Message from our Rector

 

From the Rector: General Convention

 

         The triennial General Convention of the Episcopal Church convenes July 5-13 in Austin, Texas.  In this bicameral legislature, all active or retired bishops comprise the House of Bishops, while four laity and four clergy elected from each diocese comprise the House of Deputies.  Representation is not proportional to population--the more than 84,000 members of the Diocese of Haiti are entitled to the same number of Deputies as the 260 members of the Diocese of Micronesia.  General Convention began in 1785 in Philadelphia with the first meeting of the House of Deputies.  (Some deputies enjoy referring to the House of Bishops as "the junior House," as it was not founded until 1789.) 

General Convention is the governing body of our denomination.  Both houses must vote in favor of a measure for it to be adopted by Convention.   A parliamentary feature of the House of Deputies is the "Vote by Orders," which can be requested for particular votes, and which in effect requires a supermajority of both clergy and laity to adopt a measure.   Certain matters, such as changes to the Book of Common Prayer, must be adopted by two successive conventions to take effect.  Like our annual Diocesan Convention, one of the responsibilities of each General Convention is to consider and adopt a budget. 

Numerous resolutions are proposed to each General Convention; some are adopted and some are not.  This year, human sexuality will continue to be prominent, as Convention will consider re-authorizing the services for same-sex marriage, and whether they must be made available in dioceses where the bishop objects.  The Special Committee on Sexual Harassment and Exploitation is bringing dozens of resolutions to respond to issues made visible by the #MeToo Movement, and the House of Bishops will hold a listening session on the effects of sexual harassment, exploitation, and abuse in the church.  There is a proposal to begin the process of revising the current (1979) Prayer Book, and a proposal to deepen our understanding of the current Book instead.  The President of the House of Deputies has always served without salary, but there is a proposal to make that a full-time paid position like the Presiding Bishop. 

News from General Convention will be updated here: https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org, while twice-daily shows will be posted at Convention's media hub: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/general-convention-2018-media-hub.    I invite you to add to our Sunday prayers with your own daily prayers for this important gathering.  

 

Rob Lamborn