Financially troubled United Methodist Church should leave Glide Memorial Church alone.
At the corner of Glide Memorial Church and Glide Foundation in San Francisco, the cornerstone reads: “A house of prayer for all people.”
Glide Memorial Church (best known by the work of now former pastor Cecil Williams and recently used as a “demonstration safe injection site for drug users”) prides itself in continually striving to meet the challenge set by Lizzie Glide in 1930 to welcome all. Glide was established by Lizzie Glide to honor her late husband as well as a means to share her spirituality and commitment to those in need.
In a San Francisco that has changed dramatically over the past decades and veered into a Manhattan-like gluttony for monetary gain and social status, Glide has remained the heart and soul of the city, serving as the last refuge of the downtrodden, the poor, the disenfranchised, and a place where anyone can say “I am somebody” and find some hope.
Now Glide Memorial Church Faces The Greatest Threat To Its Existence In Its History
Ironically, the threat comes from Glide’s partner, the United Methodist Church itself, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., which is financially crumbling and looking for every penny, nickel and dime to save itself–no matter the impact on the Glide and the thousands of needy it serves every day with food and social services and prayer.
The dispute has been portrayed primarily by the United Methodist Church as a fight over theology. The United Methodist Church has accused Glide of not following the denomination’s rules and regulations. Glide says it’s being asked to conform to a new bishop’s “personal idea of Methodism and Christianity,” according to news reports.
United Methodist Church (UMC) Could Go Out Of Business By 2050
However, public records reveal UMC’s true motive: the national UMC is so strapped for cash that it has only 15 years to reverse its current decline in the United States–and could possibly go out of business by 2050, according to its own economic review
The UMC economist predicted that unless things change quickly, the UMC in coming years will not have enough money to pay for its leadership and its bureaucracies, which include conferences, bishops, agencies, and missions around the world.
Thus, everywhere it can, UMC is starting to penny pinch to ensure its national and international structure.
In fact, UMC was recently in a financial battle over the Jones Memorial United Methodist Church and Homes in San Francisco, ultimately losing, but only after financially damaging the well-respected local organization.
Now, it looks as if UMC may be using the same playbook to crush Glide, its leadership and board, its foundation, and the people it helps all in the name of the almighty dollar, while publically pretending it’s all about religion and following the rules of UMC’s “Book of Discipline.”
It’s easy for UMC Bishop Minerva Carcaño to use religion as a red herring in this fight. The reality is the Bishop and UMC want to gut Glide financially and takeover some of the most prime real estate in the heart of San Francisco’s Tenderloin—the Glide Church property at Ellis and Taylor streets.
So, when you hear there is a “war over religion” brewing in San Francisco, it’s really a hostile takeover by UMC’s Bishop Minerva Carcaño, who wants to grab hold of Glide’s multi-million property to help the failing finances of the national church.
What will happen to San Francisco’s needy, elderly, homeless, and Glide’s services for families, women, the LGBTQI community, HIV/AIDs, if UMC and Bishop Carcaño succeed?
One can only imagine the devastation UMC will cause if it wins this hostile takeover of Glide.
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media