The Southeast Conference and Kirkwood UCC recently hosted a special virtual presentation about Juneteenth offered by Bishop Yvette Flunder, pastor of the City of Refuge UCC in Oakland, California. A recording of the video is available on YouTube.
Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Observed annually on June 19 throughout the United States, it commemorates the anniversary of the June 19, 1865 announcement by Union Army General Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas. Celebrations date to 1866, first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. The holiday is considered the “longest-running African-American holiday” and has been called by some “America’s second Independence Day.”
Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, a San Francisco native, has served her call through prophetic action and ministry for justice for over thirty years. This call to “blend proclamation, worship, service, and advocacy on behalf of those most marginalized in church and society” led to the founding of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ in 1991. In 2003, Rev. Dr. 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.
Rev. Dr. Flunder is on the Board of Starr King School for the Ministry and DEMOS and has taught at many theological schools. 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. She is also an award-winning gospel music artist and author of Where the Edge Gathers: A Theology of Homiletic and Radical Inclusion.