Margaret Loehlin Schafer '56, Distinguished Alumna

Margaret Loehlin Schafer '56 is an outstanding example of Woodstock's Distinguished Alumni. Margaret attended Woodstock school as the daughter of missionaries serving the Presbyterian Church in the Punjab. She has been elected to Woodstock's Distinguished Alumni roll for her work in the support of social programmes in her congregation in New York, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and the wider community.

Margaret's Christian faith is the foundation for her largely voluntary work in the fields of education, leadership training, social injustice and fighting racism. She has been awarded an outstanding Service Award from The Black Caucus of the Presbytery of New York for her work in designing "Undoing Racism" workshops for her presbytery. She has received an Outstanding Service Award from the Fordham University Council for her work with the homeless at her Fifth Avenue Church (2003). Margaret also received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the partnership for the Homeless, New York City (2002).

In a First Amendment court case in 2002, Margaret was the primary named litigant against New York City that was tried in the second District Court of Appeals. The city of New York sought to stop ministering of the homeless on the steps of the church. The case was won by the Church. Margaret has also published numerous articles relating to public schools and religion. Her articles include Bible education and the Church's response to the AIDS crisis.

Career highlights for Margaret include National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (1982-90) where Margaret developed expertise in the education for the prevention of the spread of AIDS and in basic adult Literacy. During this time, Margaret developed and co-coordinated support ministries and volunteers of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in programmes emphasising homelessness (1998-2004). In 1991-2006 Margaret worked as an Associate in Education planning and organising education for her 3000-member church. In 2007-2009 Margaret provided courses for students considering going to the seminary at the United Theological College, Bangalore, India.

Margaret has served on many management boards, including as a member of the Board of Directors, Kodai-Woodstock International 1993-2004 and member of the Alumni Council of Woodstock Old Students Association, North America 1990-1994. While President in 1993-94 Margaret attended meetings of the Woodstock School Board in Mussoorie.

Margaret is married to Byron Shafer, PhD and they have three children and three grandchildren. Margaret is described by her friend Margo Curl '67 as 'smart, courageous and gracious'. Woodstock is proud to produce graduates with these wonderful qualities.

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