D071 Establish State Policy Networks

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention to be faithful in living into the Jesus Movement establish State Episcopal Public Policy Networks to create, equip and mobilize networks of Episcopalians in states to address the issues of social justice including but not limited to civil rights, racial reconciliation, environmental stewardship, alleviation of hunger and poverty; and be it further

Resolved, That the work of these state networks be formed and managed through the Office of Government Relations of The Episcopal Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the advocacy of these state networks be consistent with resolutions of the General Convention or Executive Council of The Episcopal Church and with the support of the diocesan bishop or bishops in the states they operate; and be it further

Resolved, That the development office of The Episcopal Church be authorized to raise funds for the work of advocacy by State Episcopal Public Policy Networks and the Episcopal Public Policy Network; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $1,000,000 for the implementation of this resolution.

Explanation

The Episcopal Public Policy Network is a network of Episcopalians and others across the country who opt-in to receive e-mail from the Office of Government Relations (OGR) that connects Episcopalians to the members of Congress informs the church of opportunities to advocate at the federal level on matters of interest to The Episcopal Church using the resolutions General Convention and Executive Council to guide and inform the work of OGR. Previous iterations of State Episcopal Policy Networks have existed but were not sustainable due to lack of funding.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)—a full communion partner—has an existing network of State Public Policy Offices (SPPO) operating in 15 states: Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. These offices have a designated point person that coordinates the state-based advocacy on behalf of the ELCA Synod(s) in each state.

Each context of the ELCA’s SPPO network is different. In some cases, the SPPO “director” is an ELCA deployed church-wide staff. Other directors are synod employed staff. In four of the states—WA, OH, TX, and VA—an ecumenical or interfaith organization serves in that role. In the case of the SE Synod, which includes AL, GA, MS, and TN, the director coordinates teams to work on issues. Across these Lutheran networks, the ELCA’s SPPO network leverages billions of public dollars to the needs of poor and hungry people.

Grants, managed by the ELCA’s Advocacy Office in Washington, DC fund these offices and are usually matched by ELCA Synods and donors in each state to keep these offices sustainable. In all cases these SPPOs have local “policy councils” appointed by the bishop(s) to help establish the priorities of each office annually.

This resolution proposes to create an Episcopal branded network similar network to the ELCA.


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