09 September 2012

Gay Black Church: An Interview with Bishop Yvette Flunder

Gay Black Church: An Interview with Bishop Yvette Flunder, by Lisa Webster (Religious Dispatches, 30 September 2010)

It’s Sunday afternoon in the sanctuary of City of Refuge,  a linoleum-floored auditorium with folding chairs, at a particularly sketchy downtown San Francisco intersection. Yvette Flunder, founding pastor, is preaching at the podium, a fine wooden pedestal that gives the altar a hint of traditional “church.” It was her grandfather’s pulpit, and now she’s raising the roof amidst shouts from the congregation: Say it, Bishop! Tell it! Possessing a world-class gospel voice she punctuates her preaching with spontaneous singing as she preaches about what it means to be a “radically inclusive” congregation—to be a church for everyone. It’s the kind of thing you might not notice right away. Just another black church in a down-and-out urban neighborhood. But then you look to your left, at the gangly transgender woman with tattoos; or at the band, up by the stage, with a drummer who looks like singer Nona Hendryx; or at the choir director, in shiny satin, and it begins to dawn on you: radically inclusive. Not just words.

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