Our History

From Yesterday to Today

To meet changing needs, Evangelical Lutheran Association for Work of Christian Charity and Benevolence in the State of New Jersey of the early 1900's evolved to become today's Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey.

Our History

Lutheran Social Ministried of NJ - Our History

In late 1903, seven Lutheran pastors met to discuss “Inner Missions” and soon established the “Evangelical Lutheran Association for Work of Christian Charity and Benevolence in the State of New Jersey".

The organization first developed an orphanage and then provided a residence and care for the elderly. These early beginnings served as a foundation for the diversified social ministry organization that grew into today’s Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey (LSMNJ).   Over the years, LSMNJ and it predecessors have served people of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds made vulnerable by their life’s circumstance.

LSMNJ Through the Years


  • The newly formed Lutheran Association first developed Waisenheimat Zum Kinderfreund (Orphans’ Home of the Children’s Friend) in Jersey City. 423 children were cared for during its 42 years of operation.


  • Kinderfreund Old Folks’ Home, also in Jersey City, opened and operated through the economic challenges of the Great Depression and several wars until 1959.


  • The organization adopted a new constitution and a new name⎯The Lutheran Welfare Association of New Jersey⎯and broadened it’s scope of work to serve all of those in need.


  • Through participation in Lutheran Refugee Services with the National Lutheran Council, a Refugee Resettlement Program was developed.
  • The Moorestown (Lutheran) Home was purchased and, following its dedication on June 22, 1947, sixteen residents were admitted the first year.
  • Adoption Services, including birthmother counseling, were added.


  • The Lutheran Home at Jersey City opened.


  • Serving the Jersey shore, the Lutheran Home at Ocean View was dedicated on April 29.


  • The agency became pan-Lutheran, with sponsorship by the American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the Lutheran Church in America.


  • On March 3, The Lutheran Welfare Association of New Jersey changed its name to Lutheran Social Services of New Jersey.
  • Luther Towers, affordable senior apartments in Trenton, accepted tenants.
  • Golden Nugget Thrift Shop opened in Jersey City to sell household items donated by local congregations.


  • Luther Arms, affordable senior apartments, was dedicated in Trenton.
  • Involvement was begun with Share-A-Home in Jersey City, where senior adults lived in an environment of privacy and a sense of community.


  • Involvement began with Muhlenberg Gardens, affordable senior apartments in Jersey City.


  • In Jersey City, the Home for Aged Women became part of the Lutheran Home.


  • Piscataway Community Residence for developmentally disabled women opened.


  • Immigration Counseling Program was initiated cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton.


  • The Lutheran Home for Children opened in Jersey City to provide temporary care for children in crisis.


  • On January 11, Lutheran Social Services became Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey bringing together the social ministry efforts of both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS).


  • Involvement was begun with Wittenburg Manor, affordable senior apartments in Jersey City.


  • Ministry to persons with AIDS began in Trenton.
  • Pleasant Grove Community Residence for developmentally disabled men opened in Long Valley.


  • A Respite Care Program for caregivers of developmentally disabled persons was developed in Mercer County.
  • A Latch Key Program was launched in Trenton.
  • Lutheran Home in Jersey City was closed.
  • Mt. Olive Manor, affordable senior housing in Flanders
  • The Home for Aged Women was renovated to become the St. Paul’s Shelter for Homeless Women and Children in Jersey City.
  • Sayreville Community Residence for developmentally disabled women opened.


  • Runsen House opened, providing affordable senior housing in Runnemede.
  • Mott Centre Street apartments in Trenton opened.


  • Elwood Driver Townhomes, affordable family housing in Trenton, opened.


  • Shelter for Homeless Women and Children/St. Paul’s closed.


  • Circle F Senior Housing in Trenton opened in the renovated Circle F Factory building.
  • Crane’s Mill Continuing Care Retirement Community in West Caldwell opened.
  • Project Home, a transitional housing program for homeless women and their children in Jersey City, was developed.


  • Caring Connection, a program connecting community, congregations and LSMNJ, was created.
  • Lutheran Counseling Services began in Moorestown and Mount Holly and later in Egg Harbor City.
  • Birchwood at Old Bridge, affordable senior housing, opened.
  • Mirota Senior Residence in Readington Township opened.
  • Luther Haven, a group housing program for people with mental illness, opened in Asbury Park.
  • Cadwalader Apartments and West Hanover Street Apartment, both affordable family housing in Trenton, were developed.
  • As the coordinating agency responsible for assessing and enabling the Lutheran Church’s unified disaster response in New Jersey, LSMNJ developed a Disaster Response Program.


