Our Legacy Supporters

Our Legacy Supporters

As you consider being part of the GLIDE movement for years to come, meet some people like you who have made unconditional love and acceptance part of their life stories.

Zahava Sherez

I have three continents I call home,” says Zahava Sherez, who was born in Argentina, grew up in Israel and moved to the United States as an adult. Her multicultural life experience helped shape her understanding of what it means to be human and informs her connection to GLIDE.

“I’ve always believed that humanity is like a beautiful flower garden: all shapes and colors and forms. At GLIDE, I found a place on the planet that speaks my language, where humanity is the way I see it and I believe it should be.”

This vibrant viewpoint was born from traumatic life experiences. “As a little girl in Argentina, I was [verbally] attacked for being a Jew. In Israel, I experienced wars as a child, a soldier, a young wife and a mother. Tension and violence were very much a part of our life. The one thing that kept me sane and balanced was art making.”

Eventually, Zahava moved to the United States, living first in Connecticut and later in Carmel. She wanted to raise her younger son among people of all backgrounds and began seeking a place where diversity was part of daily life. In 1995, they settled in Oakland where Zahava opened her primary art studio. Today, her son and his wife are raising their family in Oakland and Zahava spends her time there and in Chapala, Mexico, where she opened a second studio.

Although her family and her career were flourishing, Zahava felt that something was missing in her life. She began searching for a spiritual community. Her friends and family attended GLIDE and often told her about the wonderful affirming and inclusive Celebration services. She was skeptical. It wasn’t until her friends started talking about GLIDE’s social-justice work that Zahava really started to pay attention. GLIDE’s focus on those marginalized in our society moved her deeply. “As an outsider myself, all through my life, I didn’t fit in anywhere. In my artwork, in my life and in my spiritual practice I have always focused on the outsiders—refugees, immigrants, the other—always emphasizing the commonalities between human beings.”

For Zahava, GLIDE reflects her own deeply held values. She supports GLIDE in many ways—by donating, participating in Celebration services whenever she’s in town, volunteering and leaving a legacy by including GLIDE in her will.

Zahava decided to make a bequest gift to GLIDE in her estate plans because she feels that societal ills such as racism and inequity, which are only worsening, must be addressed. “My hope is that GLIDE will continue to be a light in the world. GLIDE walks the walk. I have three children and seven grandchildren, and they’re all doing pretty well. I want my name and spirit to support not only my family, but also the things that have value, and one of them is definitely GLIDE.

Lynn & Randy Rabenstein

The Rabensteins’ shared passion for engaging youth through camping is what brought them together. They met through their work with the Salem Family YMCA youth and camping program.

After attending seminary in the Bay Area, Lynn expanded her definition of camping to include urban experiences. Returning to Salem First United Methodist Church as a seminary intern, she and Randy drove a dozen kids from Salem, Oregon to volunteer for a full week at GLIDE’s Daily Free Meals program. This trip was as eye opener for Lynn, Randy and the kids. After that, she organized a dozen mission trips over two decades, with various participants: youth groups, all-adult teams and once with international exchange students. Two teams included youth and adults from churches throughout Oregon and Idaho, with the hope of expanding the impact of this life-changing experience to other communities.

Every participant, including the kids, made real connections and internalized the experience. Their interactions with GLIDE clients, staff and other volunteers, many of whom were former GLIDE clients, helped them to erase stereotypes and motivated them to serve in their local communities.

Randy gained a profound understanding that he should not fear people who are homeless or transient nor people who struggle with drug use. Instead, he realized a deep connection and compassion for those he met at GLIDE.

Randy is now a retired YMCA Director and Lynn serves as a Spiritual Counselor for Hospice. Over the years, the Rabensteins have donated smaller gifts to GLIDE to support the Daily Free Meals program, which is near and dear to their hearts.

They read about charitable gift annuities on GLIDE’s website and realized that they could gift their rental home while receiving income and additional tax benefits. After being landlords for two decades, they decided to gift their home to benefit GLIDE and other nonprofits. We are happy to have them as members of the Cecil & Jan Legacy Circle.

