Office of Government Relations

About us

Office of Government Relations

Mission

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.

Policy Areas

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.

Four pictures in one square, upper left is Office of Government relations picture of Capitol building, upper right is Global partnerships picture of large silver plate of food, lower left is ecumenical interreligious pciture of three people smiling, lower right is episcopal migration ministries picture with girl in red hijab iwth her hands covering her mouth

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.

EDUCATE

Explore EPPN resources to better understand current public policy issues. Learn more about official church policies that support our advocacy positions.

EQUIP

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.

ENGAGE

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.

Staff Bios

REBECCA LINDER BLACHLY
Director

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.

PATRICIA KISARE
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.

RUSHAD THOMAS
Policy Advisor

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.

LINDSEY WARBURTON
Policy Analyst

Ms. Warburton is a lifelong Episcopalian from the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina and has worked as both an intern and the staff assistant with OGR before coming into this role. Prior to coming to our office, 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.

ALAN YARBOROUGH
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.

REBECCA COTTON
Policy and Research Fellow

Ms. Cotton was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. After earning an honors B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan, she spent 2 years working as the youth minister for the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Vail, CO, volunteering with environmental nonprofits and serving on the Eagle County Schools Board of Education. After gaining work experience in public policy and advocacy, Ms. Cotton plans to pursue her master’s degree in public policy to work towards solutions to global-level environmental challenges.

ABIGAEL AJUMA
Policy and Research Intern

Ms. Ajuma was born and raised in Katelenyang’, Kenya. In 2013, she made the multi-thousand mile journey to Alexandria, VA, where she attended Episcopal High School. She then enrolled at St. Lawrence University where she studied government, global studies and Mandarin. Prior to interning with OGR, Ms. Ajuma was the Africa Security Initiative summer intern at Brookings Institution. While at OGR, she hopes to further her interests in public health, human rights and international policy. During her free time, she enjoys running, cooking and reconnecting with friends in Kenya.

KEVIN BRIGGS
Policy and Research Intern

Mr. Briggs is a recent graduate of Occidental College, where he studied politics and urban and environmental policy. Kevin grew up attending the Episcopal Church of St. Martin in his hometown Davis, CA. While in California, Kevin helped organize and served on the leadership team for the Pathways annual youth pilgrimage in the Diocese of Northern California. In 2018, Kevin worked as a field organizer for a congressional campaign in Minnesota. His political interests include criminal justice reform, ending poverty, and urban policy. He is excited to work for The Episcopal Church in the pursuit of justice and appreciates the opportunity to gain experience advocating for policy at the federal level.

Job Opportunities

Spring 2022 Internship Application – Deadline, October 27

OGF offers internship opportunities year-round, typically with three terms: spring (January-May), summer (May-August), and fall (August-December). Each term has a separate application period, so please be alert for when those are open.

Contact:
The Office of Government Relations

eppn@episcopalchurch.org