SECOND MILE GIVING: LUTHERAN ENGAGEMENT & ADVOCACY IN NEVADA
by Kathye Hamm
Many in the Sierra Pacific Synod have never heard of LEAN, but for several years, advocacy in Nevada has enjoyed the support of congregations all over the Synod through Second Mile Giving. August is the month we are privileged to share what we do.
Lutheran Engagement and Advocacy in Nevada does advocacy at the State Legislature and in congregations so that those who have no voice can be represented. We exist to speak out on contemporary issues from a Lutheran perspective. We are part of a nationwide network of advocacy offices, supported in part by ELCA hunger funds. However we depend on other sources, including Second Mile Giving. We proudly claim a heritage of participation in public life that goes back to Martin Luther, a heritage exemplified by and fostered by our Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton. All of our advocacy and public statements are rooted in the ELCA Social Statements and other church teachings.
Last year LEAN was pleased to have William Ledford join us as our new Director and Advocate. Right now he is leading preparations for ULegislate, an “experiential learning” event at the Nevada Legislature. Bill is also preparing for the next legislative session, which begins in February, 2019. Nevada’s legislature meets only 120 days in alternate years, so the session is always intense. Our agenda addresses hunger and poverty, working to break down the social structures that enable them, as well as working to relieve immediate suffering. Affordable housing is high on LEAN’s agenda for the coming session. Health care, especially mental health, is also a major concern.
Educating parishioners on issues of concern is LEAN’s ongoing mission, whether the Legislature is in session or not. We like the word “engagement” in our name, because we encourage parishioners to learn the facts, analyze the solutions proposed, and then act. One benefit of being a small state is that our “citizen legislators” are very accessible. LEAN encourages direct contact with them by parishioners. Education is carried out through our website, https://leanforjustice.wordpress.com/ and through articles in church newsletters, along with learning opportunities such as ULegislate.
LEAN believes advocacy is especially important in these partisan times, so we invite you to pray for us, and if possible, support us with second Mile Giving through your congregation.
May 14, 2019