Cecil's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Destination Unknown

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    San Francisco, CA

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 1

  • ON DVD:

CECIL WILLIAMS

Minister
Glide Memorial Church

“Love means living dangerously, and to live dangerously means to risk all that you have. If you’re going to do it, you have to go all the way.”

INTERESTS:

Philosophy & Religion

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Chance Courage Culture Desire Fulfillment Individualism Risk Struggle Values Community

FOUNDATION:

Helping People

TAGS:

Berkeley, church, empower, empowerment, helping others, life after death, living, living dangerously, lose something, loss, love, Methodist church, poor, poverty, religion, school, segregation, Southern Methodist University, theology

BIOGRAPHY:

  • “It was an ordeal” going to Southern Methodist University when he did—was one of the first African-Americans accepted.
  • The school clearly didn’t know how to treat their black students; sent him to New Mexico to start a segregated church.
  • He said “no way,” left SMU for Berkeley, finished theology studies there.
  • Was assigned to a church in Kansas City, congregation was largely poor.
  • Saw that poverty was a commonality that united white and black churchgoers.
  • Realized that to help people “where it hurt the most,” he had to empower those who were impoverished.
  • Joined Glide Memorial, turned it into a place of refuge for many of San Francisco’s poor and homeless.
  • Says he created his “own theology,” follows example of founder of the Methodist church, who worked extensively with the poor.

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