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In Beyond the Possible, Reverend Cecil Williams, one of the most well-known and provocative ministers in the United States, reflects on his fifty years creating radical social change as the head of San Francisco's Memorial Glide Church.
Williams' innovations, such as HIV testing during services, have drawn protest from more conservative factions within the Methodist Church, but his work in the community has drawn praise from the likes of Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffett.
Written with Glide Church founding pastor Janice Mirikitani, and with a foreword by Dave Eggers, Beyond the Possible is a book of wisdom, providing lessons that Reverend Williams has learned so that readers can learn to embrace their true selves, accept all those around them, and fully live day to day through social change as worship.
The story of Glide Memorial Church's transformation from a dwindling Methodist congregation in San Francisco to a thriving, justice-oriented community unfolds in alternating narratives by pastor and civil rights activist Williams (No Hiding Place: Empowerment and Recovery for Our Troubled Communities), and poet and founding president Mirikitani (Out of the Dust). Both authors recount formative childhood experiences that shaped their sense of identity and calling, and describe frankly their own relationship's development over decades (from acquaintances to colleagues to spouses) in the context of their passion for Glide's work. Humor, courage, and conviction radiate through these stories, which jump back and forth through the years, detailing Williams's arrival and chilly reception at Glide and his determination to engage the Tenderloin neighborhood and welcome the marginalized (homeless, hungry, mentally ill, drug-addicted, prostitutes, LGBT folks) into church with a message of unconditional love and acceptance. Notable moments in Glide's history interweave with non-chronologically ordered reflections on Trayvon Martin, the Black Panthers, Maya Angelou, the crack epidemic, racism, homophobia, and nonviolence. The authors' persistent self-examination and honest recounting provide a generous, faithful window into Glide's consequential ministry.