Date: Friday, January 31, 1:00 – 6:00 pm; Saturday, February 1, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Instructor: Donna Schaper
This course teaches queer and non-binary theology of sacred sites. It will show what we need the sacred sites for, how endangered they are and how to save them. Establishing an incarnational approach to buildings that neither elevates nor demeans them, it will offer ways to steward them. The course highlight multi-use of sacred spaces as a way to be green, to be neighborly and to establish less distinction between sacralized and desacralized spaces. It argues for hyper-use of open, public spaces in worlds where the privatization of space is rapidly increasing. Students learn how self-governing small institutions are foundational to larger democratic institutions.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church since 2006. She is active in th New York City Sanctuary Movement, Bricks and Mortals (sacred sites and real estate) and with a community ministry program at Judson which trains seminarians in how to do public ministry from a parish base.
Deeply involved in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, she entered the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1969, earning a Master’s Degree in 1971. She was one of the first women ministers in the United Church of Christ in the early 1970s, and was a key figure in the feminist movement within the Church and within campus ministry during the 1970s, when she was first Assistant Pastor of the First Congregational Church of Tucson, AZ, and then Associate Pastor of Tabernacle Church in Philadelphia (also a chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania). She was a key player in Campus Ministry Women, as well as women’s groups within the United Church of Christ. She helped bring the Open and Affirming Movement to the United Church of Christ and the “God is Still Speaking” Movement as well.
For 25 years in ministry she has been one of the best known feminist civil rights and peace advocates in the church. She is one of the most sought-after preachers and speakers in the United Church of Christ. Donna is also one of the most widely published women ministers in the country, especially within the mainline church. Since the late 1980s, she has had 35 books published on everything from becoming 40, to understanding Sabbath, to spiritual rock gardening, to the differences between male and female ministerial styles, to devotional guides to different Christian seasons (Advent, Lenten, and the like), and most recently, from Nation Books, GRASSROOTS GARDENING: RITUALS TO SUSTAIN ACTIVISTS. She writes weekly for the Poughkeepsie Journal (City Mouse, Country Mouse) and for the National Catholic Reporter.