Office of Government Relations

Get to Know OGR Week 1: The Basics

October 25, 2018
Office of Government Relations

In case you missed it, here is a review of week 1 of our campaign to Get to Know the Office of Government Relations!

How well do you know the Office of Government Relations and The Episcopal Public Policy Network? We’re kicking off a 5-week campaign to Get to Know OGR, beginning with this welcome video from Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry.

Stay tuned for daily posts as we help you learn about our work through photos, stories, history and graphics. As you learn, let others know about us too! Encourage your friends to follow @TheEPPN on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The more people engaged with #EpiscopalAdvocacy, the more effective we are in shaping U.S. policy and legislation. 

Do you have questions about our work that aren’t answered? Send it to us in a message, tweet, or email Office of Government Relations.

OGR vs. EPPN—are they one & the same? Yes and no. The Office of Government Relations runs The Episcopal Public Policy Network as the grassroots network engaging the church in the ministry of policy advocacy.

All squares are rectangles, all rectangles are not squares. Everything the EPPN puts out is backed by OGR, but everything OGR does is not the EPPN.

Definition: Office of Government Relations. “OGR represents the policy priorities of the Episcopal Church to the U.S. government in Washington, D.C.”

Definition: The Episcopal Public Policy Network. “A grassroots network of Episcopalians dedicated to carrying out the Baptismal Covenant call to ‘strive for justice and peace’ through the active ministry of public policy advocacy.”

The Office of Government Relations brings the resources and experience of the Church and the Anglican Communion to the U.S. government.

Example 1: We’ve hosted many partners in D.C. including the Secretary General of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa & various Episcopal clergy from South Sudan.

Example 2: We collaborate interfaith & ecumenical partners to bring faith leaders from around the country to D.C. to urge members of Congress to appropriate robust funding for anti-poverty programs.

Example 3: We participated upon invitation in a meeting of bishops in Central America to discuss issues of migration in the region and in relation to U.S. policies. 

Ministry Beyond the Episcopal Church: we coordinate with Episcopal Migration Ministries, Global Partnerships of the Episcopal Church and Episcopal Church Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations to engage the world beyond the walls of the church.

Episcopal Migration Ministries plays a vital role resettling refugees in the U.S. Their stories and input adds a richness to our advocacy and showcases the Episcopal Church putting resources behind the work.

Global Partnerships of the Episcopal Church helps maintain international relationships through which we can connect international church leaders with policymakers in the U.S. who work on other parts of the world. They also run the Church’s two missionary programs, the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) and Episcopal Volunteers in Mission. One of our staff, Alan Yarborough, was in YASC in Haiti for 3 years. Applications for 2019 are NOW OPEN.

Episcopal Church Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations engages other faith groups, Christian and non-Christian, to allow us to highlight the role of multiple faiths in addressing the world’s problems and sharing what we’ve learned with decision makers in D.C.

The Episcopal Church and the United Nations is our Church’s bridge to the United Nations where the Episcopal Church has official observer status to participate in diplomatic conversations. We help connect that work to government officials in D.C.

What are the tools in OGR’s Toolbox—what methods are at our disposal to represent the positions of the Church to maximize effectiveness? “But why is there a hammer?” We use the hammer to build new replacement furniture for the office, hang new banners & pictures, & route new wiring with office IT upgrades, because advocacy requires that work too.

#1 OGR tool: YOU. The strength of our advocacy improves with each person participating. We offer tools to educate, equip & engage, but ultimately, it’s you taking action that makes us most effective. Help us grow by getting your friends to sign up for The Episcopal Public Policy Network!

#2 OGR tool: The Episcopal Public Policy Network is itself one tool of the OGR toolbox. This is how we get our materials out to the church. Including but not limited to our email list, social media, virtual presentations and online seminars, and in person appearances and trainings.

#3 OGR tool: Letters and statements. The Episcopal Church and Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry write solo letters and join with other leaders and organizations. Great for direct contact with government officials, relationship building, showing a coordinated force among multiple organizations, and more.

#4 OGR tool: Educational material. Collaborating across the Church staff, OGR works to create videos, topical webinars, curricula, research papers & infographics to make sure we don’t have just any advocates, but informed advocates.

What are the tools in The Episcopal Public Policy Network’s toolbox—what methods are at our disposal for educating, equipping and engaging YOU as top advocates to our U.S. government?

