Our Mission:  Toward Racial Justice seeks to actively encourage, empower, and equip members of the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA in and for the faith-based Gospel call to racial justice.

Region 8 of the ELCA’s Racial Justice Training

We are called to be a church that embraces each person and confronts racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, age, gender, familial, sexual orientation, physical, personal and class barriers that can manifest as unjust treatment, inequalities, exclusion, and violence. The ELCA’s Region 8 is committed to equipping leaders to recognize and understand the complexities and implications of racism and racial issues and is offering training in the areas of anti-racism and racial justice for leaders in partnership with synods, congregations, associations, and social service agencies.

Region 8’s Racial Justice Training equips leaders (rostered and lay) to face the challenges of racism in a diverse, complex and changing world by providing tools and resources that foster healthy and holy conversations.  Each workshop addresses these aspects of racism:

1) Talking about Race: language and vocabulary

2) History and systemic racism in the United States, and

3) How to begin conversations and actions in your ministry context.

Each training is offered on Zoom using a combination of instruction and small group conversation.  Facilitators will represent the region to the extent possible, spearheaded by the Reverend Carla Christopher Wilson.  Cost is $25 per person; however, if cost is a barrier, please contact Marty Shifflett at mshifflett@lss-elca.org, or 717-652-1852, ext. 115.

Because we want to make this training as accessible to as many people as possible, if two people from a congregation register, additional participants (beyond 2) from that congregation may attend at no cost.  Those additional participants are required to register by contacting Marty Shifflett.

Region 8 is comprised of the following eight synods: Northwest PA, Southwest PA, Allegheny, Lower Susquehanna, Upper Susquehanna, Delaware/Maryland, Metro DC, and West Virginia/Western Maryland.

Region 8 Racial Justice Training Opportunities:

  • November 7, 2022, 10:00am-3:00pm – Click here to register.

Attending this training fulfills the ELCA churchwide assembly’s directive that rostered ministers participate in racial justice training every two years.

Optional Training Opportunities:

Our Task Force

Dr. Kristen Albert, Ed.D.

About 3 years ago, Kris began a personal journey to unpack and understand her personal relationship with white privilege and implicit bias, and set herself on a path to help other white Americans of European descent to the same, and further, to declare themselves to be anti-racists, not only in self identification, but in determined and focused action. Since then she has developed an online implicit bias training entitled Intro to Power, Privilege, and Leadership for white people who are beginning their own journeys. Kris is an active member of the Lancaster Be the Bridge group, is a member of Lancaster Stands Up, and a member of the Religious Affairs Committee of the Lancaster NAACP. She has developed and facilitates Racial Justice Small Groups for the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Lancaster. And she is currently engaged in a 10-month “Racial Healing and Wellness Coaching Program” to continue to focus her growth, learning, and actions on eradicating racial injustice and creating equity and safety in all spaces within her sphere of influence.   Kris received her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Delaware and is the President and Lead Coach of Turning Points LLC (www.LiveWorkSatisfied.com) . As an Executive, Leadership and Life coach, Kris dedicates her work to helping leaders and teams achieve organizational health, by creating cohesive teams whose visions are clear, and whose collaborations are healthy and functional.   She lives in Lancaster with her husband Doug and is a lifelong Lutheran and a member of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Lancaster, PA.

Jacqueline Smith-Bennett

Vicar Carla ChristopherCarla Christopher Wilson (she/her/hers) studied psychology, education, and writing at Columbia University in the City of New York before pursuing her Master of Divinity at United Lutheran Seminary – Gettysburg and certification as a Pastor Developer/Redeveloper. Carla is currently co-chair of Lower Susquehanna Synod’s Toward Racial Justice Task Force and a congregational coach in the synod’s R3 program. Before entering ministry, Carla spent years as an educator and case manager in domestic violence shelters, state prison systems, and school districts then worked professionally as a community activist and diversity educator / cultural competancy trainer. A former Poet Laureate of York, Pennsylvania (2011 – 2013), Carla was the 2014 Arts and Cultural Community Liaison for the City of York. She has twice received the key to the city for her community empowerment and education initiatives, which range from founding Equality Fest, a multi-thousand attendee festival in celebration of LGBTQA Marriage Equality, to creating a retailer cultural competency training model for urban renewal business districts. She has been the force behind regional campaigns and community organizing training curriculum for groups like Food and Water Watch, Put People First – PA, the Y.W.C.A. of York County and York County Libraries. She has designed diversity programming for multiple school districts, businesses, and faith communities, and has been a keynote speaker, featured performer and workshop facilitator for dozens of organizations, nonprofits, and educational institutions around the globe, from Rutgers, Penn State, and Northern Arizona University to organizations in Kosovo, Albania, Flint, Chicago, Baltimore, Phoenix and Philadelphia in the last few years alone. A multiply published poet and writer, her diversity work has been highlighted on NPR, in the Boston Globe, and is regularly featured in PennLive. More about her can be found at carlachristopher.com. Carla is available for pulpit supply, Bible study and small group facilitation, and congregational consulting.

