Boston, Massachusetts – On Sunday, June 13th, the historic Old South Church in Boston will present their Open Door Award to Bishop Yvette A. Flunder, founder and pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ (UCC) in Oakland, CA and Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. Bishop Flunder will be honored during LGBTQIA+ Pride Sunday Worship for her decades-long history of fierce advocacy for LGBTQ inclusion in the church.
Among many victories on behalf of the LGBTQ community, Bishop Flunder and her staff opened Hazard-Ashley House and Walker House in Oakland and Restoration House in San Francisco through 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 USA and in three countries in Africa. Bishop Flunder is a Trustee and Adjunct Professor at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley California. She is a board member of the National Sexuality Resource Center, and she is an active voice for the Religion Council of the Human Rights Campaign. She also serves on the UCC’s Justice and Witness Board of Directors.
Old South Church created the Open Door Award in 2014. Carved in stone above the Portico to Old South’s 1875 National Historic Landmark building are these words from the Book of Revelation: BEHOLD, I HAVE SET BEFORE THEE AN OPEN DOOR. They take these words to mean that in God’s name, it is their duty and privilege to pry open doors shut against any persons and to keep oiling the hinges of any doors rusting shut.
Previous recipients of the Open Door award include:
Byron Rushing, Former State Representative
Adrian Walker, Boston Globe Metro Columnist
Callie Crossley, Pioneer Broadcast journalist and host of Under the Radar with Callie Crossley,. on WGBH
Sarah-Ann Shaw, Boston’s first African-American female TV reporter
The Honorable Elizabeth Warren, Senator
His Excellency Duval Patrick, Governor
Larry Kessler, Boston Living Center
Dr. Kenneth Mayor, The Fenway Institute
Bishop Tom Shaw, Bishop, Diocese of MA
Rev Frank Schaefer, Methodist Minister defrocked for officiating at his gay son’s wedding
Rev Judy Hanlon, founder of Asylum Seekers Ministry (in Worcester MA for gay people seeking asylum from such countries as Uganda, Kenya, Saudi Arabia)
The Boston Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Abbess Sr. Rosetta Stone)