Layton E. Williams

Audience Engagement Editor

Layton Williams is our Audience Engagement Editor. Her work combines data analysis, creative communications, new media strategy, and relationship building to grow the Sojourners community in both breadth and depth.

She is also a writer, focusing on intersections of faith, justice, politics, and culture with an emphasis on sexuality and gender. In addition to Sojourners, her work has been published by Religion Dispatches, Believe Out Loud, Reconciling Ministries Network, and Presbyterians Today, among others. 

Before moving to D.C. and joining the Sojourners staff, Layton served as the Pastoral Resident at Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago. She grew up in Atlanta, then lived in Austin, Texas, for six years where she served as an AmeriCorps volunteer and nonprofit educator prior to attending seminary. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia and an M.Div from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2014.

Beyond the realms of faith, justice, and writing, Layton’s interests include improv, pop culture trivia, travel, and discovering new passions. Find her on Twitter at @LaytonEWilliams. 

Posts By This Author

Four Transgender Women Were Killed Last Week in the U.S.

by Layton E. Williams 03-02-2017

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that these latest crimes bring the total number of trans women murdered in 2017 to seven. That is a higher number than at this point in 2016, a year that saw trans deaths on the rise: Twenty-seven transgender people were reported murdered in 2016, more than any previous year. 

How Overworked Clergy Culture Undermines A Healthy Theology Of Sacrifice

by Layton E. Williams 03-01-2017
Two priests preside at Ash Wednesday service

We are steeped in a culture that celebrates endless work and the denial of one’s own health. Christian faith leadership demands a counter-witness. Ministry life should reflect a theology of service and commitment both to God and other people, but it should also embody healthy balance and spiritual sustainability for the long work of learning faith and reflecting God’s grace to a world hungry for it.

Where Is Your Jesus When You Ban Refugees?

by Layton E. Williams 01-29-2017

I want to ask: Where is Jesus when you call for a ban and a wall? But the answer is clear. Jesus is with them: the ones we’ve turned away, the ones we allow to suffer out of fear and hate. Jesus is holding the hand of the scared child being detained in an airport backroom. Jesus is breaking bread with our neighbors on the far side of the wall and our siblings seeking refuge across the world. And Jesus is saying to us, “come and follow me.”

What Does the Women's March Mean for the Future of Feminism?

by Layton E. Williams 01-19-2017

This weekend, hundreds of thousands will flood the streets of Washington, D.C., to take part in the Women’s March on Washington, a massive rally that organizers describe as an opportunity to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

The march calls for unity, and indeed, such a public event has the power to shape and energize the future of feminism, at least in the months ahead. But many are asking who that future will serve, and who might be left behind.

Thanks, Obama

by Layton E. Williams 01-13-2017

Image via U.S. Embassy, Jakarta/Flickr

From President Obama, I have learned to be an activist, to fight for change, and to believe that change is possible even on the darkest days. I have learned to cry out against injustice and name the evils in this world for what they are, to speak bold truth about what I believe is right even when it feels dangerous.

3 Things 'Rogue One' Can Teach Us About Resistance in 2017

by Layton E. Williams 01-06-2017

Rogue One meets us where we are. In a divisive time, when prejudice reigns with renewed power and threatens a destructive future, and where unquestionably moral leaders can be hard to come by, those of us seeking to faithfully resist injustice would do well to look to Rogue One for what it has to teach us

What 'Momastery' Blogger Glennon and Abby Wambach's Love Means to Me

by Layton E. Williams 11-14-2016

Screenshot via YouTube/TEDxTraverseCity

Last night, scrolling through my Facebook feed, a firecracker of joy exploded across my emotional landscape, briefly pulling me away from the fear, anger, and grief I’ve felt since the presidential election. A queer female friend had shared a post: Christian writer and blogger Glennon Doyle Melton had announced her new relationship with U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach.

Over My Dead Body

by Layton E. Williams 11-11-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Trump has painted a picture of America where walls loom, refugees are banished without a merciful glance, families are torn apart, people of color are killed more frequently and with even less consequence, and the suffering are left to suffer all alone. I find myself praying for a presidency that is only bad rather than catastrophic. And I find myself resolved with a new certainty to never let the vision Trump has painted come true. 

Standing Rock Check-Ins and the Value of Virtual Activism

by Layton E. Williams 11-01-2016

Sometime over the weekend, I noticed a few friends unexpectedly “check-in” to Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, N.D., on Facebook. Given the recent rise in tensions between police and the water protectors protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, it made sense to me that some of my pastor-friends would go be a part of the protests.

60 Years After Women's Ordination, an Ongoing Fight to Be Taken Seriously

by Layton E. Williams 10-24-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Still, it’s rarely easy being a woman and a minister. We lean on one another, finding community in person and online in dedicated groups such as The Young Clergy Women Project and Rev Gal Blog Pals. And, occasionally, we rely on the cathartic release of a snarky internet meme, shared among fellow “Reverend Nasty Women.”

We keep at it, decade after decade, because God continues to call us to bring our stories, our gifts, and our whole selves to serve the church. And if progress is slow, it is nevertheless making a difference.

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