Sound of tinkling glass a sign of the times at Glide Memorial UMC
By Jeneane Jones
Director of Communications
Glide has been a San Francisco Tenderloin landmark since the early 1930s and a beacon of light and warmth for the city’s homeless for decades – a vision made reality by its Pastor Emeritus, the Rev. Cecil Williams.
Located in one of
Glide’s innovative child care, drug rehab, jobs programs, and affordable housing have touched the lives of millions in
Cutting-edge ministry notwithstanding, one part of Glide’s witness has, surprisingly, remained far from the edge. Never has a woman been appointed as part of the pastoral staff at Glide. The “stained glass ceiling” separating female clergy from the pulpit has remained shatterproof. But on Sunday, March 2, 2008 that changes, as the Rev. Karen Oliveto (shown at left) delivers her first sermon as Glide’s newest pastor.
“Karen has outstanding gifts for ministry, she knows
“I am very pleased to appoint Rev. Oliveto to the pastoral staff at Glide. Her ministry at Bethany UMC was known for its radical inclusion of Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered, and Bisexual persons seeking the open door to the love of Jesus. She will help Glide break through the stained glass ceiling as it receives its first woman pastor under appointment. She’ll be great!”
The Rev. Don Guest, appointed by Bishop Shamana in 2006 to lead Glide, says the church’s mission – though successful – has come at a cost, and uses the story of the Israelites to explain.
“Success can be dangerous…those who respond to the prophetic call of the
Guest sees the appointment of Oliveto as a long awaited opportunity for Glide to respond anew to the challenge of equality. Just as women are part of the church’s community, Guest says it is time women are “included in the prophetic leadership reflecting the surrounding population. Karen is going to complement and highlight the full passel of values that the
Rev. Oliveto comes to Glide after serving as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Pacific School of Religion in
Oliveto said continuing that tradition will ensure “that the Glide community will remain equipped to be a hopeful agent of liberation, transformation, and empowerment within the city of
Guest says there’s no need to think Oliveto’s new role will be window dressing. “We are both going to be pastors here. No one wants a visit from a co-pastor. We are both going to be pastors with equal standing. Perhaps it’s a new paradigm for the