The San Franciscans: Cecil Williams
In 1963, a young African-American minister named Cecil Williams was determined to bring life back into the flagging congregation of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, built by Methodist philanthropist Lizzie Glide at the corner of Ellis and Taylor in 1931. In step with and, in fact, ahead of the times, Cecil opened the church to gays, hippies, addicts, the poor, and all other disenfranchised people. Glide has been the epicenter of spiritual and political change and a sanctuary in San Francisco for all people ever since. While hosting political rallies and services including a Hooker Convention, speeches by Angela Davis, the Black Panthers, President Clinton, and many more, Glide also maintained it's free meal programs even as the needs of the community grew and grew and grew over the decades. In 2001, the church handed out a record 12,000 bags of groceries on its Dec. 20 holiday food give-away, which was attended by Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders. Its world-renowned Glide Ensemble choir started in 1969 and is a San Francisco institution in itself. William's vision is for a world of unconditional love.


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