By Sheila Freed
Lutheran Engagement and Advocacy in Nevada is pleased to announce it has retained a new Advocate. William (Bill) Ledford will be LEAN’s voice at the Legislature in 2019 as well as the organization’s representative in congregations and the larger church.
Ledford comes from a not-Lutheran background, and therefore provides a fresh perspective on our issues and activities. He is presently a Master of Divinity student at Multnomah University, and did his undergraduate work at Simpson University in Redding, California. Until recently he was the Youth Pastor at Valley View Christian Fellowship in Reno. Before that he was Youth Pastor at Discovery Fellowship Baptist Church, and while an undergraduate he led youth activities at faith organizations in the Redding area.
Ledford is articulate and thoughtful, and brings to the job an ability to form relationships. This skill is central to advocacy. In reviewing his qualifications, the LEAN board asked him to read the ELCA Social Statements, since all LEAN’s advocacy springs from them. His responses overcame any concerns about his conservative evangelical roots. Here are some excerpts from that letter:
“It is not an easy time being a more liberal “socially minded” Christian in the cliché Evangelical environment that I have been in for years. . . . . I have found it impossible to divorce my devotion to the Gospel with my desire to defend the oppressed, the marginalized, and the environment. . . . . While I have not spent any time with a Lutheran church, I have familiarized myself with the Social Statements and find myself refreshed in my agreements with almost all of them. . . . . These issues [social justice] are my life, my faith, my passion. . . . . And it would be my absolute joy to prove this to the organization and, in so doing, make a difference for the Gospel in my state.”
Ledford starts work with LEAN on December first. Two previous Advocates and continuing Board members, Allan Smith and Pr. Mike Patterson, will train him and introduce him to church officials at all levels. In the coming year will find Bill will reach out to congregations throughout Nevada while parishioners share with him their hopes and concerns for the 2019 Legislative Session.
To read the ELCA Social Statements visit https://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements.