“…like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft…”
Deut. 32:11 (NIV)
The Mother Eagle Award was established in 2017 to honor the women who have taken the lead in courageously advocating for LGBTQIA equality in Christianity. Its purpose is to express gratitude and to ensure their stories are known and their sacrifices remembered.
The annual award is jointly presented by Christian Feminism Today and The Gay Christian Network.
Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, author and professor, was selected as the first recipient of the award. Yvette A. Flunder, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries was selected as the second Mother Eagle Award recipient.
The official award presentation takes place yearly during the GCN WomenConnect retreat at the Gay Christian Network Conference. The 2018 Gay Christian Network Conference will be held in Denver, Colorado, January 18-21, 2018.
2018 Mother Eagle Award Recipient – Yvette A. Flunder
Rev. Dr. Yvette A. Flunder is an unapologetic disciple and proponent of the radically inclusive love of Jesus Christ, she has raised her voice for justice from the church house to the White House and the steps of the Supreme Court.
Along with 15 charter members, Bishop Flunder founded City of Refuge UCC in 1991. The ministry has grown into a thriving inner-city congregation. In June 2003 Rev. Dr. Flunder was consecrated Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship (founded in 2000 and renamed The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries in 2011), a multi-denominational coalition of over 100 primarily African American Christian leaders and laity representing churches throughout the world.
Responding to the needs of the AIDS epidemic, Bishop Flunder and her staff opened Hazard-Ashley House and Walker House in Oakland, CA, and Restoration House in San Francisco through the Ark of Refuge, Inc., a nonprofit agency that provided 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. The Ark of Refuge transitioned into the Y. A. Flunder Foundation, which continues the work of social justice exemplified through service and public advocacy, including collaborative partnerships to support the Mother of Peace Orphanage in Mutoko, Zimbabwe.
Bishop Flunder is a graduate of Pacific School of Religion and San Francisco Theological Seminary.
2017 Mother Eagle Award Recipient – Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
Author and English professor Dr. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott has spent a lifetime advocating for lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights in Christianity. Among her 13 books is the classic work of LGBT spirituality, Is The Homosexual My Neighbor? A Positive Christian Response, co-written with Letha Dawson Scanzoni and published in 1978. In her 2001 book, Omnigender: A Trans-Religious Approach, winner of a Lambda Literary Award, Mollenkott “moves beyond the current gender construct to offer a vision of a new, more flexible gender paradigm.“ Transgender Journeys, a Lambda Award finalist, was co-authored with trans activist Vanessa Sheridan and published in 2004. Virginia was a stylistic consultant for the New International Version of the Bible, and served as a member of the National Council of Churches’ Inclusive Language Lectionary Committee. Mollenkott received her undergraduate degree from Bob Jones University, her M.A. from Temple University, her Ph.D. from New York University, and an honorary D. Min. from Samaritan Seminary (UFMCC). She lives in New Jersey with her wife, Suzannah Tilton. Find more information about Dr. Mollenkott on her website, www.virginiamollenkott.com.