Back to All Events

Reach Out and Touch: A film screening and discussion

Join GLIDE and the Tenderloin Museum for a film screening of the “Reach Out and Touch,” a documentary about the legendary Cecil Williams of Glide Memorial Church. A post-film discussion, facilitated by Paul Harkin, will talk about best practices in harm reduction and how Cecil’s philosophy of radical inclusion and love still permeates and informs Glide’s present-day programs.

We are honored to announce that our discussion panel participants will include Rev. Harry Louis Williams, GLIDE Interim Minister of Celebration Marvin K. White, & Janet Ector and Bill Buehlman of GLIDE Harm Reduction. The panel will be moderated by Paul Harkin, Director of GLIDE Harm Reduction.

Doors at 6:30pm
Screening at 7pm
Followed by a panel discussion

*Director Robert Zagone will be in attendance and available for Q&A*
About the film:

“Reach Out and Touch,” directed by Robert Zagone and hosted by Tony Batten, aired in 1975 as part of the national PBS series, Interface. Capturing Williams as a fiery and revolutionary figure, Zagone gives us a glimpse at the roots of a legacy which, over the last 50 years, has reverberated locally and worldwide. The charismatic Williams of Zagone’s footage sparked 50 years of love in action at GLIDE, and continues to shepherd that legacy today.

About GLIDE:
GLIDE is a social justice movement, social service provider and spiritual community dedicated to strengthening communities and transforming lives. Located in San Francisco’s culturally vibrant but poverty-stricken Tenderloin neighborhood, GLIDE addresses the needs of, and advocates for, the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals and families among us. Building on the 50-year legacy of Co-Founders Rev. Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani, GLIDE challenges inequities and stands with the poor, people of color, LGBTQ persons, and others facing oppression, isolation and stigma, while offering a holistic, integrated model of programs and services to address the complex needs of the community. Today, under the leadership of President and CEO Karen Hanrahan, GLIDE continues to deepen its impact and extend its reach to thousands of people in need. Through comprehensive services, fearless advocacy and spiritual connection, GLIDE remains a powerful beacon of hope for a healthier, more just and inclusive city.

About Cecil:

Reverend Cecil Williams became pastor of Glide Memorial Church in 1963. His spirited Sunday services became jazz-filled “Celebrations” that drew people from many different backgrounds. Under his leadership the church’s membership grew from 35 to a 10,000-member congregation of all races, ages, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations and religions. A supporter of gay rights far ahead of his time, Cecil founded the Council on Religion and the Homosexual in 1964. He welcomed everyone to participate in services and hosted political rallies with speakers as diverse as The Black Panthers, Billy Graham, and Angela Davis. GLIDE is one of the largest providers of social services in the city, serving over two thousand meals a day, providing HIV and Hep C screenings, harm reduction services, adult education, homeless assistance, and support for victims of domestic violence, and those challenged by substance use and mental health issues.

Reverend Cecil Williams, for over 50 years, has expanded the limits of spirituality, compassion and diversity as Co-Founder and Minister of Liberation of GLIDE Memorial Church in San Francisco. As minister, author, social activist, lecturer, community leader and spokesperson for the poor and underserved communities, Reverend Williams is respected and recognized as a national leader on the forefront of change and in the struggle for civil and human rights. His ministry underscores his roots in liberation theology.

Often considered controversial and radical, Rev. Williams was one of the first clergymen to take a revolutionary stand for same sex couples by presiding over their weddings nearly five decades before today’s marriage equality victory. His vision for the 21st century church can be seen in GLIDE’s unique and powerful blend of spirituality, principled compassion, and cutting-edge programs for those most in need. With a membership of over 11,000 and located in the heart of the San Francisco’s Tenderloin, GLIDE is one of the fastest growing churches in North America. People of all races, ethnic backgrounds, cultures, social classes, ages, faiths and sexual orientations join together at every Sunday Celebration to experience the energy of spiritual liberation coupled with the fusion of jazz, blues and gospel performed by the renowned GLIDE Ensemble and the Change Band.

About the Panelists:
Reverend Harry Louis Williams, II is a minister and social activist hailing from Oakland, CA. He is the author or co-author of eight books, ranging in genre from Black History to Urban Fiction.

Marvin K. White is a poet, writer, preacher, public theologian, visual artist, and community-based arts organizer pursing a vision of social, prophetic and creative justice. A graduate of the Pacific School of Religion, Marvin is an ordained deacon and the author of four collections of poetry. He is GLIDE’s Interim Minister of Celebration.

($10 suggested donation)