Common Ground#813

Brooklyn Trail: Adaptive Reuse of Sacred Spaces

Featuring Jason Labate, Taylor Aikin, and Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, with Amy Saul-Zerby


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Lawyer Jason Labate and architect Taylor Aikin join Rail Editor-at-Large Donna Schaper for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Amy Saul-Zerby.

In this talk

Jason Labate

Photo of Jason Labate
Jason Labate’s practice areas include real estate and community development, nonprofit formation and governance and real estate and project finance. He also provides legal expertise for the nonprofit Joint Ownership Entity (JOE NYC), for which Jason and the Goldstein Hall team were awarded the NYU Grunin Prize for Law and Social Entrepreneurship. He is a frequent panelist on faith-based and nonprofit issues, presenting at, among other venues, the Manhattan Borough President’s Religious Facilities Task Force. Jason was also a recipient of this year’s NYSCC’s Community Development Award and serves as co-chair of Bricks and Mortals, an association that fosters education and collaboration among faith-based organizations, community stakeholders and real property experts.

Taylor Aikin

Photo of Taylor Aikin
Taylor Aikin is an Associate Partner at MBB Architects, a multidisciplinary architectural firm in Manhattan focused on serving mission-driven institutions. He serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Bricks & Mortals and is serving on the Mayor’s Working Group for Faith-Based Affordable Housing Development, creating policy proposals to support NYC houses of worship through changes to landmarking processes and air rights transfers. Among other large-scale projects, Taylor led the design of the 97,000-square-foot PS 19Q Marino Jeantet School addition in Queens, and the installation of a structural glass enclosure within a 48-foot-high stone arch as part of the renovation of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper

A photo of Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper
Community builder Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper served as Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church from 2006 to 2021. She was formerly at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami and before that at Yale University, and teaches leadership at the Hartford Seminary. As an elder, she is passionately concerned about leaving the next generation well-prepared for all they have to face. She has written over 35 books including Approaching End of Life: A Practical and Spiritual Guide (2015), Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems, Solving Everything (2013), to her most recent book I Heart Francis: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer (2016), among many others. She is an Editor-at-Large at the Rail.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Amy Saul-Zerby reading.

Amy Saul-Zerby

Photo of Amy Saul-Zerby
Amy Saul-Zerby is the author of Paper Flowers, Imaginary Birds, Deep Camouflage, and Choose Your Own Beginning. Her poems have appeared in The Rumpus, The Chicago Review of Books, American Poetry Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. She edits Voicemail Poems.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.