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

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.

How Can Survivors of Abuse Survive This Election Season?

by Layton E. Williams 10-20-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

And as a survivor, I find that I don’t want to pull away. I don’t want to go back to the world where I silently carry around an explosive secret and nobody ever talks about it.

This is our moment. Ready or not. We have been steeped in rape culture — facing an epidemic of misogynistic violence — for a long, long time. The time has come for our society to reckon with it. And I don’t want us to look away. I don’t want us to be complacent for one second more.

How Big Is Your Beloved Community?

by Layton E. Williams 10-18-2016

Image via Montreat Conference Center.

“Beloved Community” is a term first coined by American philosopher Josiah Royce in the early 20th century, later popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in reference to his goal of communal justice. It has since become a popular phrase in progressive faith circles, emphasizing radical inclusion fully liberated from the prejudices and discriminations of this broken world. Often, churches describe the work of justice as “building the Beloved Community.”

Citing both her Unitarian Universalist tradition and her upbringing as a child of a white Mormon mother and black academic father, Harris-Perry said, “I believe in a God that wants me to ask a lot of questions.” 

On Allyship and Fear of Failure

by Layton E. Williams 10-06-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

The reality of our privilege is that it makes many truths of systemic injustice unclear to us. We fumble around with murky awareness and bump into our own ingrained racism and ignorance. As allies, the question for us is not if we will screw up, but how we will move forward when we inevitably do.

What ‘Harry Potter’ Taught Me About Working for Justice

by Layton E. Williams 08-09-2016

Image via Karen Roe/Flickr

In this new tale, Harry is a little bored, a little uninspired, and a little wistful for the good old days. A decade or so into my own adulthood and a few difficult years into ministry, advocacy, and activism, I have also struggled a bit with the transition from childhood adventure to the mature, painstaking reality of real work of justice.

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