Hundreds gather to remember the life of GLIDE co-founder, Rev. Cecil Williams

San Franciscans from all walks of life gathered at GLIDE Memorial Church on Sunday to celebrate the life of co-founder Rev. Cecil Williams.

It’s impossible to measure exactly how many people someone touches in their lifetime, but if Sunday's celebration of life was an indicator of anything, it would be that Williams impacted more people than many hope to.

Williams helped build GLIDE into a world-renowned church known for social services and activism, especially in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood.

Williams dedicated his life to fighting for civil rights, racial equity, LGBTQ+ rights, and helping those who were hungry, homeless, or battling drug addiction.

The church was packed wall to wall; there wasn't an empty seat in sight and folks lined up around the block two hours before the ceremony started as San Francisco police shut down streets.

Many family members, congregation members, and politicians spoke or sent video messages for the service, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Nancy Pelosi, and investor Warren Buffett.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed also spoke near the end of the nearly four-hour-long event. 

"Growing up in San Francisco, no matter what was going on in this city, what my grandmother, who raised me, said is that if you get in trouble, if you run into a problem, if you run into a situation, find Cecil Williams," said Breed.

Many attendees said they were blown away by the outpouring of love. 

Cheryl Sinclair, a member of GLIDE, still remembers the first time she saw Williams at GLIDE exactly 30 years ago. What Williams said Sinclair still carries with her.

"His line was ‘get on out that tomb’," Sinclair said. "We're all in recovery from something."