This Sunday we'd like to welcome Rev. Ophelia Laughlin who will be our guest pastor while Pastor JJ is on vacation

Racial Justice Team

Racial Justice Team - updated 6/11/24

Greetings ART (Anti Racism Team),
I hope you are enjoying these summerlike days.  Just a reminder that there is an Anti-Racism Team meeting on Monday June 17 at 7:00 pm.  I've attached an agenda to this message and hope as many folks can attend as possible.  Zoom link is available upon request - contact Winnie Fatton.

You will see on the agenda that we will be discussing NJ Synod anti-racism resources specifically following through on our goal to update the current list. If you have not sent me a list of resources to add, please have it ready to share on screen at the meeting.

We are still open to adding new anti-racism team members, so feel free to invite others who may be interested.  Email me or text with questions or feedback at 

Be well, be safe,
Your sibling in Christ,
Dianne R Browne, PhD, Chair
NJ Synod ELCA Anti-Racism Team
Transforming White Privilege Facilitator
NJ Synod ELCA Anti-Racism Team
June 17, 2024
  1. Welcome
  2. Prayer
  3. Review NJ Synod website resources
  4. Fall discussion event
  5. Workers’ rights discussions
  6. Next meeting August 12, 19, or another date
  7. Closing prayer


Racial Justice Team updated 2/1/2024

Local Events celebrating Black History Month

February 18, 25 and March 3rd at 5:00PM:  Understanding of White Privilege and White Supremacy Seminar.  Larison's Corner Presbyterian and United Presbyterian are inviting you to a free seminar.  There will be free sandwiches and drinks at 4:30PM. No admission fee. No child care.

PLEASE RSVP BY FEBRUARY 13 AND INDICATE IF YOU PLAN TO JOIN AT 4:30 OR JUST AT 5-7 PM FOR THE SEMINAR SO THEY CAN PLAN ACCORDINGLY.  Please RSVP to 908-788-2722 or  Click here for a flyer with full details.


Saturday, February 24, 2024 at the Stangl Stage at 5:30 PM.   Celebrate and commemorate Black History Month in Hunterdon County with food, music and dance expressions of African American culture and arts. Iby Umondak Ikotidem has kept the Black History Month celebration alive in Hunterdon County for 16 years, and this year we are thrilled to combine her work with that of the NAACP of Hunterdon County, the Flemington Borough Council, and Love Flemington!  Click here for more information.


Dear Institute friend,

Happy New Year! 

As we begin to look ahead to doing social justice in 2024, it’s crucial we continue to look back into New Jersey’s deeply rooted history of slavery and the generations of inequities that followed so we can understand and repair our current injustices.  

In that spirit, on Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m., the New Jersey Reparations Council will hold its third public session, this time hosted by the Faith & Black Resistance Committee.

In order to make it a success, we need you to participate and share your views. 

Each Committee of the New Jersey Reparations Council will hold one public session to inform the public of its findings to date, and, crucially, to hear from people with connections to New Jersey about the Committee’s area of focus. The Committees will then use the public’s views to inform their work and recommendations. 

We invite you and your networks to join us on Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. for the Faith & Black Resistance in New Jersey Committee’s public session.  

We want to hear your thoughts on how the Black Church, other religious institutions, religion, faith and spirituality should be considered in relation to reparative justice for slavery and its aftermath.  

If you’d like to join the session via Zoom and share commentary live on faith and Black resistance in New Jersey, you must register here. We will hear from as many registrants as time allows. Commentary will be limited to three minutes. 

If you’re unsure about what to comment about, we have you covered: the registration form will provide guidance. 

If you prefer to watch the session live but not participate, you can still join via Zoom or watch on our YouTube channel here

If you’d like to submit longer testimony in any form – writing, video, audio, art or other means of expression – whether or not you participate live or watch, you may do so here

Remember: Your feedback is crucial to the Committee’s research and policy recommendations. 

