Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School is excited to host the Rev. Dr. Yvonne Delk (ANTS MRE 1963) for the Simpson-Hewett Lecture in Congregational History.
Registration has closed for this event.
*If you are unable to attend in person, you can stream the event online by visiting the Spring Glen Church YouTube channel.*
The Rev. Dr. Yvonne V. Delk has served for sixty years as an educator, preacher, organizer, and prophetic voice leading the fight for human and civil rights for people of color, children, and the poor throughout five continents. She earned her Masters in Religious Education from Andover Newton Theological School in 1963. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees for Franklinton Center at Bricks, and lives in Norfolk, Virginia. (For a full bio of Dr. Delk, please scroll down)
The Rev. Dr. Delk will be presenting on her new edited volume: Afro-Christian Convention | The Fifth Stream of the United Church of Christ. She will focus on the idea of “Truth and Truth-telling in the nation and church at a time of Afrophobia and the Critical Race Theory.”
We will begin with a presentation at noon and move into a time of fellowship over a light lunch at 1:00.
The holy stream of African spirituality that flowed across the Atlantic Ocean, up into the tidewaters of Virginia in 1619, the same stream that overflowed into the worship and work of the United Church of Christ, is celebrated and given its long-overdue place in the canon of UCC history.
The story of the Afro-Christian Convention is the story of faith, survival, and empowerment in the hostile environment of racism. From 1892 to the 1960s, the Afro-Christian Convention was composed of 150 churches and 25,000 members, located primarily in North Carolina and Virginia.
In June 1957, when the founding/merging leaders of the new United Church of Christ processed through Cleveland, representation of the Afro-Christian Convention churches was folded into the representation of the Convention of the South—a 1950s initiative of the Congregational Christian denomination to fold Black churches of the South into a single conference.
But the spirit, worldview, worship, and impact of Afro-Christian Convention churches are not appropriately represented under the banner of the Congregational stream of UCC history, a stream informed predominantly by white perspective. The Afro-Christian Convention, born from the wellspring of independent Black churches with deep African rootedness, is rightly understood—and at last shared—as a unique stream.
The Rev. Dr. Yvonne Delk
For over 60 years, the Reverend Yvonne V. Delk has been a strong ally in the fight for human and civil rights for people of color, children, and the poor. Today, she remains a clear, prolific, and moral voice in search of justice and equality for the oppressed within the U.S. interfaith community.
In 1974, Rev. Delk became the first African American woman to be ordained as clergy in the UCC. From 1981 to 1990 Rev. Delk was Executive Director of the UCC’s Office of Church in Society, an organization that seeks to relate biblical teachings to current social issues.
In 1990 Rev. Delk became the first woman and first African American Executive Director of the Community Renewal Society (CRS), a faith-based Chicago metropolitan area mission agency related to the United Church of Christ that works to empower people to dismantle racism and poverty in order to build just communities.
From 1984 to 1997 served as a representative of the United Church of Christ to the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva, Switzerland. In this capacity, served as the chair of the WCC’s Program to Combat Racism; worked with a committee of 25 persons from all regions of the globe; visited five continents to build alliances between movement groups and churches on issues of racial justice and the ending of apartheid in South Africa.
Rev. Delk currently serves on the Board of Directors of Franklinton Center located in Whitakers, North Carolina. Franklinton Center is a conference and retreat center located on property that was a slave plantation. It has now been transformed into historic and sacred space focused on empowerment, education, organizing, justice, and the well-being of the African American community.
She is the founding Director of the Center for African American Theological Studies located in Chicago, Illinois.
She is the editor of the book Afro-Christian Convention: The Fifth Stream of the United Church of Christ. This is the story of faith, survival, and empowerment in the hostile environment of racism. This holy stream of African spirituality that flowed across the Atlantic Ocean up to the tidewaters of Virginia in 1619, the same stream that overflowed in 1957 into the worship and work of the United Church of Christ is given its long-overdue place in the canon of UCC.
Rev. Delk was featured in an article and the cover of Sojourner’s May-June 1999 issue as one who is anointed by history and by the Spirit and as one who has kept her eyes on the world as God intends.
We are proud to be hosting this event at one of our local partner churches, Spring Glen UCC in Hamden, CT!