Sanctuary From Hate

On Tuesday, June 23, more than four hundred people gathered in the GLIDE Sanctuary to remember, to grieve, to act, in response to the deadly shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Church that left 9 people dead and the nation’s soul shattered. It was a somber moment, as we sat silently together as the evening’s shadows lengthened. One at a time, each victim’s name was announced, a candle was lit, a brief bio was read, and then a ringing of bell punctuated the otherwise still Sanctuary.

“Sanctuary” is defined as “a place of safety or refuge”. One definition went so far as to say, “immunity afforded by refuge in such a place.” For African Americans, the Black Church has been the center of empowerment, where the confines of racism could be removed so lives, families and communities could thrive. Birthed out of segregation, when blacks were sent to the balcony (or even out the door) of white churches, the Black Church has played a critical role in the Civil Rights movement. This has not gone unnoticed to white supremacists. Black churches are all-too-often their targets, seeking to squelch the power and possibilities of liberation and freedom that the Black Church offers.

On Tuesday night, we at GLIDE came together. Our groans that were once “sighs too deep for words” were breathed out. Our tears fell. We held on to each other for comfort. We experienced Sanctuary.

But our time together didn’t end there: as the vigil ended, we turned to acts of resistance, which is also what Sanctuary offers. In a place of safety, one has the space to imagine a better world. Those who gathered on Tuesday went from one Action Station to another, writing letters of condolences to the Emanuel AME congregation, creating squares for a quilt that will be sent to the church, creating signs of protest, hope and solidarity, writing to South Carolina legislators to take down the Confederate flag, and coming together to dream other acts of resistance and justice-making so that we can challenge and dismantle the systems and institutions that continue to foster racism.

This is what we do at GLIDE—we don’t run to the sanctuary to hide from life’s harshness. We come together to face it honestly, with open hearts. In the Sanctuary community, we find strength as well as companions who will help us face the future with hope. In the safety of Sanctuary, we challenge one another to live into the dream of love and justice we experience together.

Together, we dream a world where the chains of racism, sexism, classism, ableism, heterosexism, and all other oppressive –isms are broken, so that every person can live safe, free, unfettered lives. We dream a time when the whole world becomes a Sanctuary…

— Reverend Karen Oliveto, Pastor

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Celebrating Rev. Cecil Williams today! Leave some well wishes for the Minister of Liberation in the comments! Better yet, wish him a happy birthday in person at #SundayCelebration this weekend! #unconditionallove #fromthearchives #thisdayinhistory #radical @glidesflegacy @shakasenghor @feliciahorowitz @dnwenig @zendesk @mrdannyglover @goapele @vbozeman @ebay_newsroom @sfchronicle @hoodline “My family had that sense about them, a sense of caring. Seeing people as they are, rather than as we would like for them to be. And so that melded in my soul and in my life. And my pathway and my journey has been to say: I’m gonna be inclusive.” —Rev. Cecil Williams

Today we wish a very happy birthday to Rev. Cecil Williams, GLIDE's beloved Co-Founder and Minister of Liberation. We remain eternally grateful for all that he’s done, and continues to do, for the people of the Tenderloin, San Francisco, and the world through the power and example of unconditional love. #unconditionallove #radical #livinglegend #fromthearchives #thisdayinhistory "Eric understands that recovery takes time& compassion." Learn more about our wonderful Community Safety and Training Team on our blog; link is in our profile! #RealTalk #FacesOfGLIDE photo credit: Alain McLaughlin Did you miss Lillian Mark's inspiring words this past Sunday at Celebration? Don't worry—we're sharing her experiences as Manager of GLIDE's Community Safety and Training Team on our #RealTalk blog in a two-part series this month! Big thanks to Lillian for her loving words and inspiring commitment to GLIDE's mission. Click the link in our profile for the full post. "This role has been the most challenging and soul-saving time for me at GLIDE. It has been an absolute honor to work on this team. We help keep the doors wide open for as many people as possible. We are the extended family for people who need and want it, and they are my family. We are there for the good days and the bad days. The team teaches me a lot. Let me tell you about the other day..." https://glidesf.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/leading-with-heart/

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