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.

Training Opportunities

We want to talk about race, racism, and racial justice as a church. We see the need and feel the deep divide in our country and even in some of our communities and congregations. But how do we start? How can we help our church community begin to have conversations about race that are scriptural, educational, helpful? What if we have few or no people of color in our congregation? How do we have healthy conversation around such a charged issue?

Our synod wants to provide rostered ministers, lay ministry professionals, and congregation leaders with training to foster healthy and holy conversation so that congregations have the tools and confidence to deepen discussions and take action. Our workshops address three important aspects of anti-racism work: 1) Talking about Race: Language, vocabulary, people skills, and best practices, 2) History and systemic racism in the United States, and 3) How to begin conversations and action in your congregation or ministry context.

The training will be virtual via ZOOM and will begin at 9:00 AM. Cost is $25.00 per person. Registration closes 1 week prior to the workshop. To register: click on the date below. For more information, please contact Marty Shifflett at 717-652-1852 ext. 115 or mshifflett@lss-elca.org.

Racial Justice Training Opportunities:

  • May 6, 2021 – Click here to register.
  • August 3, 2021 – Click here to register.
  • November 6, 2021 – Click here to register.

Note: Attending one of the synod provided training sessions fulfills the biannual requirement for rostered ministers.

Optional Training Opportunities:

Embodied Nonviolence: Anitracism in Action- This five-week training course will provide students with principled and strategic nonviolence practices for the work of antiracism in their respective contexts. Drawing from a robust theology of social change, scriptural stories of resistance, and luminaries of faith and justice, students will be equipped for lifelong embodied revolution through creative direct action. Each week, students will encounter core themes of nonviolence, resources to support further learning, and exercises to live into solidarity with targeted communities.

Course Logistics: Class meetings will take place via Zoom on Wednesdays from 7:30-9 p.m. Eastern Time from April 14 to May 12. This is a 5-week digital course, with asynchronous and synchronous components. Synchronous learning will include weekly lectures and small group work on Zoom, and instructor office hours which will occur on Google Classroom. Asynchronous learning will be comprised of digital microlectures, to be viewed prior to each course session, posted in Google Classroom and peer discussion. Course materials and discussions located on Google Classroom. (Please note that participants must have a Gmail address in order to connect with the Google Classroom.)  Homework assignments to include: Discussion posts responding to digital microlecture, Reflection on experience of assigned practice, Engagement with classmate(s).

Workshop Cost: $100 per participant. Some scholarships are available. BIPOC and young leaders will be given priority. Please let us know if you’d like to be considered for a scholarship.

Click here for more information and to sign-up now.

Note: This workshop presented by the Racial Justice Institute of Christians for Social Action (CSA), provided by Turning Points LLC, fulfills the biannual requirement for rostered ministers.

Latest Posts

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.

Gayle du PontGale 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.

Pastor Jay Eckman

Elizabeth Peter 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.

ELCA Resources

https://www.elca.org/Resources/Racial-Justice

  • “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.

https://elca.org/Resources/Global-Mission?fbclid=IwAR16Inu6i9VAU1Bzo70rOEk8d7ajIg2UYujX22Y1vGbDnIr3zK5JNpl9SBg

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

https://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Race-Ethnicity-and-Culture

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

https://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Congregations-and-Synods/Ethnic-Specific-and-Multicultural-Ministries/Cross-Cultural-Conversations

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

https://www.womenoftheelca.org/ministry-action/justice/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

https://upstatenysynod.org/racial-justice/ (Empathy activity and Birmingham/MLK activity)

https://www.ntnl.org/ministries/public-witness-team/racism/resources-racism-inequality/ (Level Playing Field activity, sermons, and video section)

https://www.livinglutheran.org/2018/05/graceful-engagement/ (A racial justice activist and an LGBTQIA+ activist talk about intersectionality)

Secular Resources

Implicit Bias 101
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWb4i-ZPE0Q

Implicit Bias and Its Actual Effects
https://youtu.be/QnzkWc4b4mY

Can We Change Implicit Bias by Creating Healthier Community Culture
https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/can-you-change-implicit-bias/2018/05/29/e1d28542-604d-11e8-b656-236c6214ef01_video.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.4443566938eb

Videos to Help Understand Systemic Racism
https://www.raceforward.org/videos/systemic-racism

A Downloadable White Privilege Checklist
http://crc-global.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/white-privilege.pdf

Articles Around How To Be A Supportive Ally
http://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/kivel3.pdf

https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/for-white-allies-in-search-of-a-solution-to-american-racism-when-folks-of-color-are

Commit to anti-racist action
Elca.org/racialjusticepledge

Conversation Roadblocks and How to Surmount Them
https://www.catalyst.org/research/overcoming-conversation-roadblocks-infographic/

The 4 Habits of Inclusive Leadership
https://firstround.com/review/the-managers-guide-to-inclusive-leadership-small-habits-that-make-a-big-impact/

The Anti-Racism Starter Pack: 40 books, films, TED talks, and articles to start conversations
https://parade.com/1046031/breabaker/anti-racist-tv-movies-documentaries-ted-talks-books

A Link Hub of Anti-Racism 101 Resources and Current Action Items:
https://linktr.ee/MeiTomko

Speak Up! How Allies Can Respond to Everyday Bigotry
https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/d6_legacy_files/downloads/publication/
splcspeak_up_handbook_0.pdf