A Message from GLIDE Leadership

June 28, 2018

 

Dear GLIDE Community,
 
We are writing to update you on the status of GLIDE and our ongoing discussions with the United Methodist Church, and to communicate with you directly as the unified voice of our governing board and executive leadership.
 
As you probably know, GLIDE is struggling with our relationship with the United Methodist Church (UMC), with whom we have been amicably affiliated for 89 years. The GLIDE Foundation was founded in 1929 by Lizzie Glide for purposes of charity and worship, and it funded a church as one of its primary activities to fulfill Lizzie Glide’s vision of providing a "house of worship for all people." According to her great-great-granddaughter Mary Glide, a congregant and donor since 1999, Lizzie chose the corner of Taylor and Ellis in the Tenderloin, "because it was accessible by public transportation to anyone who lived in San Francisco." Attached to the church is a building that for decades housed single, working women, and now houses GLIDE’s myriad social service programs that serve the poorest and most marginalized community members in San Francisco. The church building and adjacent facilities belong to the GLIDE Foundation, and we manage them for charitable, religious and educational purposes for which they were intended.
 
Bishop Carcaño, who oversees hundreds of churches in the Northern California/Nevada region since July 2016, has an agenda. She wants GLIDE's church to conform to her personal idea of Methodism and Christianity. She has stated publicly and privately that her mission is to create more "Disciples of Christ." She disapproves of our church's openness to people from all backgrounds and religions. What the Bishop says is absolutely true: GLIDE, and our internationally famous Sunday Celebration to which tens of thousands of people flock annually, is indeed comprised of people of all faiths—Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, and yes, even Wiccan. The GLIDE Community is black, white, brown, Native American, Asian, immigrant, old, young, lesbian, gay, straight, bi, trans, and queer. GLIDE is San Francisco. Of this fact, we are extremely proud.
 
We, as GLIDE leadership, are pursuing continued dialogue with the UMC but the terms of our ongoing relationship depend on the UMC returning to the attitude of tolerance that we've enjoyed since Rev. Cecil Williams arrived in 1963, when he flung open the doors to all people of the Tenderloin. The GLIDE church that took down the cross, and provided hope and inspiration to all.

To set the record straight, Bishop Carcaño served as a Trustee on the Board of the GLIDE Foundation starting in 2016, and therefore receives quarterly financial reports, approves annual budgets and reviews annual financial audits performed by an outside firm. These are the fiduciary responsibilities of all our Trustees. GLIDE Foundation is a healthy, $20 million organization with strong, diverse financial backing, and meets the highest standards for nonprofit management. And we receive impeccable audit reports that cover our finances and fiduciary governance year after year. Her questioning of the GLIDE Foundation, its finances and governance, is absurd. It is a distraction from the real issue: the Bishop's stated desire to "reform" GLIDE in her own vision, an aggressive move that would exclude many of our brothers and sisters that we celebrate with on Sundays. We have come too far in building a beloved community and space of radical inclusion and unconditional love. If the Bishop has other motives, we can only speculate.
 
To all of you, who are GLIDE: we are moving forward. Over the coming years we plan to expand our services and deepen our impact. This disagreement about our mission is unfortunate, and it affects all of us. We remain open to dialogue with the UMC, but our wellbeing and the delivery of our social services, which now comprise 95% of our activities, will continue regardless of the outcome of those discussions. And Sunday Celebration will continue irrespective of our relationship with the Bishop and the UMC. Our obligation and spiritual duty is to provide vital services, whether it is spiritual healing, free meals, early childhood education, violence abatement, harm reduction, and so much more, to those who need it. We serve anyone and everyone who makes it to the corner of Taylor and Ellis.
 
Let's not let anything take away from our vital mission. Thank you for your ongoing, generous material and moral support.
 
In love and solidarity,

Karen Hanrahan, President & CEO
Rita Shimmin, Executive Director
Board of Trustees of the Glide Foundation:

Kaye Foster, Chair
Dixie D. Horning, Vice-Chair
Michael L. Warren, Secretary/Treasurer
Crickette Brown Glad
Miguel Bustos
John Philip Coghlan
Paula R. Collins
Lars Dalgaard
Amy Errett
Paul M. Fleming
Erby L. Foster, Jr.

Mary Glide
Nicole Harris
Christopher Lord
Shireen McSpadden
Janice Mirikitani, Co-Founder
Rev. Cecil Williams, Co-Founder
Phillip Zackler

 

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