Updates from the 80th General Convention in Baltimore
The Deputation from the Diocese of West Texas has arrived safely in Baltimore, Maryland, to participate in the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church at the Baltimore Convention Center. General Convention began this morning and will conclude on July 11. Check in each day at 7:30 p.m. for daily updates from our deputation in Baltimore. They will bring us reports from the floor and share the experience of General Convention with us.
The triennial General Convention has shortened the schedule to four days and has made modifications to the number of attendees and legislative processes to ensure the health and safety of all attendees amid the continued threat of COVID-19.
The Rev. Ripp Hardaway, St. John's, New Braunfels, joined us for our first update to welcome us to Baltimore and give his thoughts on what to expect in the next few days.
The Rev. Irv Cutter, St. Luke's, San Antonio, reports on Day 1 of the 80th General Convention.
Day one of a General Convention is designed to help orient new attendees and allow time for the House of Bishops and The House of Deputies to organize themselves to prepare for the work that is to be completed during our time in Baltimore. Fr. Irv, St. Luke's, San Antonio, is our Clergy Alternate for this convention and gives us a little insight on what his role is and discusses the Consent Calendar and how resolutions move through General Convention.
Fr. Irv shared two resolutions that were of particular note in the House of Deputies today. At the end of the morning session, the House of Deputies considered and passed a resolution from the Deputation from the Diocese of Alabama to honor the lives lost at the shooting at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.
In the afternoon the Racial Justice & Reconciliation Committee put forth resolutions and a presentation on calling us to do the hard and important work of racial reconciliation as we strive for justice and peace among all people and commit ourselves to racial justice and equity. One of the more moving presentations was for the resolution, Telling the Truth about The Episcopal Church's History with Indigenous Boarding Schools. Click here to read all of the resolutions from the Racial Justice & Reconciliation Committee and all other resolutions that were passed today.
The Rev. David Read, St. Helena's, Boerne, reports on Day 2 of the 80th General Convention.
The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies, gave the sermon this morning and left the deputations with words of wisdom as they prepared for a full day of elections and legislative duties. "I want to offer a simple prayer that you, like Matthew, may know what it is to be called into divine service and that you may also know what it is to call others," Rev. Jennings shared in her sermon on Jesus calling Matthew to service.
During General Convention, the House of Deputies is tasked with electing clergy, lay folks, and bishops to several boards and commissions like the board that oversees the pension fund and the Executive Council. The most important election for the house was to elect a new President for the House of Deputies. Julia Ayala Harris, a deputy from the Diocese of Oklahoma, was elected from a field of five candidates on the third ballot.
“I am delighted for Julia, and I wish her every blessing as the new president of the House of Deputies,” said Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. “I have admired her leadership on The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, and I look forward to strong collaboration as we continue serving in the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.”
The Rev. David Read served on the Evangelism & Church Planting Committee and one of their resolutions, Resolution D088 Development of Digital and Evangelism Resources, was adopted with an amendment. This resolution allocated a budget of $150,000 for Forward Movement to create digital resources for evangelism and discipleship in English and all other languages possible that will be available to churches at no cost.
Mary Hayden Manning, St. David's, San Antonio and Wheless Baker, St. John's, Sonora, report on Day 3 of the 80th General Convention.
Mary Hayden Manning is a first-time attendee to the 80th General Convention and was the assistant secretary for the committee for Committees & Commissions. They are in charge of creating continuing reestablishing task forces or standing commissions. She explains that task forces are formed during the General Convention and do their work during the triennium and present their findings at the next convention.
This is Wheless Baker's second General Convention and she shared an update on the approval of the budget and the election of the Vice President for the House of Deputies, Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia. One amendment of note was the passing of Resolution A138 which will allow Committee Meetings and Hearings to be held before the start of General Convention and allow members of the church at large to give testimony and view committee meetings. This was one of the changes made to this year's convention that allowed for a shortened schedule to ensure the health and safety of all attendees amid the continued threat of COVID-19.
The Rev. David Chalk, St. Francis by the Lake, Canyon Lake reports on Day 4 of the 80th General Convention.
Fr. David Chalk, St. Francis by the Lake, Canyon Lake, joins us on the last day of the 80th General Convention! The work of the convention has concluded and our delegation is ending the day early on a much-needed break.
One of the many events canceled to allow for the shortened schedule and health and safety of the attendees at this year's convention was the Triennial Meeting of the Episcopal Church Women. Betty Morris, a parishioner of St. Francis by the Lake, was named the “Most Honored Woman” representing the Diocese of West Texas and was set to be honored at the triennial ECW meetings. Fr. Chalk takes a moment to recognize and share Betty's history of service and all of the good works she does in her community. We congratulate Betty and thank her dedication to helping others in the Diocese of West Texas and all over the world.
Julia Alaya Harris offered this morning's sermon and issued a call for new technology, new thinking, new strategies, and new leadership to lift the church for a new generation to take hold of. Retired president, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings left the House of Deputies with an important message that we need each other and we need to carry with our humility and hospitality as we move into a brand new age.
The Rt. Rev. David Reed, Bishop of West Texas reports on the 80th General Convention.
The Rt. Rev. David Reed joined us from Baltimore to share some final thoughts as the 80th General Convention comes to a close. "You can be incredibly proud and thankful for the West deputation. They have served well and long and hard; they support one another. We've had serious conversations over meals and we've had a lot of laughter as well. We come to serve the church and they have all served Jesus faithfully," Bishop Reed shared.
The very last resolution that was approved by the House of Bishops was the reunion of the Diocese of North Texas and the Diocese of Texas. The Rt. Rev. Rayford High, Jr., who served as provisional Bishop of Ft. Worth during some of the harder times, was acknowledged by the Rt. Rev. Scott Mayer, Bishop of the Diocese of North Texas, in thanksgiving for Bishop High's ministry there. "It was wonderful to end on that note," Rt. Rev. Reed shared.
One emphasis during this convention was racial reconciliation and appropriately a large part of the one million dollar budget that was passed will help fund and support the church's ongoing work. The mind of the house statement calls us to action and gives a biblical and theological framework for working toward reducing our impact on the environment. There were a significant number of resolutions addressed in this session and those that weren't addressed by both houses will be rolled over to the 81st General Convention in Louisville, KY in 2024.
The deputation will have a travel day tomorrow and they are looking forward to being back home!
Click here to watch Julia Ayala Harris, President of the House of Deputies, sermon from July 11.
Click here to watch The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, bishop of the Diocese of Maryland, sermon from July 10
Click here to watch The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings', President of the House of Deputies, sermon from July 9.
Click here to learn more about Julia Ayala Harris.
Click here to learn more about the legislative process of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies.
Click here to watch The Most Rev. Michael Curry's sermon from the morning worship on July 8.
Click here for morning round up from the Office of Public Affairs
Click here to access the GC80 Media Hub for access to livestreams for worship and legislative sessions in both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies for The Episcopal Church’s 80th General Convention as well as other video content such as #GC80 Show.