The Rev. Yvette Flunder, a San Francisco native, has served her call through prophetic action and ministry for justice for over 30 years. The call to “blend proclamation, worship, service and advocacy on behalf of those most marginalized in church and in society” led to the founding of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ in 1991.
That church grew from a small group of mostly gay and lesbian Christians’ deep desire to have a worship space that resembled the churches of their youth, but contained none of the toxic theology that was so often present in those spaces, according to the church’s website. Specifically, the group desired a church that would not be adverse to female clergy; welcome queer and transgendered people; take seriously Jesus’ commitment to social justice; value and welcome all people regardless of their race or social status; and be accountable to its members.
Now, Flunder is bringing that ministry — and her talents as an award-winning gospel artist — to Chautauqua’s pulpit as the chaplain-in-residence for Week Nine, “A Vibrant Tapestry: Exploring Creativity, Culture and Faith with Smithsonian Folklife Festival.”
She will preach at the 9:15 a.m. service of ecumenical worship Monday – Friday in the Amphitheater. Flunder’s sermon titles include “The Rain in Coming,” “Who Can Be Against Us? Us,” “Assurance Insurance … The Balm for Our Wounded Souls,” “Resurrection or Resuscitation … It Is Time to Come to Life!” and “Happy Feet.”
In 2003, Flunder was consecrated presiding bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational coalition of over 100 primarily African American Christian leaders and laity. She is a graduate of the Certificate of Ministry and Master of Arts programs at Pacific School of Religion and received her Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Flunder is a DEMOS board member and senior fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School. She has also served as an adjunct professor and speaker at Pacific School of Religion and numerous seminaries and universities including Auburn, Brite Divinity School, Chicago Theological Seminary, New York Theological Seminary, Columbia, Drew, Duke, Eden, Howard, Lancaster and Yale universities. She is also author of Where the Edge Gathers: Building a Community of Radical Inclusion.