Titus ClarkePastor Titus Clarke began his ministry, in Liberia, West Africa where he was born, and lived until 1992; when he came to the United States as a result of the Liberian Civil War.  He developed and organized the Peoples’ Community Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baltimore, Maryland in 1992 and served as their pastor for several years.  He currently serves St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in York as Pastor/Redeveloper.

He earned his M.Div. from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and has done coursework in Pastoral Counseling pursuant to a Master of Science degree in Spiritual and Pastoral Care at Loyola University Baltimore, MD.  He has vast training and experience in church and leadership development. For Pastor Clarke, central to congregations’ development/redevelopment, is forming organic and authentic relationships; that change lives, empower people and transform communities.

He is humble, Spirit driven, faithful and passionate about ministry.  Guided by the model of Christ’s Ministry; witnessed to in the Gospel of Luke, Pastor Clarke sees all people as simultaneously saints and sinners, saved and equipped by the grace of God to reflect God’s grace and purpose.  He believes in the giftedness of each human being and seeks to create space for each person to live out their calling.  He firmly maintains that the calling of the church is to proclaim and work toward extending the Kingdom of God.  In this kingdom, swords are beaten into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks; righteousness and justice walk together and each human being is freed to be who God made them to be.

Gale Wenk du Pont is a retired Occupational Therapist who now does volunteer work with organizations whose goals are to protect and empower communities against racism, discrimination, and violence and improve the quality of life for all residents. She received her B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Temple University and a certificate in Occupational Ergonomics, Human Factors Engineering and Job Analysis from the University of Michigan, Department of Industrial Engineering -Center for Ergonomics. She is a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Carlisle and serves as an Assisting Minister, Outreach/Evangelism Liaison, member of the Youth Ministry Outreach and Activity Team, WeCare Immigration Team, and Home Communion Team. Gale leads worship services monthly at Forest Park and Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers. She is the President of the Carlisle Area Religious Council, co-chair of the MLK Commemoration Committee, member of the LSS Towards Racial Justice Task Force, steering committee for Fill-the-Bus/Carlisle4 Kids, steering committee for Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Chaplain Advisory Committee for the Cumberland County Prison and Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and member of the Biddle Mission Park Labyrinth Board. She served on the board of Domestic Violence Service of Cumberland and Perry Counties as Resource Development Chair. She has given numerous presentations on domestic violence and workplace violence.

Jay EckmanPastor Jay Eckman is a graduate of United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, PA. Prior to his call to ministry, he grew up in Lancaster, PA, and has a B.A in Sociology from Millersville University. During college, he worked as a youth director, where he felt a call to congregational ministry. Jay is now in his second year serving with the congregation of Christ Lutheran in Gettysburg, PA. Pursuing his passion for faith formation with youth and young adults, Jay serves on the LSS’s youth ministry team to help plan Alive, Winterfest, and the Leadership Training Camp. With his wife, Rev. Elizabeth Eckman, Jay loves to exercise, travel, and hang out with family and friends. Jay loves to praise God through reading and writing, fellowship, and quality time with God’s people.

Rev. Elizabeth Peter Eckman (she/her) is an Associate Pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Shiremanstown PA. After receiving her B.A in Telecommunications from The Pennsylvania State University, she worked at CBS 21 News as a Production Assistant/News Director before feeling a call to ministry. Never having thought of being a Pastor before, Elizabeth dove into seminary trusting in God’s plans for her, receiving her M.Div from United Lutheran Seminary in 2020. Elizabeth has been a part of three ELCA Youth Gathering Planning Teams (2015, 2018, 2022) and spoke on the main stage in Houston 2018. She is a member of the Lower Susquehanna Synod’s Toward Racial Justice Task force and the planning team for Winterfest. Elizabeth loves singing with her Alumni Choir from Penn State, singing in the kitchen, cooking, cats, and taking lots of naps as well as every Marvel movie made. She loves going on walks and navigating life with spouse Rev. Jay Eckman.

Moses Robson Kavishe

Matthew LenahanThe Rev. Matthew Lenahan is pastor developer of Zion Lutheran, Akron, Peter’s Porch, and directs the Wittel Farm Growing Project. He is currently developing a cooperative mission partnership with St Paul, Lititz as their mission and outreach pastor responsible for starting a house church network. He is passionate about racial and ecological justice. Trained by Faith in Action Network in faith-based community organizing, Lenahan and his congregation are members of POWER Lancaster. He is also trained in anti-racism for congregations, coaching for congregations, and 3DM discipleship. He has served on the LAMPA policy council and is experienced in congregational advocacy. He is available to coach congregations in mission strategy, community engagement around broad social issues, white privilege and systemic racism. He believes white Lutheran congregations have their own work to do to confront racism internally and externally. Matt, an LTSG graduate, was ordained in 2001 and has served congregations in the Lower Susquehanna Synod. Matt is married to Cherie and they have three children: Jonah, Luke, and Elijah. In his “spare time”, Matt loves to bike and play guitar.

