On Wednesday, December 4th GLIDE Memorial Church celebrated their 50th anniversary love affair with the community as well as the sweet love affair between Co-Founders Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani at the GLIDE Annual Holiday Festival. GLIDE’s mission is to create a loving community that embraces everyone. GLIDE strives to alleviate suffering and poverty by providing a safe community that welcomes and encourages everyone to be empowered in their lives.
The evening started with a reception that included savory appetizers and beverages provided by donors such as Anchor Brewing Company, Ciao Bella Gelato, John’s Grill, and Casa Sanchez-Ayulta to name a few. Following the reception was the concert that benefits Mo’s Kitchen, which supports the GLIDE Daily Meals Program that serves almost a million free meals each day to those in the SF Community and GLIDE programs.
The concert started out with an inspiring, powerful, and full of positive energy performance by the GLIDE Ensemble and the Change Band. The audience were up on their feet dancing and cheering as the GLIDE Ensemble pour their hearts and souls out on stage. It was extremely inspiring to see this group of very diverse individuals opening up their hearts to the audience and spreading love and joy all around.
Next, the Mistress of Ceremonies and host of the night,came onto the stage to introduce Willie Brown, the former Mayor of San Francisco, who gave a touching speech to Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani to thank them for showing tremendous love to the community in San Francisco for 50 years.
Another special guest of the night was Dr. Maya Angelou. Although Dr. Maya Angelou was unable to attend the event, she was there in spirit to support as the audience enjoyed a video message from her to GLIDE, and Janice Mirikitani. It was truly amazing to just watch Dr. Maya Angelou speaks with such eloquence, fluidity, and poise.
Following Dr. Maya Angelou’s speech was a funky rock n’ roll performance by Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers and the GLIDE Ensemble as the audience were once again brought to their feet by the sweet sound of rock n’ roll and Tom Johnston’s wonderful performance. Next, the very talented San Jose Taiko performed a piece titled “Gratitude” in honor of GLIDE, Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani.
The next musical guest performer was the amazingly talented vocalist, Judith Hill. Judith Hill has traveled all around the world as a background singer for legendary French singer/songwriter Michel Polnareff, Stevie Wonder, and the late Michael Jackson. She can be seen in a duet with Michael Jackson in the This Is It movie.
The final musical guest of the night was the fabulous Valerie Simpson. Valerie Simpson is an amazingly talented singer/songwriter and along with her late husband, Nick Ashford has written hits such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “You’re All I Need to Get By”, “I’m Every Woman”, to name a few. Valerie Simpson turned the heat up and got the audience to get up on their feet and dance to her performance of “I’m Every Woman”.
Perhaps, the most inspiring part of the night was when Co-founders of GLIDE Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani came on the stage. It was truly inspiring to see them both and honor them for all that they do for GLIDE and the whole SF community. It was such a wonderful closing to a wonderful night of entertainment, inspirational speeches, and outpour of love. Thank you GLIDE, Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani for all that you do for the SF community and congratulations on your 50th Anniversary with GLIDE.