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Glide's CECIL WILLIAMS & JANICE MIRIKITANI / Beyond the Possible: 50 Years of Creating Radical Change

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Cecil Williams is many things—a civil rights activist who marched on Selma; a philanthropist who has helped raise millions for the poor; a pastor who has devoted his life to spreading the message of God.


But he is perhaps best known as the face of San Francisco’s famed Glide church, where for the past fifty years he has sparked widespread and revolutionary change for a largely disenfranchised community—and inspired others throughout the country and the world to do the same.


In Beyond the Possible, Reverend Williams, along with his wife and Glide founding president Janice Mirikitani, tells the story of how he transformed a small parish set in “the last circle of Hell” into a groundbreaking community devoted to radical social change.  From inviting people off the street to speak at the Sunday celebration, to removing the cross from the altar as a reminder that the church should celebrate life rather than focus on death, to allowing HIV-testing during services, Williams has repeatedly rattled the establishment and clashed with the more conservative factions of the church in order to implement his remarkable yet unorthodox ideas.


Along with Mirikitani, Reverend Williams has turned Glide into the spiritual soul of San Francisco, a beacon of hope for many that has been recognized as a Champion Non-Profit by the White House. A model of charity and acceptance that has served as an inspiration to parishes around the globe, Glide serves nearly one million free meals to the homeless each year, and offers a range of services to the poor in its surrounding community.


Reverend Williams has been at the heart of many significant cultural events, from the Civil Rights Movement to the Harvey Milk assassination to the Patty Hearst kidnapping. With rich tales of these experiences—along with the lessons gleaned from them—Beyond the Possible is a lesson in universal love, unconditional acceptance, and the power of change from one of the most provocative and revered ministers in the United States.


“Experiencing difference humanizes us. We may never completely achieve unconditional acceptance, but along the way, we can learn how to be more human.” – Reverend Cecil Williams


Berkeley Arts & Letters at First Congregational Church of Berkeley (2345 Channing Way at Dana; enter via courtyard on Dana)


Tickets $10 ($5 students) in advance only, at Brown Paper Tickets online or 800-838-3006; $12 at the door {no one turned away for lack of funds)

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