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Reverend Valerie Brown-Troutt
Associate Pastor
City of Refuge Community Church

Valerie is a skillful and effective pastor, teacher, preacher, womanist theologian and administrator who uses her calling and leadership in both the church and community.  Her specific calling to work in social justice has led her into areas of bridge building between church and the secular community working within and without the traditional systems (both church and government).

Valerie has more than twenty-seven years ministerial service including ministering at Ephesians Church of God in Christ, Love Center Church, The Ark of Love, Inc. Embrace Him Ministries, Inner City Mission Project, The Ark of Refuge, Inc. Allen Temple Baptist Church AIDS Ministry and City of Refuge Community Church UCC.

Valerie's community involvement includes a professional career in public school education in the inner city.  Her twenty-five year tenure at both grade and community college levels include teaching at all grade and ability levels. She effectively performed in various roles including being a state of California Mentor Teacher, writing consultant and specialist for the University of California at Berkeley.

Additionally, she has served on many committees and worked collaboratively at the local, county, state and federal levels to develop curriculum and assessment protocols.
Valerie's quest and concern for social justice thrust her as a young woman, into the heart of Berkeley politics during the 70's.

She served on various boards and committees including CAP, CETA and the Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) to advocate for, monitor and appropriate resources to improve the lives of poor and disenfranchised people. Her commitment and participation at this level of city government was so effective that she was encouraged by those who recognized her leadership abilities to run for Berkeley city council.

Valerie's social justice focus lead to other successful ventures that became strong foundational experiences including working together with the now Honorable Congresswoman Barbara Lee.  They worked together to develop and open Community Health Alliance for Neighborhood Growth and Education (C.H.A.N.G.E. Inc.)  in 1973, the first community based mental health center for African Americans in Berkeley.   After working there for more than five years as an mental health technician III and community mental health education director, Valerie became the executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center and a Fellow of the nationally acclaimed Robert Kennedy Foundation which continued to support her leadership work in the Bay Area.

In the midst of all these activities, to address Valerie’s creative expression, as an entrepreneur, with great culinary skill she successfully operated her own restaurant and catering service for more than five years called Valerie's.

Valerie met and began to work closely with another strong woman pioneer, The Rev. Yvette Flunder who organized and founded The Ark of Love, Inc. while they both served as associate pastors at the Love Center church.  Yvette successfully nurtured Valerie's compassion related to issues surrounding the AIDS epidemic in the early 80's. Valerie began her work by serving on the Board of Directors of The Ark of Love, Inc. the first non-profit organization to provide supportive housing specifically to African American men and that focus on education and prevention within the African American church and clergy.

Valerie shares the life story of the struggle of ordinary black women described by Delores Williams as resisting and rising above forces in society doing what they always do: holding the family and church together; working for the white folks or teaching school; enduring whatever they must so their children can reach for the stars; keeping hope alive in the family and community when money is scarce; (a) contribution of faith, love and hope to the black family, to the church and to the black community in North America.

Valerie has learned to live a life of faith in spite of trouble and injustice. She has discovered the healing and power of love that transcends personal weakness and faults, sexism, racism, classism and homophobia in our society. As a life-long activist, she believes that God has called her to be a power broker for the poor in the pulpit, through political involvement, social activism and the Church.

Valerie is the life partner and wife for twenty-eight years of Rev. Robert J. Troutt, Sr. She is the mother of five children and niece, and the grandmother of six.

She is a resident of Oakland, California, the home of her birth, to parents who came from Oklahoma and Louisiana. She has one sister and two brothers. Valerie was raised in (West) Oakland and attended Oakland Public Schools. She completed her under graduated work at Merritt College Jr. College, the University of California at Berkeley, California State University at Hayward. She holds a BA Degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in English. Her graduate studies include: certification as a mental health technician; writing consultant through the University of California at Berkeley; a State of California Life Teaching Credential and she hold a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from the Graduate Theological Union’s American Baptist Seminary of the West at Berkeley. She received special recognition and scholarship honor from the ABSW faculty and staff for outstanding ministry to the Black Church.

Although she honors, and has affectionately earned and carries the title of Doc Brown-Troutt which has been bestowed upon her by her beloved pastoral colleagues and beloved congregations for more than fifteen years, she is now a candidate for a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) Degree at the San Francisco Theological Seminary.

At the City of Refuge Community Church United Church of Christ she now serves as Associate Pastor, Body Life Director and Christian Education Director. She is the deputy executive director of The Ark of Refuge, Inc.; the C.O.O. of Refuge Ministries Inc. in San Francisco, California.


City of Refuge
1025 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 861-6130
fax: (415) 861-6103
The Ark of Refuge
1025 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 861-6130
fax: (415) 861-6103



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