Rev. Lynice Pinkard, who self identifies as incorrigibly and unapologetically feral, came of age, personally and professionally in the badlands of the HIV/AIDS and crack cocaine epidemics of the 1980s, directing programs that served persons living with HIV/AIDS in community based organizations in San Francisco and in the East Bay. Later, after receiving an MS degree in Counseling Psychology, she turned her attention to the acute traumas associated with community gun violence and sexual assault, developing a program to build the capacity of families and communities to grieve in ways that would deepen their resilience, be restorative for the community as a whole, and begin to build the public will to address the underlying causes of violence. She received numerous commendations for her work to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for citywide Critical Incident Response. Most recently she shifted the context of her healing work from community-based settings to chaplaincy with patients and their families in hospital and hospice settings.
Even amidst intensive community involvement, Rev. Pinkard served several Bay Area churches as pastor. In 1992, she co-founded City of Refuge Community Church. During the early years of her ministry at City of Refuge, Rev. Pinkard obtained Master of Divinity and Master of Arts degrees from the Pacific School of Religion, and was subsequently ordained in the United Church of Christ. She was then called to be the first African American, lesbian, associate and then senior pastor of First Congregational Church of Oakland.
During the last several years of her work as pastor at First Congregational Church, Rev. Pinkard co-founded several ministry-focused, community-based non-profits: Share First Oakland (addressing issues of hunger and structural food insecurity); Urban Sanctuary (building therapeutic collaborations between West Oakland activists and neighborhood residents, e.g., community gardeners and recyclers, artists and restorative justice advocates, marriage equality advocates and formerly incarcerated African American men in West Oakland neighborhoods); and Seminary of the Street (forming and training West Oakland neighborhood residents for faith-based critical justice work).
Her current work is dedicated to using all of her gifts as a singer and writer, teacher and trainer, preacher and prophetic public witness, activist and organizer, chaplain and spiritual director to heal the human spirit and free people from what she calls "empire affective disorder." Day to day, this consists in helping people across traditional divides to build principled coalitions to engage the work of soul retrieval, collective resilience, and the pursuit of structural and systemic justice in the world. She has published numerous essays and articles on a broad range of topics in Tikkun Magazine and other journals and was featured in a recent interview in The Sun Magazine. She is currently preparing to publish a book of selected writings that will be released later this year.