GLIDE Historical Records

Span Dates: 1945-2022
Bulk Dates:
Volume: 48 cubic feet


Collection documents Glide Memorial Church's Sunday services, programs and fundraising events, mainly during Rev. Cecil Williams' leadership. Of note are sermons by Rev. Cecil Williams and records relating to the Council on Religion and the Homosexual from the 1960s.

Hist/Bio Note

Glide Memorial Church was founded as a Methodist Church in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco in 1929. Philanthropist Lizzie Glide created the Glide Foundation endowment to support the church. With declining membership, the board hired the Rev. Lewis Durham and established the Glide Urban Center in 1963, a new urban ministry that developed programs to counter the Tenderloin's worsening delinquency, prostitution, and drug problems. They hired three clergy persons: Ted McIlvenna to run the young adult ministry, Don Kuhn to become Glide's publisher, and Cecil Williams as Minister of Outreach. Williams became Glide's pastor upon the departure of the Rev. John V. Moore in 1966. Williams, along with his future wife Janice Mirikitani and other Glide staff, re-oriented the church to serve the most vulnerable members of the community. Sunday services became "Sunday Celebrations," welcoming all people, and replacing traditional hymms with jazz and blues music. The church became a gathering space and center of activism for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community; sponsored housing for runaway youth and women and children; and hosted free meals for the hungry. Beginning in the late 1980s, Glide held national conferences to address the crack cocaine epidemic. Glide has become a nationally recognized center for social justice, with an integrated and comprehensive service model to meet basic needs and support people along pathways toward stabilization and self-sufficiency. The foundation currently runs 87 various social service programs. Glide separated from the United Methodist Church in 2020.

Finding Aid

Finding aid created by San Francisco History Center.


San Francisco History Center San Francisco Public Library 100 Larkin Street San Francisco, California 94102


Activist (religious institutions) | California | Council on Religion and the Homosexual | San Francisco | Williams, Cecil | Methodist (UMC, United Methodist Church)