PRINCETON, N.J. - Recognized for her more than 30-year social justice ministry, Rev. Dr. Yvette A. Flunder, founder and senior pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ (City of Refuge UCC) in Oakland, Calif., will deliver the Prathia Hall Lecture at Princeton Theological Seminary Wednesday, February 6 at 7 p.m. The lecture will take place at the Seminary's Miller Chapel, followed by a reception at the campus library. Both are free and open to the public.
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“Lectures like this one are profoundly important. They add to the texture of the student experience, broaden their outlook on life, and provide critical tools that prepare them for leadership,” says Keri L. Day, PhD, associate professor of constructive theology and African American religion. “We are excited to have Dr. Flunder, who has established her lifelong ministry on inclusion and love, to deliver a prophetic message at the Prathia Hall Lecture.”
Lectures like this one are profoundly important. They add to the texture of the student experience, broaden their outlook on life, and provide critical tools that prepare them for leadership.
“The African American woman's voice is often missing and her perspective is essential to theological scholarship, the broader community, and the Church,” says Jade Lee, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) senior at the Seminary who is a member of the student Association of Black Seminarians. “Bringing an accomplished and dynamic woman to campus who exemplifies Prathia Hall will offer Princeton Seminary students the opportunity to grow personally and in ministry and scholarship.”
Prathia Hall’s life was an integration of religion and politics. By her own accounts she had a deep passion for justice and exercised a “freedom faith.” Hall was an ardent activist during the 1960s civil rights movement, including serving as a leader within the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee where she added to the demand for voting rights. She later earned three degrees from Princeton Seminary – Master of Divinity in 1982, Master of Theology in 1984, and Doctor of Philosophy in 1997 in which she graduated magna cum laude. Her doctoral dissertation was on the “Religious and Social Consciousness of African-American Baptist Women.” Hall was a womanist theologian, a social ethics professor, and one of the first women ordained in the American Baptist Association.
In the same spirit as Hall, Flunder has spent much of her life advocating for the marginalized, including responding to the needs of the AIDS epidemic and striving for LGBTQ equality. She is also the author of Where the Edge Gathers: Building a Community of Radical Inclusion (Pilgrim Press 2005) and serves on the board of the Starr King School for the Ministry. Flunder has been an active voice for the National Black Justice Coalition, the Shanti Project, and Black Adoption Placement and Research Center, to name a few. Additionally, she is a senior fellow at Auburn University; a board member for DEMOS, a public policy organization rooted in democracy; and active with the Centers for Spiritual Living.
“It is easy to forget who Prathia Hall was and what she means, not only to the African American community but to all of society,” adds Lee who is the lead student coordinator for the lecture and reception. “I am delighted to help bring to the forefront the principles she stood for – equality, justice, liberation.”