11:00 AM

Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper
Senior Pastor
Judson Memorial Church
New York, NY

SERMON: “Joy Is Different Than Happiness”

Guest Musician:
Madeline Stewart, Oboe

The Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, formerly at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami and before that at Yale University, is Senior Minister for Judson Memorial Church in New York City. She began this post in 2005 and was ordained 40 years in 2014. As an elder, she is passionately concerned about leaving the next generation well prepared for all they have to face.

Schaper’s purpose in life is to provide spiritual nurture for public capacity. She likes to show people what is possible through the magnificence of human community strategically focused and spiritually filled. Her plan at Judson is to be a steward of an extraordinary legacy and to carry the church into the 21st century in terms of organization, vision, resources and courage. Schaper is no stranger to controversy, having led her Miami congregation through an institutional transformation that opened it to gays, Jews, anti-war protests, significant membership growth and fund- and fun-raising on behalf of the poor and outcast. Her 31 published books tell the tale of her interfaith marriage, her pioneer as an ordained woman, her quiet spirituality and noisy activism. One of the first women trained by Saul Alinsky, the founder of community organization strategies, Schaper has focused on issues of political and economic development and interfaith and open rituals which support action for social change.

At Judson she has pioneered work with the New York City New Sanctuary Movement to protect immigrants being detained or deported unjustly as well as making Judson a home for Occupy and Occupy Faith. She has continued Judson’s legacy as a haven for women who insist on the right to choose an abortion and opened the building to countless groups, including Hudson River Clearwater and domestic workers and sex workers organizations, while maintaining its work on harm reduction kits, support for LGBTQ people and especially for homeless gay youth. She has initiated cooperation with New York University, especially through its Spiritual Life Center, and has pioneered multifaith liturgy with the campus ministries at NYU. She has presided over a growing congregation and Sunday school and developed a community ministry program which has had, over seven years, a total of 43 year-long interns who are prepared to do Judson’s brand of public ministry from a parish base. She has also nurtured the arts through Bailout Theater, a site for emerging artists to perform in a cabaret atmosphere, while also bringing free food to the growing numbers who come, and developed the “Gym at Judson,” a workout space for the arts.

In these days when many reduce Christianity to its right-wing version, Judson is an increasingly visible and alive alternative. Judson is an “early” church. It is a post denominational church, with many Jews as members and dually affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist churches. It is a traditional church in the sense that it follows the Jesus of the Bible who privileged the poor and outcast, the sinner and not the saint. Judson is an extraordinary congregation, moving into the new century with a sense that the best is yet to come.

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220th Anniversary Celebration Service

A service of remembrance and celebration in observance of the 220th anniversary of the first service of worship in our first church building on September 11, 1796 was held on September 11, 2016.

Moderator Rev. Alexandra Lusak officiated. Rev. James Miller brought greetings from former moderator Rev. Robert Lamar and spoke about his own term as moderator. Members of the Session read remembrances from former moderators Rev. Donna Elia and Rev. Joseph Shook, passages from scripture and excerpts from the church history authored by Barbara Dudley and Nancy Chase. The Village Voices sang, led by church Music Director Jan Bishop.
Four new members were received into the church during the service. A gala reception followed in Conkling Hall.

Anniversary Service Program

Montage of Anniverary Service Photos by John Eldridge: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1I-yTQSgMxW74vH1hENSS4_2xHXVDh2Ty/view


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