Carson City First UMC Hosts Legislative Event

February 05, 2009

By the Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats

Senior Pastor
First UMC, Carson City, Nevada


On February 2, the opening day of the Nevada State Legislature, Carson City First United Methodist Church hosted 150 church leaders, elected legislative members, and other advocates - at a legislative event sponsored by RAIN (Religious Alliance in Nevada). RAIN represents Nevada's Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, ELCA Lutherans, and United Methodists.


The church's Methodist Men served breakfast to 120 participants. Following prayer [led by the Rev. Rob Jennings-Teats, at left] and breakfast, keynote speakers - including Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice James Hardesty, Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, and Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford - presented important information regarding issues that the legislature is likely to be confronted with during the upcoming term. Pressing topics of criminal justice reform, the abolition of the death penalty, the need for budget and tax reform, and the need for affordable housing were presented and discussed.


Eight Bishops and Moderators or their representatives were in attendance, marking the first time in Nevada State history that so many heads of the five judicatories have been present at the same event. The Rev. Jerry Smith, Superintendent of the Nevada-Sierra District of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, represented Cal-Nevada Bishop Warner Brown, while the Rev. Candace Landsberry represented Bishop Minerva Carcano from the Desert Southwest Annual Conference. All stood behind Rev. Tom Beck, President of RAIN, as he delivered the invocation for the Nevada State Assembly [left]. The presence of so many religious leaders clearly communicated to the state legislature the concern and interest that people of faith have in the political process.


Many of those in attendance at the legislative event met with their legislators and communicated RAIN's agenda as advocates for social justice in Nevada.


RAIN's stated agenda of priorities for this legislative session include:


1.                  Need for a stable, responsible tax system.

2.                  Adequate funding for programs of social justice.

3.                  Affordable and accessible health care for all.

4.                  Affordable housing.

5.                  A minimum wage that reflects human dignity.

6.                  The abolition of the death penalty.

7.                  Criminal justice reform and prison population reduction.