Since Rev. Cecil Williams became pastor of San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Methodist Church in 1963, he has “challenged and raised the limits of spirituality, compassion and diversity” as CEO and Minister of Liberation.
He quickly earned a reputation for challenging his congregation to place action above apathy, community above isolation and placing the values of faith, love and hope above traditional religious ritual.
Glide, located in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood at 330 Ellis St., has a congregation of over 11,000 that includes people of all races, ethnic backgrounds, cultures, social classes, ages and sexual orientations, who join together every Sunday to experience spiritual liberation infused with jazz, blues and gospel music.
Under Rev. Williams’s leadership, more than one million people were fed last year while the community outreach program addressed gay rights, prostitution, juvenile runaways, drug addiction and recovery, civil disobedience and the poor and marginalized.
Among over 80 programs, one of Glide’s major projects is AIDS case management services for the homeless.
Rev. Williams is married to Janice Mirikitani, founding president of the Glide Foundation.
In 1986, Rev. Williams became Chairman of the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Observance Committee at the request of Coretta Scott King and is recipient of the 2008 National Caring Award presented by the Caring Institute in Washington, D.C.
For information on Glide Memorial Church, go to www.glide.org.