MODESTO (KPIX) – Officials with the United Methodist Church on Wednesday refused to talk to KPIX 5 about why they recently notified San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church of the pending removal of two associate pastors.

Glide, located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, is one of the most well-known churches in the Bay Area thanks to the services it provides to the homeless. The church offers food, housing and care for anyone who needs it.

There is some speculation that constant generosity might have landed Glide in trouble with their parent institution.

The Nevada California United Methodist Church held its annual meeting in Modesto this week. KPIX 5 came to the meeting to ask the Bishop about what happened with Glide.

Glide’s board got the email from Bishop Minerva Carcaño on Saturday informing them that effective July 1st, its two associate pastors will be removed with no plans to replace them.

That leaves the congregation without anyone to lead Sunday services.

“It’s not common. It’s not common at all. This situation is unheard of,” said Rev. Rochelle Frazier, the pastor for the South Hayward United Methodist Church.

Glide officials broke the news to the congregation on Sunday, but didn’t have an explanation from the Bishop about why.

KPIX 5 tried to ask Bishop Carcaño about the removal of Glides associate pastors in Modesto but couldn’t get an answer from her or a spokesperson.

However Glide President and CEO Karen Hanrahan thinks she knows what it’s all about.

“The reality is that over the past decades, we’ve evolved so that about 95 percent of what we do is programs and services and about five percent is as a church. So the relationship with United Methodist Church has been collaborative, but now under this new leadership, I think we’re concerned that it’s starting to shift,” said Hanrahan.

So the question remains whether the new philosophical divide will be too big a hurdle to overcome or if the church conference might allow for a meeting of the minds.

All parties will be in attendance at the conference. Some are hoping the two sides can find a compromise between spiritual and social missions.

“Everybody want to save lives and save souls. They just need to work things out, that’s all,” said Rev. Frazier. “We all have the same common focus and purpose. We just need to sit down and work things out.”

Comments (2)
  1. It’s a shame when the “social conscience” of Pastors and other clergy supersedes the primary focus of a Church; i.e., raising the consciousness of the flock from earthly to spiritual matters. I have observed this divide in many congregations other than Glide, and it hurts both heart and soul. I believe the Bishop is seeking to restore greater emphasis on spirituality than social work, and if that’s the case I support the UMC’s action. If that means Glide becomes a social outreach organization rather than a house of worship, at least the lines between the two won’t be blurred.

    Rev. Ed Rosenback, Vallejo CA

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