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One America - Glide Memorial United Methodist Church

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One America

Program: Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, San Francisco, CA
Contact(s): Janice Mirikitani, Executive Director of Programs: (415) 771-6300
Purpose: To operate human service programs that not only help the poor and homeless but empower them to become self-sufficient

Background Program Operations Outcomes


Since 1963, Glide has provided a broad range of human service programs to the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, an ethnically diverse neighborhood of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, blacks, whites and Native Americans. Glide describes this area as a densely populated district where most of the city's homeless shelters and low-income apartments can be found. High crime, extreme poverty, and intense drug activity characterize the Tenderloin district, which is also home to a rapidly increasing number of poor children and families.

Program Operations

Glide believes that diversity is a strength and seeks to develop programs that value all members of the church and those they serve. Rev. Cecil Williams, Glide's leader for over 35 years, operates under the philosophy of providing unconditional love and support for people of all races, ethnicities, cultures, classes, ages, religious faiths and sexual orientations. Glide operates 41 social service programs including substance abuse recovery, job counseling, computer skills training and health care services. Glide also manages a free meals program that provides three meals a day, 365 days of the year. The church serves an average of 3,000 meals per day. Glide Community Development, Inc., a non-profit organization, constructed the Cecil Williams GLIDE Community House in 1997, an affordable housing complex that serves people recovering from addictions, homeless people, people living with HIV and those traumatized by sexual and physical abuse. The nine-story housing community with onsite support services is located adjacent to the church and will offer living accommodations.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Glide's church membership has grown by 1,000 during 1997, totaling 8,200 parishioners, comprised of 40% black, 40% white and a significant Asian, Hispanic and Southeast Asian refugee church membership. In April 1997, Glide was featured in Life Magazine in an article, "A Church for the Twenty-First Century."

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