Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Very Special Place

I have been blessed to find a very, very special place in the city of San Francisco. Oh, it is a place I have known about for a very long time. They are always in the news for the good, charitable work they do. But for whatever reason, I never walked in the doors until recently.

If you know me, you know I am not a Bible-thumping maniac. Really. However, I do have a Higher Power that works in my life. And I know everyone does, whether they call it God, Allah, Spirit of the Shining Waters, Goddess, Jesus, or even Howard. They do, even if they choose not to acknowledge its presence at all. Still, I do not rush around trying to convert others to my point of view or claiming I have "the one true way." Yet I am a very spiritual person.

Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco has got to be, for ME, the most amazing place to get in touch with my own Higher Power. Here is a page about all the work Glide does--from housing to food, from health care to counseling, from recovery to family services and employment training.

You might have heard of Glide due to the story of Chris Gardner, portrayed in THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS (Will Smith). Glide was the place that provided housing to Chris and his son. There are scenes shot in Glide during the service.

Although the film is interesting, my son said yesterday: "It wasn't an accurate description of what it's really like at a Glide service." "Why?" I asked. "Because the people in the movie all looked sad. At the real service, everyone is happy." He's right, too. Sunday service is a lot more like this:

Image from Glide's website

Kids are so perceptive! He also said he loves Glide because you can stand up and shout right in the middle of church... and because there's a saxophone player every week as part of the band. (My son plays too.) Yes, Glide is special all right.

Who is welcome at Glide? All are welcome. Rich, poor, white, black, Latino, Asian, Native American, Christian, Muslim, Jew, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, Democrat, Socialist, Anarchist, the list goes on and on; they will even take Republicans and Athiests!! :) Any and all are welcome at Glide! It is a living embodiment of the quote from Paul's letter to the Galatians:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Simply put, Glide is an amazing place. It's not just the music, not just the smiles, not just the vibrant preaching by the wonderful pastoral staff-

Rev Cecil Williams

Pastor Douglass Fitch


Or the amazing music of the Glide Ensemble (among the best gospel music in the nation):

Or the work done by the amazing foundation...

Janice Mirikitani, President of the Glide Foundation

Or the incredible open arms.

No, there is something even MORE.

Each time I have been to Glide has brought me to tears. Each time! I could go to Glide everyday of the week. It's a wonderful, wonderful place. To me, Glide is a miracle that is all about UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE. That is not easy to come by in our world!

If you are ever in the Bay Area, please do yourself a favor and check out Glide. (There was a large group yesterday all the way from Hamburg, Germany!) You will have to get there at least 30 minutes early to get a seat. I guarantee you it will be unlike any Sunday service you have ever attended.