About us

The Office of Government Relations plays a key role in carrying out the mission of The Episcopal Church by bringing the experiences and values of our faith into decisions about our nation’s public policy.

 

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.

  • 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. 

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.

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.

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, Rushad Thomas brings a passion for the least of these to his work as Policy Advisor working on domestic anti-poverty issues. 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.

JORGE VILLARREAL
Policy and Research Intern

Mr. Villarreal is a native of Somerville, NJ. He is currently a senior at Texas Tech University majoring in Agricultural Communications. He found his spiritual home in the Episcopal Church through Canterbury Episcopal Campus Ministry in the Diocese of Northwest Texas. Prior to working with OGR, he interned in the House of Representatives. He currently attends St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Laurel, MD.

CHRISTIAN OMORUYI
Policy and Research Intern

Mr. Omoruyi is a sophomore at American University, where he is a Global Scholar majoring in International Studies with a regional focus on the European Union. Christian previously interned at the Hudson Institute, where he specialized in transatlantic policy research, and Stand Up Republic, where he focused on democracy reform initiatives and government accountability. As a new Episcopalian who is passionate about forging a nation that lives up to its founding ideals, promoting values-based foreign policy, and advancing human rights and peace around the world, Christian is excited to conduct policy research on the expansive portfolio of domestic and foreign issues that the OGR covers.

Job Opportunities

Office of Government Relations Internship Spring 2021

The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations is seeking TWO interns to provide research, policy, and administrative support during the spring of 2021, approximately from mid-January to mid-May. This remote policy, research, and advocacy internship provides interns with opportunities to learn and practice the skills of policy research and analysis, advocacy, and engagement. While interns will have significant autonomy in their work, the staff works closely with them to provide an enriching experience and access to outside experts and resources; an intern can expect mentoring and training in skills desirable in any policy-based office. The internship will be remote, full time, and will include a stipend. 

The intern will:

  • Support engagement with government officials, in partnership with ecumenical, interfaith and secular coalitions
  • Work with the Episcopal Public Policy Network to recruit, engage, and mobilize Episcopalians around issues of poverty relief, immigration, the environment, international peace and justice, and more
  • Assist in writing and research for weekly action alerts and other online communication outreach
  • Research and track crucial legislative initiatives
  • Attend committee hearings, think tank events, and other events in the Washington, D.C., policy community as needed
  • Administrative tasks as needed

By the end of the program, the intern will have achieved the following outcomes:

  • Learn how staff of the Office of Government Relations and members of the Episcopal Public Policy Network advocate for the positions of The Episcopal Church
  • Gain proficiency in policy research and writing by working with staff on Episcopal Church policy and congressional legislation
  • Achieve a level of comfort with faith-based advocacy through work with staff members on public policy
  • Acquire administrative skills necessary to succeed in any office environment

Applicants, while not required to be Episcopalian, should be committed to representing positively and effectively the policy positions of The Episcopal Church. Additionally, she or he should possess strong research and communication skills, both oral and written.

To apply, please submit your resume, cover letter, and two writing samples to Lindsey Warburton, lwarburton@episcopalchurch.org. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, November 11th.