2016 Year in Review
As 2016 comes to a close, I wanted to write a message of thanks for all you have done over the past twelve months. Together, we are able to speak up for the values of the Episcopal Church, and your actions – on issues such as eradicating gender-based violence, promoting food security, and caring for God’s creation – have made a difference. Your engagement reaches the far corners of the globe and builds stronger communities right where you live.
The Episcopal Public Policy Network is made up of committed advocates such as yourselves, who reach out and engage the U.S. government in support of the resolutions of the General Convention, the governing body of the Episcopal Church. Over the past year, Episcopal Public Policy Network members signed petitions, made phone calls to U.S. government officials, and wrote 5,000 messages to Congress. You raised up the voices of Episcopalians and Anglicans and helped the Church to be heard, and we have some notable achievements to look back on.
Over the past year, you asked Senators to vote against “The American Security against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act," a bill that would have halted the resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq. This bill did not pass, and refugees from Syria and Iraq, all of whom have gone through the rigorous refugee resettlement screening process, can make new homes in the U.S.
You voiced support for the bipartisan Global Food Security Act of 2016, which was signed into law in July. This bill promotes food security and provides a significant investment in agriculture to reduce hunger among the most economically vulnerable populations.
You joined with diverse secular and faith-based groups supporting the Standing Rock Sioux in their efforts to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline from threatening their sacred land and water source. Your unity in this cause ultimately led to the Army Corps of Engineers denying the easement for the pipeline to pass under Lake Oahe.
You helped us promote voter participation and voting rights in this year’s election, using the tools of our Election Engagement Toolkit in your parishes, dioceses, and communities.
As the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement, our Christian values are at the heart of all of our work. We believe one way to live out love of neighbor is through working to transform unjust structures to help the least among us. Thank you for all of your efforts to make change.
On a personal note, I want to thank you as well for your warm welcome. In my three months as Director, I have been moved by the commitment, passion, and engagement of Episcopalians who are part of the Episcopal Public Policy Network. We encourage you to share the resources you learn about here and to help us spread the word about the work we are called to do. I invite you to be in touch with us anytime and to share your questions and concerns.
As we look to the year ahead, your voices will be needed more than ever. We will continue to speak up for our values and be the Church’s witness in Washington as we maintain our commitment to uphold the dignity of all people.
Merry Christmas to all!
Rebecca Linder Blachly
Director, Office of Government Relations