Can I trust you with my dignity?

by Dr. Karen Oliveto, Pastor

One of the things I love about GLIDE is that we welcome everybody. Really. Everybody.  It doesn’t matter if your family no longer wants you around–you are welcome here. It doesn’t matter who you love–you are welcome here. It doesn’t matter whether you are high, in denial you have a problem, or in recovery–you are welcome here.  It doesn’t matter if you have been turned down for employment or housing, or if another organization has kicked you out–you are welcome here. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done time, are biding time,  or have come to the end of your time–you are welcome here. 

Just how wide and deep GLIDE’s welcome is was brought home to me at Speak Out. Speak Out happens every Wednesday evening, from 5 to 6 in Freedom Hall. Everyone is welcomed to come and say what’s on their mind or on their heart.  People from the streets, those who utilize our programs, GLIDE staff, and congregational members gather for one hour and are real with each other.

A young man stood before the microphone many months ago, looked over those sitting before him, and said more forcefully than a question, but a question none the less: “Can I trust you with my dignity?”

He asked, of course, because he had learned that he couldn’t trust others with his dignity. Because of what he’d done, where he’d been, who he was and the color of his skin, others had held him at arm’s length and in suspicion. When they weren’t doing that, they overlooked and dismissed him.

GLIDE, he would find, was different. What I love about our staff is the depth of their compassion and care.  Every person who comes through GLIDE’s door is treated with respect.  Grace is offered even in the most difficult and challenging situations.  Dignity is a given in all our relationships.

At the end of our prayer together in Sunday morning celebrations, we conclude with “Namaste”.  This Hindu term is loosely translated as “The Divine in me greets the Divine in you.” It is signifies humility and the desire to respect and serve another. 

If you haven’t yet experienced GLIDE, stop by soon. Share a meal or volunteer to serve a meal.  Stop up in the Health Clinic and see the care that is being offered. Be a part of the Speak Out, where lines of difference become a path to community.  Experience the joy of Sunday Celebrations.

No matter who you are, you are welcome at GLIDE.


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GLIDE Instagram
Joyce Hayes, celebrating life, love and GLIDE with @doricamino and @edenchanstreetscooper at the 2014 Holiday Jam. A retro photo of Joyce Hayes, a true GLIDE hero, who so strongly believed in supporting children and providing them with stability, education and #unconditionallove. GLIDE regrets to tell our community that Joyce Hayes, an icon in our history and childcare program, passed away on Tuesday, 5/23/2017. Her life, love and legacy will not be forgotten. 
Please take a moment to read this tribute to our beloved "Joy": Shout-out @blueshieldofca volunteers! Our Harm Reduction Team always needs people to help assemble safer injection kits. Distributing these kits to our community members who inject drugs greatly reduces the spread of Hep C and HIV. It's about #publichealth and recognizing the dignity and human rights of ALL people living in our city! #harmreduction #cleansharps

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