Office of Government Relations
The Office of Government Relations (OGR) represents the policy priorities of The Episcopal Church to the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. and helps to shape the discussion of political issues throughout the Church. OGR aims to influence policy and legislation on critical issues, highlighting the voices and experiences of Episcopalians and Anglicans globally. All policy positions are based on General Convention and Executive Council resolutions, the legislative and governing bodies of the Church.
Engage with Our Office
Our advocacy becomes stronger with your help. From quick Action Alerts to volunteer opportunities, you can help grow our reach with advocacy and civic engagement efforts across the U.S. Learn more.
Creation Care: As we are called by God to care for creation, The Episcopal Church supports policies that protect the natural resources that sustain all life on Earth. We advocate for policies that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, promote sustainable energy and the safe and just use of natural resources, and support communities impacted by a lack of environmental stewardship.
Racial Reconciliation: Racial reconciliation is a core component of our work, guiding and informing advocacy engagement. The Office challenges long-established policies that perpetuate systemic racism and injustice and strives to change legislation that continues to harm communities of color. The Episcopal Church aims to bring a perspective of transformation to public policy in order to heal communities that have been the most marginalized and discriminated against.
Ending Poverty: We advocate for policies that will eliminate poverty and help people live with dignity, both in the U.S. and internationally. We advocate for federal programs that provide development assistance and humanitarian relief, including education and healthcare initiatives, as well as support for social safety net programs, care for veterans, and other U.S.-focused anti-poverty initiatives.
Migration, Refugees & Immigration: As a Church, we are committed to advocating for policies that respect the dignity and worth of every human being- including protecting asylum, advocating for Dreamers & TPS holders, advocating for alternatives to detention, and urging long-term protections through comprehensive immigration reform. We work to protect the human rights and safety of refugees by supporting the refugee resettlement work of Episcopal Migration Ministries and advocating for robust refugee resettlement policies.
Human Rights & Peacebuilding: The Church supports legislation and policies that protect human rights and prevent atrocities, promote gender justice, and build peace. We partner with non-U.S. Episcopal diocese and provinces throughout the Anglican Communion to work towards justice.
We are one of a group of offices that make up the Ministry Beyond the Episcopal Church team. Through collaboration with the other three offices, building on knowledge, relationships, and skill sets, our advocacy grows richer and more effective.
The Episcopal Public Policy Network
Additionally, the Office of Government Relations works to educate, equip, and engage Episcopalians through the Episcopal Public Policy Network. As a Church, we raise our voices to ensure that U.S. government policies are in line with our values as Episcopalians and Christians.
We engage in advocacy because federal government legislation and policies affect Episcopalians, our brother and sister Anglicans around the world, and the most vulnerable among us. Together, we can help our nation’s legislation and policies to become more just.
We invite you to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @TheEPPN.
Explore EPPN resources to better understand current public policy issues. Learn more about official church policies that support our advocacy positions.
Build relationships with elected and government officials with guidance from the EPPN. Learn how to have the greatest impact on issues that matter to you.
Sign-up for strategically-timed action alerts on critical legislation and policy initiatives at the federal level. Alerts provide instructions for contacting government officials, as well as sample letters or call scripts.
REBECCA LINDER BLACHLY
Prior to taking on this role in September 2016, Ms. Blachly was the Senior Policy Advisor for Africa in the Office of Religion and Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Her previous positions include Acting Chief of the Strategic Communication Division at U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and Research Associate in the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She has conducted fieldwork and research throughout Africa and the Middle East and she has published on civil-military relations and information sharing in complex environments. Ms. Blachly received her B.A. in philosophy from Williams College and her M.Div. from Harvard University, and she is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a member at Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes in Washington, D.C.
Legislative Representative for International Policy
Ms. Kisare serves in this role for both the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Washington Office. In this capacity, she is responsible for policy advocacy on a variety of international issues, including food and hunger, global health, trade, human trafficking, and gender-based violence. Prior to her current position, Ms. Kisare worked for Mennonite Central Committee U.S. and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Ms. Kisare holds a BA in International Studies from Millersville University and a Master’s in International Affairs from Penn State University.