  • Stepping Stones Commons, single room housing for those with multiple needs, was opened in Trenton.
  • An Assisted Living Program began at Luther Arms in Trenton
  • Peapack-Gladstone Family Townhomes opened in Peapack.


  • Lutheran Senior Residence at Pennsauken opened.
  • Pleasant Grove Community Residence is transferred to another agency.
  • Subacute unit established at Lutheran Home at Moorestown.
  • Developmental Disabilities Respite Care Program in Mercer County is closed.


  • Golden Nugget Thrift Shop is closed and the building sold.
  • South Plainfield Senior Residence opened.
  • Social Services Coordinators are added to HUD housing properties.


  • Lutheran Home at Ocean View purchased by Hospicomm.
  • Caring Connections/Camden developed as a collaborative program of LSMNJ, the NJ Synod of the ELCA, and Lutheran churches and agencies in Camden.
  • A Community Partnership Program was developed to partner LSMNJ programs with local congregations.


  • Lutheran Care at Moorestown broke ground on the Grace Assisted Living Center.


  • Management of Luther Acres in Vineland ceased.
  • Lutheran Home at Moorestown renamed Lutheran Care at Moorestown to reflect its expanded range of services.


  • LSMNJ Immigration and Refugee Program, in cooperation with Growing Home Co-op and the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, assisted legal refugees and immigrants to become farmer-owners through a unique farm cooperative.
  • Crane’s Mill Continuing Care Retiring Community broke ground on construction of additional independent living units as well as renovation and expansion of the Oaks Health Center.
  • Mt. Olive Manor II, an expansion project of Mt. Olive Manor, opened
  • Lutheran Social Ministries of Camden was purchased for purpose of rehabilitating 89 affordable homes in North Camden.
  • Management of Luther Towers ceased.
  • Satellite office opened in Jersey City providing Adoption and Immigration and Refugee services.


  • Assumed management of New Visions Day Homeless Shelter in Camden.
  • Lutheran Feeding Friends grant program is begun.


  • Lutheran Senior LIFE (a Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) opened next door to the Jersey City Medical Center.


  • No longer functional space at Lutheran Care in Moorestown was renovated to add new assisted living apartments.
  • A complete update of the dining venue at Crane’s Mill addressed the changing expectations of prospective residents.


  • An August ribbon cutting celebrated the opening of a new Burlington office building for back-office staff and central operations.
  • An updated logo and other brand elements were unveiled reflecting LSMNJ’s ongoing growth and response to demographic change.


  • In response to the destruction of SuperStorm Sandy, LSMNJ Lutheran Disaster Recovery applied funds from various grant sources to manage and provide long term recovery support such as: summer camp for children impacted by the storm, coordination of room and board for out-of-area volunteers, assistance to those with unmet needs struggling to recover from the storm.
  • An LSMNJ housing property in Trenton, the Mott Centre Street Apartments, was transferred to a new owner with ties to the local community.
  • Phil Harrington, former LMSNJ board member, became interim president and chief executive officer of LSMNJ following the retirement of President Jerry Nugent.


  • Lutheran Crossings Enhanced Living at Moorestown was made the new name for the former Lutheran Home in Moorestown—most recently called Lutheran Care at Moorestown.  The name and a new logo was registered with the US copyright office per the federal Trademark Act.
  • October 6, Colleen Frankenfield joined LSMNJ as president and chief executive officer of LSMNJ.
  • New Visions Homeless Day Shelter moved to a new location—555B Atlantic Ave., Camden, NJ 08104—adjacent to a non-profit partner organization, Joseph’s House.


  • Property management and care of residents in the Sayreville and Piscataway Community Residences for developmentally disabled adult women was transferred on October 5 to CARINGHouse Projects, Inc.
  • Ownership of the following Trenton properties was transferred to new individuals/organizations with ties to the local community:Circle F Senior Apartments, Stepping Stones Commons, and Cadwalader Apartments.


  • Upon the October 1 purchase of Saint Anne Villa—a private retirement home for the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, LSMNJ opened this 80 bed skilled nursing and 21 bed assisted living facility to the public. Operating as The Villa at Florham Park, this new Morris County resource welcomes both men and women residents requiring assistance with activities of daily living or health care.
  • The service focus of Project Home­—providing transitional housing since 1998 for women and their children impacted by abuse—was shifted in the Fall to better address needs of Jersey City residents, now offering 18 units of affordable housing for low income families or individuals.
  • At year’s end, LSMNJ was selected to manage Sterling Village, an independent senior living residence. Owned by Piscataway Township, this property includes 150 units available for income-eligible individuals 62 years-of-age or older.