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.