted who I am as a teacher and a person.

One shift has been letting go of time as a thing I stress about and instead choose to connect with people. This expands time because moments slow down and become more meaningful. I now come to Glide weekly, and feel like I just lived a whole extraordinary life every Sunday. When I come to Glide, I feel myself growing. I take in more of people. My mind and heart expand. At school, I connect more with my students, their families and my colleagues. I am the better teacher I was trying to be before, when I thought it was about accomplishing my To Do List, not opening my heart. I keep the Glide spirit in me now, and when I remember, I respond to situations as I would as if I were at Glide.

There is a spirit to this place. Marvin K. White, you are a phenomenal person. Vernon Bush, the glide choir, you are a restorative force. For those of you seeking to shed layers that you think protect you, but really stifle you, this is a place that seeks to give people freedom from all of that. A place that expects people to be their complete self. It’s really the best place I know.

I am Holly, and I am Glide.