Sixty years ago, a young Black minister named Cecil Williams arrived at GLIDE, determined to breathe life into a dying church. Cecil’s arrival served as an awakening for GLIDE, inspired by his spiritual training in Black liberation theology and his lived experience growing up in the Jim Crow South.
He saw the connection between systems of poverty and injustice outside GLIDE’s doors with his prophetic vision to build a community rooted in unconditional love and radical inclusivity.
Within weeks of his arrival, Cecil transformed the dwindling congregation of a few dozen people into a rollicking, vibrant, diverse faith community of over 10,000 congregants.
He also laid the groundwork for a critical system of services and programs to meet the needs of the City’s most underserved people through the emergence of the GLIDE Foundation.
Since those days in the early 1960s, GLIDE has continued to grow and thrive, serving as a beacon of hope and a refuge for many of the City’s most vulnerable residents.
As we face the challenge of growing economic inequality and work to repair our safety net in a post pandemic world, Cecil’s vision is as important today as it was 60 years ago.
A critical component of this vision is modernizing GLIDE’s facilities and operations. In September of 2023, we kicked off our Building Modernization Campaign by celebrating a $1M investment by Assemblymember Matt Haney and the State of California. This investment will go towards four capital projects for Glide Memorial Church (GMC):
- Modernizing an essential elevator that connects the Church with street level access and our senior/disabled dining area
- Restoring the stained glass, revitalizing an iconic visual element of the building that is listed on the US National Park Service of Historic Places
- Replacing and upgrading the electrical, lighting, controls, and sound system to modernize our weekly Celebrations
- Making critical investments in fire and life safety systems for the 100-year-old facility
We are deeply grateful to Assemblymember Haney and the State of California for making the inaugural investment in our Building Modernization campaign. In doing so, Assemblymember Haney is honoring the value and worth of the vision Cecil laid out 60 years ago.
We are equally excited for our new President & CEO, Dr. Gina Fromer, to lead this campaign as we prepare to embark on the next 60 years of GLIDE’s legacy in San Francisco and beyond.
Stay tuned through our website and social channels for updates on the progress of GLIDE Forward and our Building Modernization campaign.