The General Convention of the Episcopal Church
By the Rev. Hailey McKeefry-Delmas
This month, the Episcopal Church will be holding its triennial General Convention in Austin, Texas from Tuesday, July 3 through Friday, July 13. It is my great honor to be a clergy deputy for our our diocesan deputation, which includes 4 lay deputies/4 alternates, 4 clergy deputies/4 alternates and our bishop. As part of this work, I’ll be attending the meetings for the House of Deputies and following legislative committee hearings (Particularly around Care of Creation and environmental legislation, which is my assigned “beat.”)
Since most people have not made it to one of our General Conventions, you may wonder what happens there. This representative body of Episcopalians come from all over the United States, as well as Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and even Europe. This bicameral body is divided into the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. Together, these two bodies consider policies which affect the life of the Episcopal Church and speak to society on behalf of the Episcopal Church.
The focus of this General Convention as articulated by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is Racial Reconciliation, Evangelism and the Care of Creation:
These as well as many other issues will be addressed by resolutions proposed, considered and debated, and a few being passed by both houses.
Some issues are longstanding (such as revision of Book of Common Prayer to ensure that it accurately reflects our theology or marriage equality—you can read a statement by our Deputation here: A Memorial to the 79th General Convention #GC79: Supporting A085: Trial Use of Marriage Liturgies) while others are very timely (such as how we should address the chaos created by the separation of families seeking asylum.) In response, the schedule of the General Convention has been changed so that all may attend a special prayer service on Sunday, July 8 outside the T. Don Hutto Residential Detention Center in Taylor, Texas. I intend to be there. Further, delegates will likely put forth resolutions calling for action on immigration by the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations.
In addition, a Special Task Force on sexual harassment and exploitation within the church is meeting. This 47-woman committee will be proposing resolutions about church discipline and the prevention of misconduct in the life of the church.
In addition to serious business, there will be fun and fellowship as constituency groups (such as Black Episcopalians, Episcopal Church Women, and others) host events.
It’s going to be a busy time, but i’m intending to blog regularly about what I see and hear. You can read my posts here: www.scatteredrevelations.com. Other great resources:
The General Convention Web site: http://www.generalconvention.org/ (you can read all the resolutions here, see worship bulletins and more)
The Episcopal Church GC Media Hub: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/general-convention-2018-media-hub (A great place to get distilled information about what’s going on)
On Twitter? You can follow #gc79
From the UK, Matthew loved US culture from the first time he picked up a Fantastic Four Comic when he was 12.