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 represents the policy priorities of The Episcopal Church to the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. We aim to shape and 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 a member at Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes in Washington, D.C. 

JACK COBB
Domestic & Environmental Policy Advisor

Prior to joining the Washington office, Mr. Cobb was a Senior Policy Analyst at the Council of State Governments where he led federal and international outreach and member education efforts. Mr. Cobb began his career at the U.S. Department of Commerce, serving in the Economic Development Administration as the Project Officer for the Research and National Technical Assistance program. In recognition of his efforts leading the U.S. Cluster Mapping project, Mr. Cobb was awarded the Department of Commerce’s Silver Medal for Leadership. In his final year of public service, Mr. Cobb was assigned to then Secretary Penny Pritzker’s staff to help launch and manage the Skills for Business program. Mr. Cobb received his B.A. from The University of the South in Sewanee, TN, and a Master’s in Public Policy and Public Administration from Northwestern University. 

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
Immigration & Refugee Policy Advisory

A native of Central Florida, Mr. Thomas brings a passion for the Gospel of Welcome to his new role as OGR’s Immigration and Refugee Policy Advisor. 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 St. Monica and St. James Church on Capitol Hill.

LINDSEY WARBURTON
Staff Assistant

Ms. Warburton is a lifelong Episcopalian from the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina and completed a six-month internship with the office 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 BA in Global Studies with a focus in International Politics and Latin America and a BA 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.

MARTIN HANSKNECHT
Policy and Research Intern

Mr. Hansknecht is a current senior at Kalamazoo College in Michigan where he studies Psychology and German with a minor in the joint field of Anthropology and Sociology. Growing up in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, he is aware of the many intersections between social justice advocacy and religious doctrine. Having spent a year living in Germany and six months studying in Hungary, he is looking forward to working on issues of international policy. Further, he is eager to work on domestic policies such as immigration reform and other human rights projects.

ABIGAIL MORTON
Policy and Research Intern

Ms. Morton was raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She graduated in May 2019 in political science with a concentration in international relations. She is taking a year off before pursuing a master’s degree in environmental policy and economics. In the meantime, she seeks to get hands-on experience in the field of government relations. She is excited to work towards solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, such as conservation of natural resources and climate change.

Job Opportunities

There are currently no openings at this time. Please come back later to see our opportunities for spring internships.