People of faith are called to acts of reconciliation, though reconciliation cannot happen until Lutherans try to repair what has been broken. People who follow Jesus seek reparations as a faith practice as individuals and families respond to the centuries of racist acts committed against our black and brown sisters and brothers in Christ.
In an upcoming online survey, members will be asked to rank Racial Justice Team suggestions to show preference as to where donations from our church toward reparations should go for the coming year. (The dollar amount of such reparations will be dependent entirely on donations from members and friends.) Please prayerfully consider the following options.
The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum
Founded in 2014, the mission of the SSAA Museum in Skillman NJ is to tell the story of the unique culture, experiences, and contributions of the African-American community of the Sourland Mountain Region. The museum founders, Beverly Mills and Elaine Buck, also authored the book If These Stones Could Talk (available in our lending library) and established the Sankofa Collaborative (sankofacollaborative.org) to further educate students throughout America. For more information see: https://www.ssaamuseum.org/.
The Navajo Evangelical Lutheran Mission
The Navajo Evangelical Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, Arizona, near the Four Corners and 50 miles from medical and food services, envisions a future with hozho, the Navajo word for ‘beauty all around.’ The Mission includes a K-6 school, a wellness center, the Hozho Cafe, and House Of Prayer, an ELCA congregation. The cafe serves warm lunch Monday through Friday. Pastor Dale served an internship at the Mission when she was in seminary. For more information, see https://nelm.org.
The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation
The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation is made up of American Indian families from southern New Jersey and the Delmarva Peninsula who remain in their ancestral homeland of 10,000 years after many of their relations were removed. A U.S. government treaty in 1778 promised that if the ‘Delawares' helped their fight against the British, they'd be given statehood, a promise never kept. It took a recent court case to keep the tribe's recognition as an American Indian Tribe by the state of New Jersey. The tribe has headquarters and a tribal store in Bridgeton and tribal grounds, called Cohanzick, in Fairfied Township, including a community center and ceremonial ground where tribal families lived for centuries (from https://nlltribe.com/).
Locust Hill Cemetery/ Assunpink Park Development Project
Through Trenton residents, Locust Hill, the largest colored cemetery of 21 known in Trenton, was rediscovered and is being restored as part of a new Assunpink Park. An East Trenton Collaborative including the 6th Regiment US Colored Troops reenactment group, ISLES ofTrenton, the Trent House, the Historic Society, an environmental group, and others with full support of local residents envision this park to include a museum dedicated to those buried in Locust Hill, a Civil War Veterans Memorial, a lighted pathway from the cemetery to the Assunpink Creek, teen involvement in a minnow pond to restock the creek, soccer fields, an amphitheater, a picnic pavilion and more to revitalize this area of Trenton. See the video presentation by Algernon Ward at https://www.williamtrenthouse.org/videos.html.
Post-Secondary Education Scholarships
Scholarships for college or post-secondary training could be given to low income students of color from Princeton High School, Hightstown, Trenton, or WWP High Schools. These might be designed by local parent groups working for racial equity in their schools such as Princeton Parents for Black Children or African American Parent Support Group in WWP, or local predominantly Black churches such as Live Well in Windsor, Mount Olivet Baptist in Hightstown or one of the AME Churches in Hightstown, Princeton, or Trenton or as part of the United Negro College Fund.
Scholarships for Lutheran Students of Color Preparing for Ministry
As the whitest denomination in America, Lutheran students of color need to know the ELCA and its members welcome their ministry and leadership, partially with financial support. This might be done through predominantly Black New Jersey ELCA congregations such as Redeemer Lutheran in Trenton or by contributing to scholarships set up by nearby seminaries specifically for students of color as they continue their study of theology to become pastors in the future.