November 13, 2016

Pete HaackJustice Matters0 Comments

An interfaith network of 23 faith groups working for justice in Lawrence and Douglas County

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Justice Matters!

Justice Matters was officially established as a non-profit interfaith justice network on November 10, 2014. We are well into our third season. The listening part of ‘sacred conversations’ began with nearly 80 house meetings throughout Lawrence during September and October.

Nine priorities surfaced during those small group discussions: crime & violence; education; health care; wasteful tax spending; racism; elderly; drugs and addition; environment; economic justice. During several days prior to the November 2 Community Problems Assembly all network members had the opportunity to narrow the 9 topics to 3 by on-line or phone poll. At the gathering of nearly 350 network members and guests on November 2, the three choices were economic justice, health care and racism and with 229 votes cast (only registered network members were allowed a vote) the majority selected racism as the new issue to address.

Now, the discussion part of the ‘sacred conversation’ begins. Nearly half of all registered network members of St. John Parish have indicated an interest in participating in one or more of the research groups. This is where people of 23 faith groups study, listen to experts, discuss and share opinions of what part of the issue should be addressed and how best to find a solution to the problem being studied. Training for network members who wish to be part of the discussion will be held on Monday, November 14, at Immanuel Lutheran Church beginning at 6:45 pm. There will be a choice of 5 groups to be part of which includes the 4 issues currently being worked on: mental health crisis center, affordable housing, childhood trauma, jail alternatives and our new issue of racism. Each group sets up a schedule for meeting between Nov 14 and early March.

The next major meetings are the Solutions Briefing on March 14, 2017 when research groups will communicate to the organization their proposed solutions to be presented on March 30 at the Nehemiah Action Assembly.

The Executive Committee elected to serve from now until the next annual Community Problems Assembly: Co-Presidents Rev. Ted Mosher, Good Shepherd Lutheran and Rev. Kathy Williams, First United Methodist; Co-Vice Presidents Rev. Eric Galbreath, Ninth Street Baptist and Rev. Mary Newberg Gale, First Presbyterian; Corresponding Secretary Brent Hoffman, Morning Star; Recording Secretary Judy Lewis, Velocity; Treasurer Rev. Randy Weinkauf, Immanuel Lutheran; At-Large Members Rev. Justin Jenkins, Velocity, Pat Lechtenberg, St. John Catholic and Rev. Verdell Taylor, St. Luke AME.

For more information about Justice Matters please contact Joe Synder (785-550-6421 or or contact Pat Lechtenberg (785-842-1992 or The Justice Matters website is

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