Martie Martin & Chris Conner

Martie first came to GLIDE as a volunteer, serving breakfast on December 25, 1997. At the end of her shift she went upstairs to join the Christmas service already in progress. As soon as she walked into the celebration “I felt like I had come home. Everything about the service–the music, the message, the atmosphere–touched my soul. It was a life changing experience. I’m reminded of the message that GLIDE is a place to heal—for everyone.”

In 2001, Martie met Chris for the first time after she attended a Sunday Celebration. As their relationship evolved, Chris joined Martie as part of GLIDE’s congregation and two years after they met, they were married on Angel Island by Pastor Doug Fitch.

Chris was originally not sure about joining a church, as he is not particularly religious. But he likes that GLIDE welcomes people from all backgrounds and beliefs to its Celebration services. “There are no ‘religious tests’ for being part of the congregation. Everyone is welcome.” Both he and Martie appreciate GLIDE’s message of love and community and its emphasis on “good works.”

Chris goes on to say, “There is something really fundamental about feeding people and providing housing and healthcare. These are things that everyone should be entitled to and we need organizations like GLIDE that step up to the plate.”

Martie and Chris also appreciate GLIDE’s inclusivity. “Everyone at GLIDE is someone. It doesn’t matter if you’re homeless or housed.” And they both love GLIDE’s spontaneity. “You never know what will happen at a celebration!”

The Conners have made their legacy gift because they want to have a significant part of their estate do good work. Martie states, “We like all of their programs—they all have value and are critical to the needs of the community and the world.” Chris adds, “There is no question that GLIDE is making a difference in people’s lives.

Crickette Brown Glad

I have so much to be grateful for, including a wonderful marriage and three now-grown, adopted children. Anchoring my family and so much more in my life is a relationship with God.

I express much of my gratitude through my volunteer work at GLIDE. So many people are in situations beyond their control. GLIDE’s mission is profound and powerful. Its work affects me every time I walk down the street and into the building. While we are a church, that’s not what we’re about. Each of us is called on to be the person that Jesus would want us to be. We don’t judge. We love unconditionally. Everyone is equal: all races, sizes, colors and sexual orientation.

It took a while for me to get to GLIDE. God dropped hints in my lap several times. Others said, “Have you tried GLIDE.” Finally I checked it out. In my very first visit I sat in back of the church. I couldn’t stop crying. I’ve been attending ever since.

Sadly, my husband passed away a few years back. After a period of grieving, I was asked to join GLIDE’s board. Prior to his death I was a full-time artist; however, I chose to put this aside. I asked myself, “What can I do to be more helpful?” Art is now a hobby as I’ve become a full-time philanthropist.

I’ve left a bequest in my will to GLIDE because of all that accomplishes for others, and for me. I’m here in the service of God, and that’s what I’m supposed to do.

Mary Glide

I’m the proud great-great-granddaughter of Lizzie Glide. In 1929, she purchased a parcel of land at the intersection of Ellis and Taylor streets in San Francisco. Two years later, construction of GLIDE Memorial United Methodist Church was completed. The cornerstone still reads, “A house of prayer for all people.”

As a younger person, I was always curious about our family’s connection. My mom had us kids volunteering in the kind of things that GLIDE was doing like handing out toys to children and stuffing envelopes for advocacy work. Even without the history, my family culture of giving back to the community was strong.

Then one day I walked into GLIDE and saw all of these people working to try to make things better in a culture of acceptance for all. It’s very inspiring and I’m energized every time that I walk in, which gets me through the next week.

My family and GLIDE have inspired me to continue my commitment to our community. I’ve participated in a mentoring program for women in tech, I chaired the board of Mary Elizabeth Inn (founded by Lizzie Glide), and in 2010, I started GLIDE Kids, a program that runs concurrent with Sunday Celebration, giving children an opportunity to be creative and experience community through storytelling. We let these kids form their own opinions and they come out stronger.

It’s important to help other organizations while we are here. Future generations need to have this same community and a place to go when they need a hand. I’m proud to have included GLIDE in my estate plan, among other nonprofits, to keep on doing great work after I’m gone.