Written by Anthony Moujaes
As part of an annual day of food, fun and fellowship, the United Church of Christ’s Franklinton Center at Bricks (FCAB) will be honoring one of the church’s pioneers, the Rev. Yvonne Delk, during Franklinton Center Day, Aug. 2, in celebration of her four decades of ministry, and her life-long pursuit of human and civil rights for African Americans, children and the poor.
Franklinton Center’s executive director, Vivian Lucas, and its board of trustees’ chair, John Meyers, like to think of Franklinton Center Day as a moment to celebrate the powerful ways in which God uses the land, space and people to highlight the ministry’s work to provide an extravagant welcome while changing lives in the wider church and local community. It will also be a day to take a moment and recognize Delk’s life and legacy and, according to Lucas, the ways God speaks through her.
"Rev. Delk considers Franklinton Center as the sacred space where women and men of faith helped her affirm her call in ministry and nurtured her to help her see social justice as a life-long calling which includes working in the freedom struggle," Lucas said of the decision to honor Delk. "FCAB is also the place she says the very feet of the enslaved ancestors worked on the land and left their footprints providing a path which she followed to answer God’s call to ordained ministry."
The day-long celebration will be held Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Franklinton Center facility in Whitakers, N.C.
Delk, the featured preacher, was the first African-American female ordained in the UCC 40 years ago in 1974. She grew up in the Southern Conference of the UCC (which includes the state of North Carolina) and claims Franklinton Center as an important part of her spiritual formation.
FCAB, an outreach of UCC Justice and Witness Ministries, is a faith-based conference center that promotes social justice by empowering people through training, education, community development and action.
For the 2014 event honoring Delk's ministry and celebrating the facility's legacy of racial and economic justice, FCAB has extended an invite to 3,000 people. The gathering will also provide opportunities for program updates, community engagement and rejuvenation with food, music, swimming, games, tours and a farmer’s market.
"FCAB exists as the coming together of many important histories including that of the UCC, the communities, and local congregations," Lucas said. "Franklinton Center Day provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the collaborative work that seeks to improve the quality of life for those living in the area where we are located. The day will highlight programs such as the Just Food, Bricks Healthy Lifestyles Project, Immersion, and Literacy programs."
Since 1895, the FCAB has been a leader in providing programming and services to African Americans throughout the southern United States. For decades in the rural South, the center helped break the cycle of poverty for many, providing educational opportunities, leadership development, transformative farming, and economic development programming.
Later this year, Delk will be honored again at Franklinton Center, during the African American Women in Ministry Conference from Oct. 9-11.