Suzanne and Erik loved attending Glide Memorial when they lived in San Francisco. It’s a big, welcoming Gospel church. It calls itself “radically inclusive,” and having been there several times, I can attest to that.
“A radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.”
Lots of hugging goes on. Homeless people participate, society ladies, political celebrities, gay and straight … Perhaps you saw the church in the Will Smith movie The Pursuit of Happyness, based on a true story.
Besides the extraordinary choir, which is the initial draw for many churchgoers, we liked the congregant testimonials about what Glide has meant in their lives. Some people had been through pretty dark times, and Glide had been one piece of the road out.
Today as my husband and I drove home from a visit to Providence, we put on a radio broadcast from a Unitarian Universalist church, where a friend sometimes reads the announcements on air. The minister introduced a new-to-the-church idea, which I hope works out as well in Boston as it does at Glide.
He called it My Story and gave his own spiritual story as his first example, inviting parishioners to let him know if they wanted to do the same in upcoming weeks.
If nothing else, it should help the service be more interactive. And it should let members get to know each other better, especially if they are brave enough to share their rough times, the things they don’t bring up at coffee hour.
By the way, life’s difficult passages may be well served by our favorite bit of wisdom from Glide: “A setback is just a setup for a comeback.”
How many friends and even public figures would you like to tell that to?