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San Francisco church celebrates longtime pastor's birthday

San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church held a birthday celebration for its longtime pastor Rev. Cecil Williams Saturday. 

The church was celebrating Williams’ 94th birthday, but also his legacy. The reverend announced his retirement earlier this year, after more than 60 years at the church’s helm, to spend his time focusing on family and health. 

Several city leaders spoke at Saturday’s event, including Mayor London Breed, who credited the reverend for paving the way for her to run for office. She also noted his commitment to inclusion from the beginning. 

“He chose to be courageous in a welcoming, diverse congregation. A diverse, integrated congregation,” Breed said. “All races, all sexual orientations, Rev. Cecil Williams said, ‘you are welcome.’“ 

Williams became GLIDE’s pastor in 1963. During his tenure, he grew the church’s congregation to 10,000 people and became a well-known activist on issues like gay rights, homelessness, and the AIDS epidemic.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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