General Convention, the governing body of the Episcopal Church, begins its triennial meeting on July 8 in Baltimore, Maryland. Similar to our own Diocesan Convention, where our local congregations are represented by fellow parishioners, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church is a gathering of Bishops and elected representatives (deputies) from each diocese.
Every three years, General Convention’s bicameral legislature–the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops–meets to discuss, vote, and pass resolutions facing the Church. General Convention is the highest temporal authority in the Episcopal Church. For example, General Convention has the ability to amend the Constitution and Canons of the Church, update the prayer book, create official relationships, elect officers and members of the Executive Council of the Church, and more.
Many call attention to the similarity between General Convention’s structure and the United States’ Congressional bodies. It is easy to think of the House of Deputies as similar to the House of Representatives and the House of Bishops as similar to the US Senate, but the similarities are few. Unlike in the United States House of Representatives, each diocese, despite its size, receives the same number of clergy and lay representatives for the House of Deputies, and unlike the United States Senate, all active bishops in every diocese are entitled to participate in the House of Bishops. And the members of the Official Youth Presence also have a seat and voice in the House of Deputies.
This is unique to our church and, in my opinion, one of the most wonderful aspects of the Episcopal Church. This legislative structure helps our church take proactive, productive steps toward bringing the love of Christ to the world. For example, at this year’s meeting, the General Convention will vote on resolutions regarding racial reconciliation, prayer book updates, the national church budget, and more. You can read the resolutions facing General Convention here.
The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego is represented by Ms. Rachel Ambasing, The Rt. Rev. Susan Brown Snook, Ms. Polly Getz, Mr. Butch Glosson, Ms. Jen Jow, The Rev. Canon Gwynn Lynch, The Rev. Colin Mathewson, The Rev. Lilia Mendoza, The Rev. Brenda Sol, Ms. Hanh Tran, and The Rev. Hannah Wilder. Please join in praying for the wise decision-making and visionary leadership of our delegation.
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