Best Gospel San Francisco 2005 -
Glide's "Sunday Celebrations" in the Tenderloin draw people from all over to sway and clap with the most diverse gospel choir in the city. Directed by John F. Turk Jr. and Ron Sutherland and backed by a full band, the 140-member Glide Ensemble leads the congregation through gospel, jazz, blues, and spirituals, interspersed with prayer and talk from the Rev. Douglass Fitch and church members. Speakers make a point to welcome everybody in the universe and frequently mention a litany of denominations, sexual orientations, and body types to hammer the point home, even including "agnostic" and "atheist," which is really nice for a church. Though Glide is a bit untraditional, you will get a sermon. On a recent Sunday, minister Karen offered a complete refutation of the existence of hell, complete with scholarly word etymologies and quotes from Bertrand Russell, which made everybody feel a whole lot better. "Sunday Celebrations" occur at 9 and 11 a.m., and drivers get to participate in that rarefied act: double-parking in the 'Loin.