Although internationally renown for its soul-shaking gospel choir and radically inclusive sermons every Sunday, it is the on-the-street social action of Glide, which takes place 7 days a week, that really make this church a shining example of practicing what you preach. Come for the music, feel the unconditional warmth of the heartfelt community but also come back and check out the myriad social programs that serve the city's most underprivileged and you will see why Glide is considered the role model for churches of the future by luminaries such as Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey and even Warren Buffet.
Visiting Glide Memorial Church
Glide Church is located right on the edge of the Tenderloin area, just three blocks from Union Square in one direction and three block from the Civic Center in the other. It is easily accessible by public transportation from anywhere in the city as it is also just three blocks from the Cable Car turnaround on Market and the F Market Streetcar.
- Address: 330 Ellis Street, San Francisco
- Hours: Sunday Celebrations at 9am and 11am Weekly, Walk-In Center 8am to 5pm Daily.
- Contact: (415) 674-6000 www.glide.org
The Glide Memorial Church Sunday Celebrations
Thousands of people pack the church every Sunday to hear the world famous Glide Ensemble and the Change Band and to soak in the inspiration of Rev. Cecil Williams and his wife and San Francisco Poet Laureate Janice Mirikitani. Seating is first come first serve so arrive a few minutes early if you dont want to be peering over heads in the upper balcony.
Glide's progressive service usually features several musical numbers, with a couple of soloists, as well as a testimony from a long time church member who has been helped by one of the church's many community services (see below). The actual sermon is based on the church's open theology, which welcomes those of any faith, creed, race, sexual orientation or nationality and revolves around bringing love and justice to the realities that face the human race at large. In Glide's own words "If God made you, we want you".
Volunteering at Glide Memorial Church
It is often said that Glide has both a front door and a back door, the front door being the main entrance to the church where members and visitors attend the Sunday Celebration once a week and the back door being the Ellis Street entrance, where Glide's real work happens seven days a week.
You don't have to be a member of the church to volunteer at one of Glide's many programs, including feeding the homeless and poor three meals a day 365 days a year, simply sign up on the website for the date and time you would like to help out.
Glide also puts together full-on feasts for the community during the holiday season and volunteers are always needed for the Thanksgiving meals, the December Grocery Bag and Toy Sort Give-aways and the Christmas meals. Check out the Holiday Opportunities page for more details.
For those that would like to get even more involved, Glide hosts a whole slew of programs from after school care for children and a free health clinic to a battered women's shelter and a rooftop food garden that helps to supplement the meals program with organic produce. All these programs are volunteer run and are free of charge to participants.
Other Programs at Glide Memorial Church
Glide also hosts a wide range of activities for church members and the community at large including a weekly bible study, yoga classes, meditation, meetings for those in recovery and even beekeeping classes on the rooftop gardens. These activities are mostly free of charge as well and are listed in the monthly calendar.
The fundraising committee at Glide throws some of the city's most well attended parties, often featuring musical guests like Carlos Santana and Pete Escovedo. Events to build a San Francisco vacation around include the annual Holiday Jam, which packs San Francisco's historic Warfield Theater and raises money specifically for the Glide meals program and A Love Supreme, an annual gala featuring local entrepreneurs who want to give back to the community.
Supporting Glide Memorial Church
There is no cost to attend Glide or even join the church and all new members will be invited after the service into the "Maya Angelou Room" in order to become a member. But Glide and all its programs are entirely supported through donation and volunteer effort. If there is a programs you are particularly found of, whether it is urban farming classes for youth or free mental health services for the community, you can donate directly to the program by earmarking your donation. For more info on supporting Glide Memorial Church and its living message of love, acceptance and justice visit the Donation Page.