At Glide’s Holiday Jam, Love Overcomes

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Valerie Simpson on stage with the Glide Memorial Chuch's choir
Valerie Simpson on stage with the Glide Memorial Chuch’s choir

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

One of the events that I look forward to every holiday season is Glide Memorial Church’s annual Holiday Jam at the Masonic. The festive evening, which features a concert and dinner, supports the Tenderloin church’s daily free meal program, Mo’s Kitchen, and other initiatives. Glide serves 750,000 free meals annually to San Francisco’s poverty-stricken individuals and families. The theme for this year’s jam was love overcomes—a topic that has been celebrated by Glide’s champions, Reverend Cecil Williams and Janice Mirikitani, since the 1960s.

Clare Albanese, Amy Errett, and Madison Errett Albanese
Clare Albanese, Amy Errett, and Madison Errett Albanese

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

The night was a changing of the guards. Amy J. Errett, the chairperson of Glide’s Board of Trustees for 22 years, has stepped down and her work was honored at the event. Glide welcomed new board chair Kaye Foster, new lead pastor Reverend Dr. Jay Williams, and new president and CEO Karen Hanrahan. “I am thrilled to help change Glide’s future and set it up for success for another 50 years,” Hanrahan said. “I know first hand that our work is part of a global struggle and a global solution to the challenges that we face here. I invite you to stay with us on our journey as we continue to remake the world together.”

Rev. Cecil Williams and Karen Hanrahan
Rev. Cecil Williams and Karen Hanrahan

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

Despite being 88 years old and in a wheel chair, Williams made an appearance onstage alongside his wife, Mirikitani. “How many decades have we been doing this Cecil?” she joked as she addressed the crowd. Mirikitani gave a moving tribute to Errett and her time with Glide. “We would not be the extraordinary organization that Glide is without you. I would not have traded my wishbone into my backbone without you Amy. We too gather to ignite light on the shadows of injustice and the abuse of power,” she said. “You are ever moving to make reality our world longing for peace and inclusivity, economic justice, respect for every human’s dignity, freedom to love unconditionally all of us. You came to Glide and for over two decades combed the tangled stands of Glide growing too fast. Providing lessons and discipline without judgement, helping build structures without crushing the authentic ground from which we grew.” Erratt’s business savvy helped Glide grow into a congregation of nearly 10,000 members. She supported Williams and Mirikitani’s mission of radical inclusiveness.

Boy band Next Town Down
Boy band Next Town Down

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

After the speeches, a number of musicians performed. There was boy band, Next Town Down, beatboxer Butterscotch, Empire star, V. Bozeman, and headliner Valerie Simpson’s whose classic hit, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, brought everyone to their feet. The menu included favorites from Mo’s Kitchen: fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens. A trio of desserts—gianduja mousse with butterscotch pudding, s’mores in a jar, and pear shortcake—were a sweet and delicious finish. The evening raised over $2 million to support Glide and its phenomenal programs in the coming year.

V. Bozeman performs
V. Bozeman performs

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

Shaka Senghor, Matt Haney, Victor “Divine” Lombard
Shaka Senghor, Matt Haney, Victor “Divine” Lombard

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

Rev. Jay Williams, Kaye Foster, Karen J. Hanrahan
Rev. Jay Williams, Kaye Foster, Karen J. Hanrahan

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

Brian Maestretti, Emily Cohen, Adama Iwu—who was just named one of The Silence Breakers in Time magazine’s Person of the Year 2017 issue
Brian Maestretti, Emily Cohen, Adama Iwu—who was just named one of The Silence Breakers in Time magazine’s Person of the Year 2017 issue

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

Coltrane and Christopher Lord
Coltrane and Christopher Lord

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

Janice Mirikitani, Willie Brown, London Breed, Scott Wiener, Karen J. Hanrahan, Rev. Cecil Williams (in front)
Janice Mirikitani, Willie Brown, London Breed, Scott Wiener, Karen J. Hanrahan, Rev. Cecil Williams (in front)

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

Willie Brown, London Breed, John Konstin
Willie Brown, London Breed, John Konstin

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

V. Bozeman, Coltrane Lord, Janice Mirikitani, Felicia Horowitz
V. Bozeman, Coltrane Lord, Janice Mirikitani, Felicia Horowitz

Photo Credit: Alain McLaughlin

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