You can learn more about the New Jersey Reparations Council here

As always, we welcome you to donate to our work here

Jean-Pierre Brutus

Senior Counsel, Economic Justice Program

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Racial Justice Team updated 12/21/2023

Join the NJ Synod's Anti Racism Team to watch the film, “American Son” on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

January 15, 2024

Watch the film together via a Netflix watch party beginning at 6:30pm; the discussion will begin at 8:00pm.  

Register here and you will receive further information regarding how to access zoom and the watch party. Please register early! 

If you have questions email Rev. Sara Lilja at

















Racial Justice Team updated 10/30/2023

On Sunday, October 21, 2023, Rev. Erich Kussman from St. Bartholomew’s in Trenton led Education Hour at Living Waters and provided information about Prison Advocacy. He educated us about how we can help those who are incarcerated.  

To download a copy of his handout click here.  

To learn more about bill A5195 that Pastor Erich spoke about regarding releasing families from debt due to the cost of communicating with their loved ones... click here

Writing letters to your representatives can help get this bill passed. Currently, inmates need to make a collect call to speak to their loved ones, which is very expensive for families due to the prison regulations. As one of the participants in the Education Hour noted, "Pastor Erich expanded my understanding about what prison advocacy is all about. I had no idea accepting the charges from a prison call could be so expensive." 


Racial Justice Team updated 03/29/2023

The ELCA Task Force for Studies on Civic Life and Faith has released "A Study Curriculum on Civic Life and Faith."  that includes six sessions and asks how we, as Lutheran Christians, are called to civic engagement, including in the arenas of government and political life? 

 We would like to invite members of the Living Waters’ congregation to participate, offer suggestions for additional topics and perhaps even lead some of these sessions!  Each session comes with prayers, hymn suggestions, Scriptures, a teaching video, group discussion questions, suggested resources, and case studies taken from everyday life. There is a response form after each session for participants to communicate with the task force itself on the material covered. 

The sessions are: 

Session 1: How Is God's Invitation to Discipleship Lived Out in a Democracy?  (Held on March 26, 2023)

Session 2: How Do Christians Address Controversial Civic Issues? (Held on April 2, 2023)

Session 3: What Are Lutheran Views on Civic Life? (To be held on April 30, 2023)

 Follow up on “Bearing False Witness and Fake News” led by Pastor JJ (To be held on April 30, 2023)

Additional sessions are still being organized, but will take place from May forward

Session 4: What Are the Objectives of Democracy in the United States?

Session 5: What's Faith-based Living Got to Do With Civic Life?

Session 6: How Do We Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord in Civic Life?

Participants' feedback is key in helping the task force think as they move into the next phase of drafting a social statement on these important issues. The study response period is open until Oct. 15. 

To download the study and learn more about the task force's work, go to If you have questions, please reach out to 


In 2022, the Anti-Racism Team changed its name to the Racial Justice Team.

In 2021, as part of the NJ Synod’s “Bishop’s Challenge,” Living Waters committed to learn more about how our faith can guide us in dismantling white privilege. Members of the LWLC Racial Justice team participated in the NJ Synod’s Racial Justice, Equity and Inclusion Summits in February and June, 2021 and met in spring and summer, 2021 to plan a series of “Education Hour” events related to the Jehu Jones Mission of the NJ Synod.

The topics that the Social Justice Team covered in 2021 are listed below:

  1. Introduction to the Bishop’s Challenge: The Jehu Jones Mission
  2. Who is Jehu Jones?
  3. Compromise of 1877
  4. Black Wall Street/Tulsa Massacre
  5. GI Bill/Education
  6. The Lutheran Church
  7. Repentance, Reconciliation, Restoration

In 2022, we also discussed:

ELCA's Declaration to People of African Descent. Those who were not able to participate in the Education Hour were encouraged to watch the video

Click here for the link to the Declaration to People of African Descent


The Racial Justice team invites every congregation member to participate in the webinar series, "IMAGINE MORE: Racial Justice Begins with Us," which aims to lay out an action plan towards repairing the harmful impacts of systemic racism as well as educating the public on how remedying racial injustice benefits all New Jersey residents.

