Church network to push for social justice

A Lutheran and Episcopal church public-policy network in Nevada is set to push for social justice and other issues at the Legislature and in public forums.

Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy in Nevada (LEAN), forged by the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada and two synods in the state of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has been forming in recent months and kicks off formally March 1, according to the Rev. Mike Patterson. Patterson, the director/advocate based in Sparks, will spend considerable time in Carson City working with legislators.

“The hunger issue is actually one of the main priorities,” he said, though he also talked of several others during an interview about LEAN. That hunger issue is multi-faceted, according to a document on LEAN supplied by Patterson, an Episcopal priest who also has worked for some time with Lutherans.

It said the agency will work on several Nevada matters affecting hunger, among them “wages, welfare, social safety nets and other issues as they present themselves at the Legislature.” It also indicated all issues worked on by the advocate will be tied to social statements of the member denominations after input from congregations “and prayerful discernment by the (agency) board.”

The board is made up of three representatives from Nevada’s Episcopal diocese; three from the Lutheran Grand Canyon Synod, which includes Southern Nevada; and three from the Lutheran Sierra Pacific Synod, which includes Northern Nevada. The board is expected to meet at least four times annually, with more regular gatherings expected during legislative sessions.

LEAN intends to have organizational meetings with member congregations in Reno and Las Vegas, appropriate bishops and legislative leaders. It also expects a series of such congregational sessions for input in December, just weeks before the 2015 Legislature.

Other issues Patterson mentioned include avoiding discriminatory testing in schools that is “geared for English speakers,” continued monitoring of the state’s new anti-sex-trafficking law, registration involving mentally ill people who get guns and social issues of concern to the two church organizations, such as an accountable and restorative criminal justice system.


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