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Glide United Methodist Church in San Francisco, California, may be on the brink of breaking away from the UMC. The church, as a whole, has systematically distanced itself from the governance and theological beliefs long held by the UMC, and yet have still clung to the title of being a United Methodist congregation, according to Bishop Minerva Carcaño.
Bishop Carcaño addressed an open letter to the California-Nevada Conference, outlining issues within Glide that she found to be troubling. She described Glide’s “Sunday Celebrations” as “uplifting concerts,” which “lack the fundamentals of Christian worship.” She went on to write that the congregants don’t want the church to be United Methodist or Christian in its practices. According to her, baptisms are performed “in the name of the people rather than from a Christian understanding of Baptism” and Holy Communion was abandoned for a number of years before being reintroduced, “with much resistance,” but only outside of the Sunday Celebrations.
Allegations - Glide - Letter - Cecil - Williams
Her allegations against Glide do not end there. In the letter, she says that Cecil Williams, a prominent retired pastor who led the congregation from 1963-2000, made “all decisions in the background of Glide.” According to a 2004 profile, Williams and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown “stood together in defense of militant communist Angela Davis, and again, prominently, in defense of the Rev. Jim Jones of the Peoples Temple,” with Glide (under Williams’s leadership) even presented Jones with a humanitarian award in 1977, the year before Jones led a mass suicide of 913 people. Williams later expressed regret for his misjudgment of Jones.
Bishop Carcaño proposed that the means by which Williams keeps his control is through his handpicked selection of individuals serving on the Glide Foundation board. The foundation, running on a $12 million budget, provides social services such as meals, healthcare, support for...
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