After leading Judson Memorial Church firmly into the 21st century, Reverend Donna Schaper, the historic house of worship’s senior minister, has announced she will be retiring at the end of May.
Judson sent out an e-mail with the news on Friday.
“Over the past 15 years, Donna has left an indelible mark on this church,” the message said. “Her focus on public ministry has led Judson to become a home for a wide variety of arts and justice groups across the city.
“She always taught us to remove the barriers that get in the way of true creativity — from both our physical spaces and our minds. She was also integral in the founding of three of Judson’s most successful projects — Community Ministry, New Sanctuary Coalition and Bricks and Mortals. While we will certainly miss Donna’s presence and her pastoral care, her spirit is deeply embedded into the culture of Judson, and her impact will be felt for years to come.”
The New Sanctuary Coalition, which is based at the Washington Square South church, advocates for the rights of immigrants. Judson recently sheltered a group of hunger strikers who called for state government funds for so-called “excluded workers,” undocumented immigrants who did not qualify for federal stimulus checks.
The church said that an announcement about a new Open Access & Innovation Fund will be forthcoming, and that people can give a gift to it “in honor of Donna’s commitment to public ministry and open religious infrastructure at Judson. ”
Judson will hold a weekend of celebrating Schaper’s ministry on May 23 and 24, with a mixture of in-person and virtual events.