Beyond the Possible

You’ve probably never heard of Cecil Williams and his wife Janice Mirikitani. I hadn’t until my friend Kerry gave me their book Beyond the Possible.

Williams, one of five black students who integrated Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas during the 1950s, became the pastor at Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco in 1963. When he arrived, the church had 35 white members. Today the church has a diverse congregation with thousands of members. It provides health care, after-school programs for poor children, a million free meals a year and apartments for the homeless.

The book tells the remarkable story of a church that attempts to accept “people as they are, not as others would like them to be.”

“The key to a full life is to affirm, affirm, affirm,” Williams emphasizes. “When things are good, affirm who you are and what makes life so good. When things are tough, affirm the values, the principles, the beliefs that have made you strong and are waiting to support you now. Notice what is happening to you every day and affirm your love whenever you can. Affirm what makes you different from everyone else. That is your power.”

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