The Reverend Sara Lilja to head statewide faith entity

Hamilton Square, NJ -  Based on the shared values and faith principles of two Protestant denominations, the New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey and the Episcopal Diocese of Newark — which together capture all of the  Lutheran and Episcopal parishes in the State --- today announced the launch of a new advocacy body, the Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy Ministry of New Jersey (LEAMNJ) with the Reverend Sara Lilja, an ordained Lutheran pastor, to serve as the group’s director.

The overarching goal of the new entity, LEAMNJ, is to serve as a powerful public witness of faith through advocacy, representing nearly 80,000 people in 450 parishes in New Jersey, backed by the national Lutheran and Episcopal Churches, reflecting over 8.7 million adherents in the United States. The body will shape and influence public policy in the State of New Jersey and in local communities as it affects and impacts vulnerable populations, social justice issues and other priorities that reflect the common teachings and values of the partner groups.

There is great excitement by all partners for the promise of the combined new entity to have a meaningful impact on policy affecting the concerns of people in our neighborhoods and state. 

“As society has become more bifurcated into seemingly separate worlds of those with means and those without, we come together to forge a strong voice to express the commitments of our faith traditions in advocating for policies leading to a just society,” said the Reverend Lilja. She added, “I’m proud to lead this charge on behalf of our new partnership and to grow the expression of compassion and social justice by means of education and advocacy through congregations throughout the state.”

The new entity builds upon the predecessor body, the Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry (LOGM) of New Jersey, which had been most-recently headed by the Rev. Lilja, as a voice for justice and peace for over 25 years in Trenton and throughout the state, and the long history of activism in pursuit of social justice by the Episcopal dioceses.