June 25 - July 3, 2015
Salt Lake City, Utah
General Convention, the Episcopal Church’s bicameral governing body, meets once every three years to set the direction of the church’s mission and ministry, worship and liturgy, policies and budget. Each diocese elects and sends up to four clergy and four lay persons to the House of Deputies--comprising more than 800 members total. The House of Bishops comprises the church’s approximately 300 bishops.
Learn and follow:
#GC78: This is the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Use social media hashtag #GC78.
Multimedia and news: The General Convention Media Hub will stream legislative sessions, daily worship and more here. Sign up for Episcopal News Service's daily e-mails here.
Diocese of Massachusetts blog: Members of the Massachusetts deputation plan to blog from Salt Lake City as their schedules allow. Find and follow the blog at http://diomassatgc.com.
Resolutions and publications: High-profile issues at the General Convention are likely to include proposed changes to the marriage canon; proposals for organizational restructuring; and proposals for socially responsible financial investment and divestment. General Convention resolutions and publications, including the proposed budget, the Report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage and the Report of the Task Force to Reimagine the Church, are available at www.generalconvention.org. The triennial State of the Church report is available via Forward Movement, here.
Election of the next presiding bishop: On Saturday, June 27, the House of Bishops convenes at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark to elect the next presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, with the House of Deputies confirming the election. The four nominees are:
• The Rt. Rev. Thomas E. Breidenthal, Bishop of the Diocese of Southern Ohio;
• The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina;
• The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut; and
• The Rt. Rev. Dabney T. Smith, Bishop of the Diocese of Southwest Florida.
More information about the nominees and videos are available here. Members of the church can submit a question for the nominees; selected questions will be posed to the nominees during a presentation on June 24.
The Society of St. John the Evangelist is offering a social media initiative that invites everyone to add prayers in words and images to the Prayers of the People during the daily services of Holy Eucharist at General Convention. To add a prayer, use the hashtag #prayersof on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Each day, a number of submitted prayers will be incorporated into the spoken liturgy of that day's worship. All prayers will be included on the prayer Web site at http://prayersofthepeople.org. Find more information there as well.
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop
• Serves on the Social Justice and United States Policy Committee
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan
• Serves on the Constitution and Canons Committee
The Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris, Bishop Suffragan (retired)
Byron Rushing, St. John St. James Church, Roxbury
• First lay deputy
• Has been a deputy to General Convention since 1973. Serves as the vice president of the House of Deputies, chairs the Rules of Order Committee and is a member of the Governance and Structure Committee
Fredrica Harris Thompsett, St. Barnabas's Church, Falmouth
• Second lay deputy and co-chair of the Massachusetts deputation
• Serves on the Governance and Structure Committee
"Much of my time will be spent serving on Structure and Governance. Here I will be interested to see and contribute to the conversation not about whether we should change, but rather how much change the General Convention is willing to support and what the pragmatic implications will be."
Samuel J. Gould, St. Stephen's Church, Lynn
• Third lay deputy
• Serves on the Program, Budget and Finance Committee
"Through my work on the Program, Budget, and Finance Committee, I will spend much of my time contemplating revenue and expenses of the church. At a time when we are trying to imagine how the church can organize itself in a way that allows us to most effectively live out the ministry of the Gospel, I'm also clear that talk is cheap. We can have beautiful rhetoric about growth and adaptation, but how we choose to spend our money will more accurately articulate the priorities of this convention. Leading up to Salt Lake it feels particularly important to remember Jesus' teachings in Matthew 6: "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." So as bishops and deputies prepare for General Convention, please pray for all to come not simply to speak the agenda of the church they feel is most pressing, but instead to be open to hearing God in the work that can be done together."
Sarah Neumann, Church of the Redeemer, Lexington
• Fourth lay deputy
• Serves as the assistant secretary of the Social Justice and United States Policy Committee
The Rev. Canon Mally Ewing Lloyd, Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Massachusetts
• First clerical deputy
• Chairs the Program, Budget and Finance Committee, is a member of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop and is a consultant to the House of Deputies Resolution Review Committee
The Rev. Thomas J. Brown, Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester
• Second clerical deputy and co-chair of the Massachusetts deputation
• Serves on the Dispatch of Business Committee
"Let’s pray that the Episcopal Church will leave Salt Lake City with a compelling engagement of God’s mission for our church! I am particularly interested in our commitment to reduce climate change (I would love us to get behind a carbon tax), and how we’ll stand for justice for Palestinians. As a member of Dispatch I’ll be working very early each morning to steer the daily agenda of the House of Deputies, and along with my co-chair, Fredrica Thompsett, finding ways for those of us from the Diocese of Massachusetts to communicate with each other during the convention, and to share real-time information with all of you. Thank you for your confidence in us. Be assured of our prayers for all of you."
The Rev. Jane S. Gould, St. Stephen's Church, Lynn
• Third clerical deputy
• Serves as the vice chair of the Social Justice and United States Policy Committee
“As vice chair of the Committee on Social Justice and United States Policy, I will spend much of my time with resolutions concerning domestic poverty and wealth inequality, mass incarceration and criminal justice reform, police procedures and racial inequities, public education and school partnerships, and gun violence. As I anticipate the gathering of the church in Salt Lake, the 12 th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans speaks to me: ‘…we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.’ Please pray for the deputies and bishops, that we might use our various gifts for the good of God’s kingdom.”
The Rev. Edwin D. Johnson, St. Mary's Church, Dorchester
• Fourth clerical deputy
• Serves as the assistant secretary of the World Mission Committee
William Boyce, Grace Church, New Bedford
• First lay alternate
Julie Shea, St. John's Church, Winthrop
• Second lay alternate
Betsy Ridge Madsen, Church of the Advent, Boston
• Third lay alternate
• Serves as a legislative aide to the Social Justice and International Policy Committee
Michele Griffin-MacGregor, St. Andrew's Church, Framingham
• Fourth lay alternate
The Rev. Holly Antolini, St. James's Church, Cambridge
• First clerical alternate
The Rev. Karen B. Montagno, Director of Congregational Resources and Training, Diocese of Massachusetts
• Second clerical alternate
The Rev. Julie Carson, St. Andrew's Church, Framingham
• Third clerical alternate
The Rev. Canon Connie Ng Lam, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston
• Fourth clerical alternate
Official Youth Presence
Two young people represent each of the Episcopal Church's provinces on the Official Youth Presence, established in 1982. Members of the Official Youth Presence have seat and voice in the House of Deputies and participate in committee hearings and floor debates.
Allegra Robinson, St. John's Church, Franklin
• Representing Province I (the seven New England dioceses) with Anna Foster, Diocese of Maine
Read an interview with Allegra here.
Episcopal Church Women Triennial
The 48th Triennial Meeting of Episcopal Church Women takes place alongside General Convention, June 25-July 2.