Bishop Flunder founded the City of Refuge UCC in 1991 in order to unite a gospel ministry with a social ministry. City of Refuge is a thriving inner-city congregation that celebrates the radically inclusive love of Jesus Christ. Preaching a message of action, the church has experienced steady numerical and spiritual growth and is now located in the South of Market Area of San Francisco at 1025 Howard Street.
A native San Franciscan, Bishop Flunder is a third generation preacher with roots in the Church of God in Christ. She was licensed in the COGIC and later ordained by the Bishop Walter Hawkins of Love Center Ministries where she served as Associate Pastor and administrator for the Oakland-based Love Center Church. In 1984 Bishop Flunder began performing and recording with “Walter Hawkins and the Family” and the Love Center Choir. Other gospel music recordings include “There’s Power “with the City of Refuge Praise Ensemble, “We Won’t Be Silent Anymore” with The Fellowship Mass Choir, and “How Sweet the Sound”, with the Grammy Award winning Chanticleer.
Bishop Flunder is also an ordained Minister of the United Church of Christ and a graduate of the Ministry Studies and Master of Arts programs at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California. She received a Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo California.
In June 2003 Bishop Flunder was consecrated Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship a multi-denominational fellowship of 110 primarily African American Christian leaders and laity representing 56 churches and faith-based organizations from all parts of the United States Mexico and Africa.
Responding to the needs of the AIDS epidemic, 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. Restoration House is a dual-diagnosis residential facility for African-American women and the first of its kind in San Francisco. Walker House serves persons in recovery and living with HIV in Oakland, CA. The Ark provides HIV/AIDS education and prevention services targeting the African American and African faith community. The Ark opened, in collaboration with AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Magic Johnson Clinic to provide primary medical care services. The Ark has also provided substance abuse intervention programs, transitional housing for homeless youth, mentorship programs and a computer lab and audio/video training for community youth.
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, an active voice for the Religion Council of the Human Rights Campaign and Co-Chair of the Religious Advisory Committee of the National Black Justice Coalition. She also serves on the UCC Unified Governance Working Group as representative of the United Church of Christ Seminaries.
Bishop Flunder has served as past President of the Board of Directors for the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ, as a Board Member of the Shanti Project, as Chair of the San Francisco Inter-religious Coalition on AIDS, Chair of the Black Adoption Placement and Research Center, Founding member of the African American Interfaith Alliance on AIDS, Member of the Alameda County Ryan White Consortium, a member of the San Francisco HIV/AIDS Planning and Prevention Council, a consultant to the Congressional Black Caucus Health Brain Trust, and as a Member of the California Ryan White Working Group.
Bishop Flunder is much sought after as a preacher, educator, conference speaker and singer. She has been a lecturer, Adjunct Professor and speaker at numerous seminaries to include Lancaster, Duke, Drew, Eden, Yale and New York Theological. She is the author of “Where the Edge Gathers: A Theology and Homiletic of Radical Inclusion” Pilgrim Press. A list of published work can be made available upon request.
Bishop Flunder has received many awards for her work in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with the elderly and youth.
For more information, please contact Pastor Vanessa Brown;
Cell: (646) 320-2451