At the Magazine this month we’re interested in exploring the Church’s voice in the public sphere. One of the lesser known arms of the Episcopal Church is the Episcopal Public Policy Network, which seeks to influence the public policy debate. We’ve invited Lacy Broemel, a Refugee and Immigration Policy Analyst in the Office of Government Relations to share what kind of work the EPPN is doing.
Are you feeling inspired to speak out for key social justice issues this election season? Are you motivated by your faith to engage in environmental stewardship? Are you stirred by Christian theology to create positive change in your community? Well you’ve come to the right place. Consider joining the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN), a network of advocacy-ready Episcopalians committed to advancing social justice through public policy.
For decades, the EPPN has brought faith-based advocacy to members of Congress in Washington, DC and to local and state-level elected officials. The EPPN is administered by the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations in Washington, DC., an office which is comprised of members of the Presiding Bishop’s staff. These staff handle policy advocacy portfolios centered on key legislative topics (that correspond with General Convention and Executive Council resolutions) including climate change and the environment, racial reconciliation, and refugees and immigration. There are many ways to become involved in the EPPN, and your support is critical to our Church’s advocacy mission.
As Christians, we are committed to ensuring that every member of the Body of Christ can grow into fullness of life. We recognize that advocating for just public policies is one way we can fulfill our baptismal covenant to strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being. We are also called to follow more closely in the life and ways of Jesus Christ by loving our neighbors as ourselves. Members of the EPPN recognize that advocating for just and humane legislation that lifts up all people is a key tool for bringing about the kingdom of heaven on earth and fulfilling our call to love our neighbor as ourselves.
The EPPN advocates for issues that correspond with Executive Council and General Convention resolutions. Staff in the Office of Government Relations work closely with members of the EPPN to empower them to be effective advocates by helping to arrange advocacy visits, provide analysis on key pieces of federal legislation, and equip Episcopalians with resources and toolkits to further augment our legislative advocacy strategy.
EPPN members advocate on a variety of issues. Through domestic policy advocacy, the Office of Government Relations is dedicated to drawing a circle of protection around vulnerable communities and intentionally caring for God’s creation. Specific areas of advocacy include efforts to raise the minimum wage, to repeal mandatory sentencing and support reentry programs, to address climate change at home and around the world, to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to support LGBT nondiscrimination policies, to assert the right of all individuals to health care, and to promote federal nutrition programs that address hunger nationally.
Through international policy, advocates speak out for a variety of programs that support international development, peace, and health. Combatting gender-based violence, advocating for support for the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, supporting federal programs that address food security, and strengthening health efforts around the world are several critical international priorities.
Through immigration and refugee policy advocacy, the Office of Government Relations is committed to supporting legislation that upholds our nation’s collective responsibility to welcome the stranger. Advocacy efforts include supporting a comprehensive refugee resettlement program for those fleeing their countries to escape persecution, oppression, and war, as well as calling for immigration reform that creates a process by which undocumented immigrants can earn lawful permanent residency with a pathway to full citizenship.
All Episcopalians can raise their voice to support these crucial policies, advocating their positions to policymakers through email, calls, and social media. Our online action center makes it easy to make sure that your voice counts.
Together, we can raise our voices to ensure that our nation’s policies respect the dignity of every human being You can join the EPPN by going to our website and entering your contact information. (Sign up here: http://advocacy.episcopalchurch.org/app/register?5&m=29629). You can also learn how to engage in the elections by downloading our free Episcopal Election Engagement Toolkit (http://advocacy.episcopalchurch.org/EpiscopaliansVote)
No matter where you are, you can be an effective advocate. Share your unique and powerful Episcopal perspective through joining the EPPN today.