Visiting Associate Program
In the fall of 1986 the office initiated its Visiting Associate program, under which a qualified applicant (who may wish to do sabbatical or study leave) is invited to work with permanent staff in addressing one or more major public policy issues. Appointments as a Visiting Associate are normally for a minimum of three months and a maximum of one year.
The Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has three major responsibilities:
- to advocate with U.S. policymakers the public policy recommendations of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church;
- to encourage and enable the governing bodies and members of the church to advocate those recommendations; and
- to alert the church to emerging public policy issues not yet addressed by the General Assembly.
Issues addressed by the office include health care, hunger and human needs, environment, economic justice, civil rights, religious liberties, international peacemaking, and U.S. policies in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific.
To fulfill these responsibilities, the office has three issue staff, two project staff, and two support staff persons. They work in interfaith groupings with the staff of other denominational offices and in coalition with other organizations committed to the same policy goals.
The Visiting Associate serves as a member of the Washington Office staff team. Duties of the Associate can include the following:
- Monitoring the policy-making process on selected issues, including attending hearings, securing copies of testimony, etc.
- Participating in strategy-planning meetings of interfaith groups or coalitions working on the assigned issues;
- Calling or visiting members of Congress or their staff and representatives of the executive branch to advocate the recommendations of the General Assembly;
- Preparing analyses of key bills before Congress for distribution to selected leaders across the church;
- Developing and implementing strategies for mobilizing Presbyterians across the country in support of the General Assembly's position;
- Writing articles for the Stewardship of Public Life bulletins and Washington Report to Presbyterians;
- Speaking to church groups visiting Washington.
The Visiting Associate is supervised by the permanent staff person with whom she or he works most closely, and is accountable to the Director of the Office.
Applicants for the position of Visiting Associate should have:
- Commitment to Christian faith;
- Relevant professional experience;
- General agreement with the stance of the General Assembly;
- A familiarity with the issues in the field of assigned work;
- Skills in policy analysis and communication;
- Institutional ties which will facilitate sharing the experience the program provides;
- Endorsement by a Presbyterian Church governing body or entity (e.g., session, presbytery, agency).
Pastors, governing body or agency staff, faculty members, and directors of Christian Education are especially encouraged to apply.
The Washington Office has no funds with which to provide a stipend or living expenses, so applicants must be able to support themselves
(and their families) by other means. The Washington Office will provide office space, support services and suggestions for housing.
How to apply
Applicants should write to the Washington Office — PC(USA), Attention: Catherine Gordon, 100 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 410, Washington, D.C. 20002. You may send a fax to (202) 543-1126 or send an email. Please include the following:
- Resume or curriculum vitae.
- Personal statement indicating why you would like to serve as a Visiting Associate, the issue(s) you would like to work on, and your qualifications for working on these issues.
- The time period for which you would like to serve.
- An endorsement by a Presbyterian governing body or entity.
- One personal reference.
- One professional reference or recommendation by an action coalition.
The Washington Office staff will carefully consider all applications and will notify applicants as soon as possible.