The goals of the series are to challenge New Jersey to deliver “Justice for all” by:

  • Defining a clear path and plan for reparations
  • Outlining reparative structures to address structural racism
  • Spotlighting organizations on the ground who are doing the work
  • Identifying entry points for residents to take action in their lives and communities

IMAGINE MORE: Racial Justice Begins with Us brings together one of the largest and most diverse lineups of New Jersey organizations and voices from across the ideological spectrum to develop an action plan for racial justice and reparations. Participants include national thought leaders, philanthropic and community-based organizations, policy advocates, jurists, and local activists who have been directly impacted by injustice.

Through a series of 6 virtual events IMAGINE MORE will work to educate the public on reparations and how remedying racial injustice will create a more stable and prosperous future for all of New Jersey. At each event the speakers will offer strategies for advancing racial justice and repairing the harmful impacts of systemic racism. The events will connect residents with change-making organizations so that they can take action in their own communities. Following each event, participants will receive resources and information to guide them into action for racial justice and reparations.


  1. Eliminating the Racial Wealth Gap and Ending Poverty: February 24, 2022 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
  2. Disrupting the Criminal Justice System March 15, 2022: 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
  3. Achieving Safe and Healthy Homes for All April 26, 2022: 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
  4. Reaching Equity in Education May 17, 2022: 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
  5. Ensuring Health for All June 21, 2022: 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
  6. Building Political Power of the Most Impacted: July 19, 2022 6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.

Led by the Fund for New Jersey, the series has already garnered the support from a number of diverse organizations dedicated to advocating for racial justice, including the Newark-based New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the Newark Community Street TeamFor more information, and to register or watch any of the past webinars, visit:

If you are interested in learning more about the Living Waters Racial Justice team, please reach out to Winnie Fatton or Craig Weinrich through the church office.  All are invited to participate.


2021 (updated 03/06/2021)

JUSTICE: The NJ Synod's Racial Justice, Equity and Inclusion Summit took place on Saturday, February 27 via Zoom.  The next meeting is April 24th from 10-noon.  To stay connected, sign up for Jersey Jottings, a weekly e-newsletter that links to devotions and reflections, congregational mission stories, and upcoming events and activities.

Sign up by clicking here and filling out the form!   
OR  Text  JOTTINGS  to 22828

2021 (updated 01/08/2021)

January 16:  The Anti-Racism Team of the New Jersey Synod invites you to join the conversation that will continue, on Racial Justice, Equity, and Inclusion. Please mark your calendars for Saturday, January 16th, from 10:00 am - noon via Zoom.  To register, go to Racial Justice, Equity and Inclusion in NJ Synod

January 14:  Anti-Racism Team is meeting on Thursday, January 14 to continue our work on the book Dialogues on Race and discuss our goals moving forward.


November 7:  The New Jersey Synod’s Anti-Racism Team is inviting you to participate in A Conversation on Racial Justice, Equity & Inclusion on Saturday, November 7, 2020, from 10:00 am – noon. In this Virtual Summit via Zoom, leaders will have an opportunity to learn about synod anti-racism resources, to share ideas, to ask questions and to be inspired by each other. Register now!

September 29:  Anti-Racism Team Update:  Our team met last week and had special guest Pastor Kimberly Vaughn.  She is the assistant to the Bishop, she is coordinate Anti-racism work between congregations.  She spoke to us about the hard work we are undertaking and provided some resources to look at.  Our team is working on selecting or creating a curriculum to share with the congregation.  Our next meeting is October 13.  Email Craig if you would like an invite.  If you have any questions or would like to talk to one of us regarding thoughts and issues regarding race, please feel free to contact any one of us:  Pastor Bruce Davidson, Doug Gustavson, Chris Kosmac, Tyler Rice, Pastor Scott Schantzenbach, Craig Weinrich.

September 28:  Anti-Racism Team: will meet online at 6:45 pm on Monday, September 28. Anyone that wants to help develop strategies, classes, bible studies, book discussions, or something else to help us as a group and us as individuals learn about how systemic racism pervades our society, and how we as a church can address it, are invited to join us Monday evening. 

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