  • Action Alerts: about each week we send out a new call to action to contact your elected officials in the federal government about a particular issue. They’re often strategically timed with activity in Congress and coordination with our coalitions. 
  • Method of communication: email. Once a week we send an email to the network which include Action Alerts, educational information, newsletters, and more. 
  • Method of communication: social media. @TheEPPN is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! Check us out on all three. Go beyond the emails and start conversations and learn more with the additional resources and opportunities that might not make it on the emails.
  • Trainings and workshops. @TheEPPN strives to be present in the church at conferences and big events. Look out for presentations near you. We recently attended: CEEP, UBE, Discipleship Matters, Lansing Lee, Episcopal Communicators, Love God, Love Neighbor, Forma…

Get to Know Rebecca Linder Blachly, Director. Covers: Middle East, anti-corruption, religious freedom. Previous work: Office of Religion & Global Affairs at U.S. State Department, U.S. Department of Defense, Center for Strategic & International Studies. Ms. Blachly conducted fieldwork & research throughout Africa & Middle East, published on civil-military relations & information sharing in complexenvironments. Has a B.A. in philosophy from Williams College & her M.Div. from Harvard U. Term Member at @CFR_org. Why does she this work? “This work allows me to represent a church I love. Every day we build relationships throughout the government & advocate for the values of The Episcopal Church.”

Get to Know Lacy Broemel, Refugee & Immigration Policy Advisor, leading our office on all things related to migration. Previous work: Manager for Communications & Operations in the Office of Government Relations. Ms. Broemel is from Nashville, TN, & graduated with a BA in History & Women & Gender Studies from The University of the South in Sewanee, TN. One of two University of the South graduates in the office. Why does she do this work? “Because our baptismal covenant calls us to strive for justice & peace, & I believe that can best be done through advocacy to shape our federal laws.”

Get to Know Patricia Kisare, International Policy Advisor. Part-time with OGR but full-time covering international advocacy, working both for our office & ELCA Advocacy, focusing on food & hunger, global health, trade, human trafficking & peacebuilding. Ms. Kisare’s previous work: Mennonite Central Committee U.S. & the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. She holds a BA in InternationalStudies from Millersville University & a Master’s in International Affairs from Penn State University. Why she does this work? “I do this work because I believe it is my responsibility as a person of faith & a global citizen to influence policies that affect me & my neighbors. It’s one way I put my faith into action.”

Get to Know Jack Cobb, Domestic & Environmental Policy Advisor. Topics range from the environment to domestic poverty to criminal justice reform & much more. Previous work: Council of State Governments & U.S. Department of Commerce. For his efforts leading the U.S. Cluster Mapping project, Jack was awarded the Dept. of Commerce’s Silver Medal for Leadership. Received his B.A. from The University of the South, & a Master’s in Public Policy & Public Admin from Northwestern. Why does he do this work? “I enjoy the opportunity to address societal issues, such as hunger, by helping develop more permanent policy-based solutions, which complements the local work parishes are doing to address the same issues.”

Get to Know Alan Yarborough, Communications Coordinator & Office Manager. Primarily responsible for the maintenance & growth of @TheEPPN & the resources aimed at educating, equipping & engaging the church in policy advocacy. Previous work: w/ the Young Adult Service Corps, 2 yrs in Cange, Haiti, working in economic dev. & comms, 1 yr in Cap-Haitien w/ the St. Barnabas Agriculture Center as a project manager for their revitalization program. He holds a BS in economics from Clemson. Why he does this work? “Leading our church-facing comms means creating opportunities for folks w/ different opinions to engage in conversation & action on political issues, yet informed by their faith. It’s fun to see people feel hopeful about that engagement.”

Get to Know our Interns! We run a year-round internship program split by fall/spring semesters & summer positions. We open application periods about 3 times a year. Look out for the next opportunity to intern with us! 

Katelyn Kenney: current United Thank Offering Julia Chester Emery Intern placed in our office. Why do you do this work? “I do this work because I believe in lifting up the needs of the most vulnerable & expressing my Episcopalian values in the public sphere.”

Aubrey Hobby: current intern, graduate of Hollins Univ. Why do you do this work? “Because it’s where I can best use my talents to help the most people.”

The Office of Government Relations