“People always ask, ‘Do you believe in life after death?’ Naw, I tell them. I believe in life while you’re living.”- Rev. Cecil Williams
Co-Founder and Minister of Liberation
For over 45 years, Reverend Cecil Williams has expanded the limits of spirituality, compassion and diversity as Founder and Minister of Liberation of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco. As minister, author, social activist, lecturer, community leader and spokesperson for the poor and marginalized, Reverend Williams is respected and recognized as a national leader on the forefront of change and in the struggle for civil and human rights. His ministry underscores his roots in liberation theology.
Often considered controversial and radical, Rev. Williams was one of the first clergymen to take a revolutionary stand for same sex couples by presiding over their weddings four decades before today’s struggle to legalize gay marriage. His vision for the 21st century church can be seen in Glide’s unique and powerful blend of spirituality, principled compassion, and cutting edge programs for those most in need. With a membership of over 11,000 and located in the heart of the city’s toughest neighborhoods, Glide is one of the fastest growing United Methodist churches in North America. People of all races, ethnic backgrounds, cultures, social classes, ages, faiths, and sexual orientations join together at every Sunday Celebration to experience the energy of spiritual liberation coupled with the fusion of jazz, blues and gospel performed by the renowned Glide Ensemble choir and the Change Band.
Rev. Cecil Williams is married to Janice Mirikitani, Founding President of the Glide Foundation. Together, they have created a radical and unique partnership, bringing a powerful yet sensitive direction to Glide’s many social programs. In 1986, Reverend Williams became the Chairman for the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Observance Committee at the request of Mrs. Coretta Scott King.
Reverend Williams was the recipient of the 2008 National Caring Award presented by the Caring Institute in Washington, D.C.