Reparations Commission of the Diocese of New Jersey
Our Reparations ministry was launched with overwhelming support at the 2020 Diocesan Convention. The Taskforce had the full endorsement from Bishop Stokes including his appointment of its members. The Commission’s long-term advocacy was sanctioned with budget support at the March 2022 Convention.
Reparations Commission Members consist of diverse individuals from across the Diocese. An important criterion for membership was that individuals understood racism from an accredited anti-racism training program. Our Co-Chaplains grounded our work and each meeting in unique and relevant scriptures and prayers. Samples of their devotions are here: RTF 06/22/2021 | RTF 01-25-2022. Members of the Commission are listed here:
▸The Rev. Susanna Cates
▸Mr. Willie Coleman
▸The Rev. Joanne Epply-Schmidt (Co-Chaplain)
▸Ms. Clare Gutwein
▸The Rev. Canon Andy Moore
▸The Rev. Canon Francisco Pozo
▸Mr. Joe Rodriguez
▸The Rev. Scott Russell
▸The Rev. Kije Mugisha Rwamasirabo (Co-Chaplain)
▸The Rev. Beth Rauen Sciaino
▸The Rev. Sharon Sutton
▸The Rev. Megan Thomas
▸The Rev. Jack Zamboni
▸Canon Barbie Bach (Co-convener)
▸Canon Annette Buchanan (Co-convener)
▸The Rev. Charles Wynder Jr. (Consultant)
▸The Rt. Rev. William Stokes. (Ex- Officio)
Highlights of our Accomplishments: We organized and strategized around four objectives: 1) Diocesan Education/ Engagement 2) Funding/Finance 3) Research/History and 4) Advocacy.
- Members researched and shared racial history within the towns and congregations of our Diocese. Here is an example of “Enslavement in Somerset County” compiled by the Rev. Beth Rauen Scianio.
- We hosted online webinars with the theme “Journeying towards Reparations”
- We also Invited the Diocese of New York to share their reparation initiatives over the years.
- On the path of continuous learning, a few of the books & articles we read were:
- We are the primary convener for “NJ Faith Allies -Say The Word” – an organization of faith-based and justice leaders whose goal is the passage of Reparations Taskforce bills within the NJ legislature. In pursuit of this goal, we organized rallies with over 50 presenters, amassed over 300 petitions, and held meetings with legislators e.g., Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver.