The House of Deputies is one of the two Houses of General Convention, the governing body of The Episcopal Church that meets every three years to set the Episcopal Church's mission priorities, budget and policies. The house has equal numbers of clergy and lay deputies, all of whom are elected by the church’s 110 dioceses and one convocation.
Each General Convention, the House of Deputies elects a president and vice president. In 2012, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings was elected president and the Hon. Byron Rushing was elected vice-president. Jennings is the first ordained women to hold the post.
The House of Deputies is the older of General Convention’s two houses by four years. The first session of the first General Convention, held in 1785, consisted only of the House of Deputies. It adopted a constitutional provision establishing a separate House of Bishops, which joined the Convention at its second session in 1789. The bi-cameral nature of the General Convention continues today.
In addition to presiding over the House of Deputies when it is in session, the President of the House of Deputies serves as vice-chair of the Executive Council and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, appoints clergy and lay members to standing committees and commissions and other churchwide bodies, and serves as an ambassador and advocate for work that carries out the resolutions of General Convention.