Bishop Yvette Adrian Flunder Announced as 2016 Commencement Speaker


Bishop Yvette A. Flunder has been confirmed as the speaker for McCormick Theological Seminary’s 182nd Commencement on May 7, 2016 at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church. Bishop Flunder is the Senior and Founding Pastor at City of Refuge, United Church of Christ in Oakland, CA and the Presiding Bishop of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.

President Frank Yamada said, “I am thrilled our students voted Bishop Flunder to deliver this year’s commencement address. Her work as an advocate within the faith community for LGBTQ rights, for persons with HIV/AIDs and her affirmation of the radical inclusivity of ‘the scandalous Gospel of Jesus Christ,’ resonates with our students who are actively engaged in advocacy and organizing for social justice.”

Senior Master of Divinity student, James Potts, the first to put Bishop Flunder’s name forward, says, “She’s an amazing, inspiring woman who meets challenges head-on. She advocates for people who have been pushed aside. She serves as a bridge for people to come without judgment and is interested in and works to improve their quality of life in a loving way. She cares about relationships, therefore she loves and forgives people who protest and attempt to marginalize her without ever backing down from who God calls her to be and what God calls her to do.”

Bishop Flunder received her M.Div. and D.Min. from the Pacific School of Religion and the San Francisco Theological Seminary, respectively. She is a trustee and adjunct professor at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. Bishop Flunder is the author of Where the Edge Gathers: A Theology of Homiletic Radical Inclusion, published by Pilgrim Press. She is also a well-known recording vocal artist with Walter Hawkins and the Family, the City of Refuge Choir, and Chanticleer. 

Bishop Flunder is a renowned preacher, academic, human rights activist and has been a nationally featured speaker and lecturer at divinity schools including Duke, Yale, Drew, and the New York Theological Seminary.

The 2016 commencement exercises will take place at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, located at 5472 S. Kimbark Avenue, Chicago, IL, on Saturday, May 7th at 1:00 p.m. A reception will be held immediately following the ceremony in the McGaw Common Room on the first floor of McCormick Theological Seminary, 5460 S. University Avenue, Chicago, IL at 3:00 p.m.