Bishop Flunder and City of Refuge Celebrate 21 Years of Ministry

Bishop Yvette Flunder with longtime partner renown gospel singer Shirley Miller.

By Camryn Crump Bishop Yvette Flunder recently  was awarded the “Heritage Award” at the 8th annual “Out Awards” in Las Vegas, an awards show celebrating the best Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) recording artists in music each year that have messages of inclusion, equality and creative achievements. The award comes on the heels of Flunder celebrating 21 years of ministry at the church she founded, City of Refuge United Church. “I am honored to be the recipient of  The Heritage Award  from my community,” said Flunder. “When I sang ‘Something Inside Me So Strong’ with other out artists, it was   a powerful and affirming moment.” With her radical inclusive love and community outreach, Bishop Flunder has earned a reputation for creating a safe space that bridges the gap between gospel and social ministry. She says God led her to found the City of Refuge in 1991 to liberate people from physical and mental oppression. Flunder’s work has created a home for all, no matter the gender, sexual orientation, economic status or racial ethnicity. She was one of the first to respond to the needs of the AIDS epidemic. Opening the Hazard-Ashley House in San Francisco, she provided housing for HIV positive African American women and African American Transgendered women living with HIV. There are now over 100 churches under the fellowship of Bishop Flunder in the U.S. and in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Mexico, Zimbabwe and So. Africa. She says it is a blessing to see her religious model of inclusion duplicated  across the country and the world. She continues to provide intervention for those who suffer from substance abuse and transitional housing for youth.
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