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New Faculty Bring Fresh Perspectives to Doctor of Ministry Program

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Two new faculty members have joined Hartford Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program, bringing new energy and perspectives to the degree directed by Prof. Scott Thumma.

The Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper (rhymes with “copper”) is our new Faculty Associate in Religious Leadership. Formerly at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami and before that at Yale University, she is the Senior Minister for Judson Memorial Church on the corner of Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, New York City.

The Rev. Schaper’s 34 published books tell the tale of her interfaith marriage, her pioneering work as an ordained woman, her quiet spirituality and noisy activism.  Most recently she wrote Prayers for People Who Think They Can’t (Abingdon) and Spiritual Preparation for Death and Dying, (Church Publishing).

She has a D.Min. from Hartford Seminary, an M.Div. from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, an M.A. from University of Chicago Divinity School, and a B.A. from Gettysburg College. Areas of study include leadership development; turn around congregations; start-up congregation; new church starts; fund and energy raising; pastoral theology; public ministry; and parish ministry administration.

The second addition is the Rev. Michael Piazza, who is a consultant for congregational renewal and stewardship with Agile Church Consulting, the Sr. Pastor of the Virginia-Highland Church, and the author of eleven books – most recently, The Vital Vintage Church. For two decades he served as pastoral leader of the Cathedral of Hope UCC as it grew from 200 members to over 4000.

The Rev. Piazza is a D.Min. Candidate at Hartford Seminary, has his M.Div. from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a B.S. from Valdosta State University in Georgia.

His areas of study include congregational renewal; preaching and worship; stewardship and development; leadership development; turn around congregations; social justice and activism; and LGBTQ studies.

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