McCormick's MLK service to feature acclaimed preacher and AIDS ministry leader

12-02-2009 by

Geoff Ashmun

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., Friday, January 15, McCormick Theological Seminary’s Center for African American Ministries and Black Church Studies continues its tradition of honoring one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement with its Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service of Praise and Worship. The Center selects a prominent African American preacher and scholar whose ministry and values embodies Dr. King’s witness to the Gospel, welcoming this year to the pulpit acclaimed preacher Bishop Yvette Flunder.

A third generation preacher, Bishop Flunder is Founding and Senior Pastor of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ, a justice-oriented inner city congregation started in San Francisco in 1991, whose services blend prayer, preaching and song from Baptist, Methodist and Pentecostal traditions. Flunder is also in her sixth year as Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship, a multi-denominational fellowship of 110 primarily African American Christian leaders and laity representing 56 churches and faith-based organizations from the United States, Mexico, and Africa.

Bishop Flunder brings her pastoral and administrative gifts to a number of health-related ministries, organizations and agencies but is perhaps most widely recognized for her work as Executive Director of the Ark of Refuge Inc., a non-profit agency which provides housing, direct services, education and training for persons affected by HIV/AIDS in the Bay Area, throughout the United States, and in three African countries. In collaboration with AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Ark of Refuge opened the Magic Johnson Clinic, an AIDS drug dispensing facility on the church’s premises offering primary medical care and substance abuse counseling services.

In addition to consulting work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Congressional Black Caucus Health Brain Trust and the Department of Health and Human Services, Bishop Flunder chairs the Social Justice Commission for the World Bishop's Council and the Justice and Witness Ministry of the United Church of Christ.

A graduate of the Pacific School of Religion and San Francisco Theological Seminary, where she received her Doctor of Ministry, Bishop Flunder is the author of Where the Edge Gathers: Building a Community of Radical Inclusion (Pilgrim Press, 2005).