Apr 272021

CTS Honors Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient for 2021

Chicago Theological Seminary Honors Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Robinson Lapp

CHICAGO – APRIL 27, 2021  On May 5, CTS will honor the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. The annual award is an opportunity for the community to gather together and celebrate the achievements of the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. Award winners have demonstrated that they are pillars within their communities and best reflect our message of love and tolerance. This year, we honor CTS alumni, Rev. Robinson Lapp.

Robinson Lapp is a United Church of Christ minister who has spent a lifetime “outside church doors” seeking to confront white privilege, systemic racism, and economic injustices.

“Robb Lapp is the embodiment of the ethos of CTS. His dedication to making ministry real in a world without walls is inspiring. As Robb calls it, street ministry is a passion for meeting the very real needs of everyday people and communities  too often left behind by our fast paced, impersonal world. For many years, his passion has been in the area of developing affordable housing for people and families living on the margins, particularly in gentrifying areas where affordable housing is scarce. Beyond exemplifying the spirit of CTS and our commitment to the world, he has been a strong supporter of the Seminary,” said President Stephen G. Ray.

Rev. Lapp became a Civil Rights Activist in undergrad school before earning his B.D. at Chicago Theological Seminary in 1957. He later became a Trustee of CTS and, with President Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite, managed the reconstruction of Davis and McGiffert Halls which led to the sale of 57th Avenue Property to the University of Chicago and the creation of our new facility. In 2017, sixty years after his first degree, Robb earned an ST/M from CTS.

After ordination, while starting a new church in Colorado, Robb joined Martin Luther King, Jr. for the March on Washington and later worked on witnessing for voter rights with King in Selma. Soon after, he organized and led the Metro Denver Fair Housing Center. Later, in helping create the New Town of The Woodlands in Texas, a HUD Title 10 New Community near Houston, Robb developed their governance, schools, municipal services and health care facilities. After returning to Colorado, he mentored the creation of businesses that provided equal employment opportunities for women. In his mid-60’s, Robb co-organized and is still an active leader of Archway Housing and Services, Inc., a Colorado faith-based Non-Profit that builds low-income housing and provides social assistance for marginalized community members. Archway has completed and operates eleven multi-family projects containing 641 apartments, while its social-service programs include ESL classes, employment counseling, food banks, after-school tutoring and activity programming for children. Along the way, he has been a UCC denominational leader.

Robb has learned over a lifetime that there is an unseen, life-creating force that calls all people to engage in making life work for everyone, regardless of the cost, the doing of which gives one courage and spiritual strength.

Rev. Lapp will be honored at our Weekly Wednesday Reflections on May 5 at 12pm CT. All are welcome.