Credo: The Rev. Cecil Williams

What experience did most to shape your moral life?

The experience that shaped my life more than anything else: I had a very loving family.

How do you distinguish being a father to your children and being a father figure to the larger community?

That’s not easy, I’ve tried to make sure that first and foremost my son and my daughter at least felt my presence with them as they grew in their experiences. I tried to be, hopefully, a good father. I’m not sure it worked very well, but I tried anyway.

What is it about Glide’s congregation that you see captures or illustrates the human spirit?

What we have done at Glide through the years is work to live what it means to be spiritual. Note I didn’t say religious. What we’ve tried to do is make sure that people feel empowered, that they were able to do for themselves and stand up for themselves. We want to be a wholesome community of people who really stood up and said we want to change the world because we want to make sure the world is a better place for everybody.

You have been accepting of nearly every walk of life, including those walks seen as unsavory in the eyes of many. That said, who would you describe as a bad person? Is there such a thing?

I hate to use that term. It really doesn’t allow for the person who is looked upon as bad to be changing. What we must do is take a word like bad and turn it into a word that has change underscoring it. Bad talking, bad speaking, having hatred, turning against yourself and other folks, that sense of bad that demeans and destroys human life.

What is love?

It’s very simple in one sense: Love is living life fully and attempting to make sure that whatever we do with each other, it is to help people not be destroyed, but help people to be strong, to be caring.

Where or to whom do you turn to in dark times?

My wife is one, there’s no doubt about it. I trust her. I rely on her, I reveal myself to her. I open up to her. So I depend on her, but I also have very committed and strong feelings and action toward that god who comes and loves us in spite of ourselves, so I go to the one who is called God.

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