NEW JERSEY – On November 12, NJ Sharing Network kicked off National Donor Sabbath weekend with an interactive Donation and Faith Panel Discussion that brought together faith leaders from throughout New Jersey to discuss why most major religions in the United States support organ and tissue donation as an unselfish act of charity. A recording of the panel discussion can be viewed on NJ Sharing Network’s Facebook page or at Some of the key messages from the panelists included:

  • Rev. Dr. Vanessa M. Brown, Rivers of Living Water Ministries UCC of Newark – “Life is one of the greatest gifts that you can give, and it is a gift that can be shared. It is part of us doing good in this world by saving lives.”
  • Rev. Dr. Marilyn M. Harris, First Baptist Church of Teaneck – “We share information with our community about organ and tissue donation to show them what love looks like. Many in our faith community have had life-saving transplants and they show others what the gift of life looks like.”
  • Rajesh Karnani, son of a tissue donor and member of the Hindu community – “My father was passionate about his family, his faith and his support for organ and tissue donation. He would often speak with our Hindu religious leaders to discuss the virtues of organ donation, and they recognized it as the best gift anyone could give to another person.”
  • Rabbi Ari Lucas, Congregation Agudath Israel (CAI) of Caldwell – “Organ and tissue donation is supported by all major streams of Judaism. Many in our synagogue community have been profoundly affected by the generosity of people who gave and they are the greatest preachers of the importance of this because they are living testaments to the value of organ and tissue donation.”
  • Fr. Edmund Luciano, Parish of the Visitation of New Brunswick, and heart transplant recipient – “The Catholic Church is very much in support of organ and tissue donation. We encourage our families to be aware of this. It is a testament of love for our neighbor.”
  • E. Denise Peoples, Agape Family Worship Center of Rahway and NJ Sharing Network panel moderator, and double-lung transplant recipient – “We are extremely fortunate to have strong partners in our local faith-based communities who support our life-saving mission by discussing organ and tissue donation with their congregations and by sharing their inspirational stories and unique perspectives about donation.”

Pastor Hilton Rawls, Jr. of Greater Grace Church in East Orange, NJ, is a kidney transplant recipient and just one of the many local faith-based leaders who actively support NJ Sharing Network throughout the year.

“One of the basic tenets of faith is giving and receiving,” said Pastor Rawls, Jr. “Whether you are a person of faith or not, love is something with which we all identify. What happens within the walls of NJ Sharing Network can be recognized as love.”

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Observed annually in November, National Donor Sabbath seeks to educate faith-based communities across the country about the critical need for organ and tissue donation, and the vital role faith plays in making the decision to register as a donor. For National Donor Sabbath tools and other resources visit

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