A native of Central Florida, Mr. Thomas brings a passion for the Gospel to his role as OGR’s Policy Advisor covering domestic economic and anti-poverty policies. After working for three years on civic education and historic preservation/interpretation at the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, Rushad made his way to D.C., where he’s worked for a variety of organizations, from a higher education policy nonprofit to a grassroots political action committee. Immediately prior to OGR, Rushad served as a press advisor at the center-left think tank Third Way, where he provided counsel on strategic communication and press operations. Rushad holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida A&M University, a Master’s degree in Government and a Graduate Certificate in Political Management from Regent University, and a Master’s degree in Political Communication from American University. A member of The Episcopal Church since November 2013, Rushad currently attends Grace Church in Alexandria, Va.
Ms. Warburton has worked in various capacities with the Office of Government Relations, assisting and leading the office on both administrative and policy issues, but now primarily focuses on issues relating to immigration, migration, and refugees. Prior to working at OGR, she lived and studied in Lima, Peru, worked in southern Spain teaching English, and worked for St. John’s Episcopal Church, Marion, NC, as their administrative and communications assistant. Lindsey received a B.A. in Global Studies with a focus in International Politics and Latin America and a B.A. Hispanic Literatures and Cultures from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In 2017, she received a Stoudemire award for Excellence in Spanish from the UNC-CH Department of Romance Studies. She is a lifelong Episcopalian from the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina and lives in Washington, DC.
Church Relations Officer
Mr. Yarborough is primarily responsible for the maintenance and growth of the Episcopal Public Policy Network and the resources aimed at educating, equipping, and engaging the church in policy advocacy. Prior to this, he lived and worked in Haiti with the Young Adult Service Corps, spending two years in Cange working in economic development and communication and one year in Cap-Haitien with the St. Barnabas Agriculture Center as a project manager for their revitalization program. He holds a BS in economics from Clemson University in South Carolina and a master’s degree in conflict analysis and resolution from the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University.
Ms. Faria is a life-long Episcopalian and clergy kid from Massachusetts and was previously an intern before beginning this role at OGR. Prior to joining this office, she obtained her B.A. in Global Studies with minors in International Relations and Arts and Communications, while traveling the world with Long Island University Global, studying in Central America, Europe, and Australia. Her experiences abroad developed and curated her passion for the environment, history, international relations, and interreligious relations. In 2021, she attended the UN Conference of Parties (COP26) as a part of the Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s virtual delegation.
Policy and Advocacy Intern
Ms. Cheever is a student at The University of the South, where she studies Politics and Religious Studies. She is involved in community aid and resilience organizing in southeastern Tennessee, and is an active advocate in climate equity spaces. Her political interests center on climate policy and the impact of climate change on marginalized groups. She is grateful for the opportunity to work on policy for The Episcopal Church and the Office of Government Relations.
JOHN DE WITT WALSH
Policy and Advocacy Intern
A proud Wyomingite, Mr. Walsh is the child of two diplomats and was introduced to the workings of government at an early age. He has since returned to The Equality State, where he is studying towards a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Wyoming. Mr. Walsh’s experience working in rural political organizing as well as U.S. diplomatic efforts abroad have shaped his passion for public policy, especially in areas such as education, economic development, health care, and procuring sustainable energy resources. He is eager to work with The Episcopal Church and thankful for the opportunities to learn and work with team on how to realize a more equitable society through policy advocacy.
Policy and Advocacy Intern
Ms. Miner is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri, where she obtained her B.A. in History and Political Science with minors in Religious Studies and Constitutional Democracy. The Episcopal Church and its values have been a constant throughout Rachel’s life. In her academic career, she has found immense interest in the world of political advocacy, public policy, and legal history. She is eager to further her understanding of governmental affairs and of the Episcopal Church during this internship.
There are currently no positions open at this time.
Please visit our Advocacy Internships Page to learn more about our year-round internships.
The Office of Government Relations