- (Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
Judson Memorial Church, located in New York City, has been an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Judson is located in downtown Manhattan and is affiliated with the American Baptist Church and the United Church of Christ. It has a history of social justice work. Current programs and initiatives include immigration, fair trade, gay pride, homelessness, and various peace witnesses at demonstrations.
When the Occupy Wall Street movement began in September, Judson was one of the first churches to openly support and join with protesters. The church works with other denominations in providing multi-faith services on Sunday afternoons.
On Oct. 9, Judson joined with other clergy in carrying a golden calf named Greed around Wall Street. The calf was meant to remind people of the golden calf Aaron and the Israelites built during their time in the desert when Moses went away to collect the 10 Commandments, as well as be an ironic image of the bull located at the center of Wall Street.
Rev. Michael Ellick has appeared on NY1 and PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly as a religious leader who supports the Occupy movement. Ellick, along with Rev. Donna Schaper are the main contacts for the economic justice program at Judson.
Rev. Ellick has said, “Now more than ever, it is the responsibility of all people of faith to have faith in all people and to realize that the great spiritual work of our times is to restore our Democracy and the people’s voice in shaping the American Way.”
Judson joined with Groundswell to develop a petition for leaders of all religious traditions. Leaders of 14 different faiths helped write the statement on the petition, and over 100 clergy leaders have signed on and supported this statement.
The statement reads in part: “So we commit ourselves to the restoration of justice for all in our economy, and compassion in our politics, that together we might behold a revolution of values for all our people.”
After Occupy Wall Street in Downtown Manhattan was torn down on Nov. 15, Judson immediately opened its doors to protesters. It welcomed people who needed a place to stay until the park was reopened and the movement back on its feet.
Rev. Schaper wrote an article entitled “You Can’t Evict the Human Spirit,” her personal response to the movement’s eviction. In it, she comments that the force of the police only made the movement stronger, and that she had found a place to find respite and hope in the midst of the economic crisis.
Given that Rev. Schaper is the senior minister at Judson, it is safe to assume that as long as Occupy is around, Judson will be, too.