Megan R McClintonMegan R. McClinton is a 1996 MAR graduate of LTSG who has served churches in the ELCA since that time and is currently a member of the Deaconess Community of the ELCA/ELCIC and serves as Minister of Music and Education at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in York, Pa. She has been in an interracial marriage for 27 years, with Rev. Brian A. McClinton and they have a 26 year old daughter, Katelyn. Megan grew up in Baltimore City, Maryland where she experienced great diversity both in her public schooling, and her faith life. She has co-lead a support group for people in interracial relationships and currently is leading a Bible Study Forum on Institutionalize Racism at Mt. Zion, where they have discussed a variety of topics including, but not limited to history, definitions, current statistics, interracial relationships, marginality, and Christian love of ALL neighbors. Megan is available to lead introductory anti-racism workshops, Bible Studies on introductory, intermediate and advanced levels, and Level 2 workshops on White Fragility and the History of White Co-opted Christianity in the U.S.

Stacy SchroederStacy Schroeder is a lifelong Lutheran who has served in various volunteer and professional capacities in the church, including as a youth and Christian education director and as director of Camp Nawakwa. She is co-author of Nawakwa: 75 Years at the Camp in the Woods and editor of Anastasis, a quarterly magazine produced by her congregation, St Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church, New Kingstown. Stacy recently stepped down from a decade-long leadership of a national nonprofit supporting Korean-born adoptees and their families whose annual conference discusses issues of race, privilege, and connection. She also is a founding leader of a local organization celebrating Korean-American culture and community. Stacy sees serving on the Toward Racial Justice team as an opportunity to blend several passions in her life and help to make a difference at a critical time in history.

Tim Seitz-BrownTim Seitz-Brown is husband to Ann, and father of three adult children: CJ, MaryBeth, and Jeremy. An Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pastor since 1987, he has served congregations in Easton, Ephrata, Thomasville and Biglerville in Pennsylvania. From 1999-2000, he served as an ELCA Global Mission volunteer, teaching Bible Knowledge and English at a high school in Tanzania. Before becoming a pastor, Tim was a fish farming extension officer/ US Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica from 1981-83. Currently, he is active as a faith leader in the Pennsylvania Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and March on Harrisburg (a nonpartisan, anti-corruption advocacy nonprofit). He is a member synod council of the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA and is a member Towards Racial Justice Team and an experienced speaker and trainer in areas of public witness, advocacy, the historical roots of white privilege and racism.

Pastor Beth Martini is an assistant to the bishop in our synod.  She serves as the staff liaison to the Towards Racial Justice task force.  She served as pastor at Christ Lutheran Church, Duncannon, PA from 2012 to 2017.  Her passions include fostering authentic Christian community by connecting people to one another, to God, and to creation.  She lives in Mechanicsburg with her husband, Pastor Alex Martini and her two children.

Many task force members are available to support congregations and agencies through resource referral, pulpit supply or guest speaking, and small group facilitation.

Videos

ELCA Resources

ELCA Racial Justice Resources

  • “God’s Faithfulness on the Journey” A collection of narratives by rostered women of color
  • “One Body, Many Members” A resource designed to equip congregations to reach out and fully welcome individuals whose race, culture and class is different than their own.
  • “Troubling the Waters for Healing the Church” A resource for white congregation members on white privilege and the history of an exclusive church.
  • “Now Is The Time” Study Guide for ELCA Declaration to People of African Descent

Global Mission Resources

  • Breaking Down Walls Toolkit
  • Glocals and Worship Faith Formation Resources
  • International Women’s Day Booklet and Bulletin Insert

Race, Ethnicity, and Culture Social Statement

  • Freed in Christ; Race, Ethnicity and Culture (ELCA Social Statement)
  • Freed in Christ Study Guide

Cross Cultural Conversations

  • Talking Together as Christians Cross-culturally: A Field Guide
  • Talking Together as Christians about Tough Social Issues

Women of the ELCA Racial Justice Advocacy

  • Historical Timeline on Race Relations
  • Listening to the Third Slave; A Bible Study
  • How to Have Helpful Conversations About Race in the Church

Upstate NY Synod Racial Justice Resources (Empathy activity and Birmingham/MLK activity)

NTNL Synod Racial Justice Resources (Level Playing Field activity, sermons, and video section)

Living Lutheran: Graceful Engagement (A racial justice activist and an LGBTQIA+ activist talk about intersectionality)

Using a Racial Equity Scorecard for Policy and Programs | Bread for the World

Racial Wealth Gap Learning Simulation | Bread for the World

Lament and Hope: A Free Year-Long Devotional Reflecting on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and It’s Effects – Flipbook

Dialogues On Race

Gather Bible Study Summer 2021

Speaking from the Heart: Embodied Blessing and Healing | Day of Lament Against anti-Asian Racism

ELCA Racial Justice

Resource Bank for Racial Justice from The Stevenson School for Ministry

ELCA issues declaration to American Indian and Alaska Native people