Contact Your Representatives
Many calls to ministry include an element of advocacy, often in the form of contacting your government representatives to share your thoughts and views. No matter what the topic, there are resources you can use and best practices you can follow.
When contacting your representatives, no matter what the feelings, thoughts or opinions initiating the contact, remember to approach the interaction as a civil conversation. A few things to remember:
- Don’t yell at them. Think about the discourses that are most affective when you are a part of them. Are you more apt to listen when the person sharing their thoughts is being respectful or shouting and/or insulting you? If nothing else and no matter what, your representatives are fellow human beings, and it is part of our call to respect their dignity.
- Reference the bill. If you are making contact in regard to a specific piece of legislation, be sure to reference it in your communication. It makes your message that much more clear, and it adds your voice to others discussing that particular topic. Find legislation:
- Legislative bodies do not have to be in session for advocacy (or opinion sharing) to take place.
METHODS OF CONTACT
There are many ways you can contact your representatives. Some prefer to write via email or letter, while others prefer to make a phone call.
Written missives don't have to be lengthy or elaborate. Sometimes short, sweet and to the point is just what is needed. The Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations offers an excellent resource called The Postcard Project to offer guidance when you are writing as an individual or bring many together in a collective voice.
When writing a letter, be sure to state in the opening paragraph your connection with the representative (you are a consituent in their district, etc.) and the issue/legislation about which you are contacting them.
Follow the recommendations for letters above, and be sure to make the subject line of your email clear and inclusive of the matter about which you are writing.
It is a good idea to gather your thoughts about what you want to say before you begin to dial. It is very likely you will be leaving a message rather than having a direct conversation, so take the time to make notes or even write out what you want to say. Practice it before you call and aim for no more than a minute in length; you may not have unlimited time, and it's good to know your message will be heard in full.
SAMPLE TEXT (coming soon)