GLIDE is a radically inclusive church, a social justice organization, a movement for change and San Francisco’s premier provider of innovative services for marginalized populations. Founded over 50 years ago by Reverend Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani, GLIDE offers comprehensive support to San Francisco’s poor and homeless communities to help them overcome the barriers of poverty, violence, addiction, dependency and low self-worth. Under the further leadership of Executive Director Rita Shimmin, GLIDE has held steady the vision of supporting and uplifting the disenfranchised, and bringing about a better world for all, through the power of unconditional love.
Building on the charitable work of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church (est. 1929), and galvanized by the social justice vision of the Civil Rights Movement, GLIDE’s leadership and community members mobilized in the 1960s in response to the crises faced by residents of San Francisco’s Tenderloin and surrounding neighborhoods.
Since that time, GLIDE has served as a moral compass for the San Francisco Bay Area, the nation and the world. Often regarded as the Bay Area’s Church, GLIDE Memorial may well be the largest progressive and “radically inclusive” megachurch in the United States, uplifting 2,000 people each Sunday and welcoming hundreds of community members into congregational life groups.
Sunday Celebrations offer everyone a joyous, richly diverse
experience of community, music and spiritual uplift.
Consistent with this deep commitment to social justice, GLIDE Foundation maintains a holistic array of programs and services to meet the diverse needs of the Tenderloin and broader San Francisco communities. Today, GLIDE serves as a diverse cross-section of homeless, low-income and marginalized populations with daily free meals (the largest program of its kind in the city), housing support services, domestic violence counseling and abatement, substance use recovery, licensed childcare, afterschool and summer programs for youth, a family resource center, a drop-in legal clinic (in partnership with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights) and on-site access to primary and mental health care (via Tenderloin Health Services, a program of HealthRIGHT 360). GLIDE has founded and sustained visionary programming and achieved tangible results for tens of thousands of individuals and families, and remains a life-changing gateway to comprehensive care that embraces every individual with dignity and respect.
Join some 10,000 volunteers who contribute 65,000 hours of
service to the community each year.
At the same time, GLIDE has been on the front line of virtually every prominent civil and human rights struggle of the last half century – from the Vietnam War in the 1960s-70s, to the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, and the battle for LGBTQ equality throughout. As a longtime advocate for the poor and marginalized, GLIDE provides a framework for both personal and social transformation, changing attitudes and policies that perpetuate poverty and inequality. GLIDE’s unique position as a highly progressive institution beloved by people across the political spectrum makes it a true common ground for dialogue, cooperation and social change.
Reverend Cecil Williams
As Co-Founder and Minister of Liberation of GLIDE, Reverend Cecil Williams has expanded the limits of spirituality, compassion and diversity for more than fifty years. An inexhaustible minister, author, social activist, lecturer, community leader and spokesperson for the poor and underserved, Reverend Williams is recognized as a national leader at the forefront of the struggle for civil and human rights. His rousing ministry underscores his roots in liberation theology. His vision for the 21st-century church can be seen in GLIDE’s unique and powerful blend of spirituality, principled compassion and advocacy, and cutting-edge programs for those most in need. People of all races, ethnic backgrounds, cultures, social classes, ages, faiths and sexual orientations join together at every Sunday Celebration to experience the energy of spiritual liberation coupled with the fusion of jazz, blues and gospel performed by the renowned GLIDE Ensemble and The Change band. Rev. Williams is the author of I’m Alive: An Autobiography and No Hiding Place: Empowerment and Recovery for Our Troubled Communities, and co-author with spouse and GLIDE Co-Founder Janice Mirikitani of Beyond the Possible: 50 Years of Creating Radical Change in a Community Called GLIDE.
Janice Mirikitani is a poet, visionary, editor, administrator, community activist and Co-Founder of GLIDE, where in partnership with her husband, Reverend Cecil Williams, she has achieved worldwide recognition for groundbreaking programs that empower San Francisco’s poor and marginalized communities. A Sansei (third generation) Japanese American, Mirikitani and her family were confined in the Rohwer, Arkansas concentration camp during this country’s mass internment of Japanese Americans. She has sustained a decades-long passion to create programs for women and families struggling with issues of substance use, rape, incest, domestic violence, AIDS, single parenting, childcare, health and wellness, education and job development. In 2000, Mirikitani became San Francisco’s second Poet Laureate. She is the author of five books of poetry – Awake in the River; Shedding Silence; We, The Dangerous; Love Works; and Out of the Dust: New and Selected Poems – and editor of nine landmark anthologies providing platforms for writers of color, women, youth and children. Mirikitani is co-author with Rev. Cecil Williams of Beyond the Possible: 50 Years of Creating Radical Change in a Community Called GLIDE.