Executive Council looking at shorter General Convention

Reposted with permission from Deputy News

by Jim Naughton


Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, told Executive Council and the Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Arrangements today that the church should continue with plans to hold its 80th General Convention in Baltimore in July, but that the gathering should be smaller in size, shorter in duration and focused exclusively on essential business.

A committee chaired by Bishop Sean Rowe, parliamentarian of the House of Bishops, and Bryan Krislock, parliamentarian of the House of Deputies, has been appointed to work out details that include the exact length of convention—Jennings suggested the gathering might last about four days—which of the more than 200 resolutions currently filed for consideration by the convention will be deemed “essential,” and how that determination will be made.

During the planning and arrangements meeting, which began shortly after the Executive Council meeting ended, Curry suggested holding elections, passing a budget, and considering resolutions that affect how the church functions would be deemed essential. He said it was possible that resolutions of sufficient “social and ethical” importance and urgency might also be considered.

Jennings said legislation required to facilitate the reunification of the Dioceses of Texas and North Texas—should those dioceses move in that direction—would need to be considered, as would recommendations by the Presiding Officers’ Working Group on Truth-Telling, Reckoning and Healing.

To date, roughly 215 resolutions have been filed. While it is not uncommon for a flurry of resolutions to be filed as convention approaches, the current total is far below the 500-600 resolutions typically considered at a convention.

The committee must also advise the presiding officers on whether the church should host events such as the Episcopal Church Women’s Triennial 2022, and whether the convention will be open to exhibitors, vendors and visitors.

In addition to Curry and Jennings the group, to be called the Presiding Officers’ General Convention Design Group, includes Bishop Eugene Sutton of the Diocese of Maryland; Bishop Wendell Gibbs and Deputy Ryan Kusumoto, the chairs of the dispatch of business committees of their respective houses; Kent Anker, the church’s chief legal officer, Mary Kostel and Deputy Sally Johnson, chancellors to Curry and Jennings respectively; Michael Glass, vice chancellor to the House of Deputies, the Rev. Mark Stevenson and Rebecca Wilson, key staff members to Curry and Jennings; Michael Barlowe, executive officer of the General Convention and Fiona Nieman, deputy for convention and meeting planning in the General Convention Office.

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