HOUSE OF DEPUTIES

Applications are now accepted for high school students who want to participate in the General Convention Official Youth Presence (GCOYP) at the Episcopal Church 79th General Convention to be held Thursday, July 5 to Friday, July 13, 2018 at The Austin Convention Center, Austin, Texas (Diocese of Texas).

Applications and information are available here

The Nomination form is here  

“Each General Convention, we look forward to welcoming the members of the Official Youth Presence to the House of Deputies,” said the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies President. “The perspectives and experiences of high school students are critical to our legislative deliberations and make our debates more lively.”

“General Convention resolutions dating back to 1982 provide for an Official Youth Presence,” noted Bronwyn Clark Skov, Episcopal Church Director for Formation, Youth, and Young Adult Ministries, whose office, together with the General Convention Office and President Jennings, coordinates the application and discernment process for teens who want to become members of the OYP. “Under the current Rules of Order of the House of Deputies, members of the OYP are granted seat and voice in that house.”

Skov explained that no more than two high school youth from each of the Episcopal Church’s nine provinces will be selected.

Criteria

To be eligible to apply, candidates must meet the following criteria:
 

  • Be an active member and communicant in good standing of an Episcopal Church congregation
  • Be at least 16 years old and no older than 19 during General Convention 2018.
  • Be a current high school student enrolled in 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade during the 2017/18 school year
  • Be capable of traveling alone by plane or train to and from the meetings in the United States with no escort
  • Be available to travel to the mandatory orientation and training from April 5 - April 8, 2018 in Austin. This weekend will include community building, worship and training on the legislative process.
  • Be available to be present at General Convention in Austin from July 2 – 13, 2018.

The Episcopal Church budget covers travel, lodging and meals for OYP participants attending the orientation weekend and General Convention.

Deadline for applications and nominations is November 1.  All applicants must identify a non-family member nominator who can complete an on-line essay nomination form by November 1.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee that includes House of Deputies Vice-President Byron Rushing of Massachusetts, Deputy Ariana Gonzalez Bonillas of Arizona, members of the Youth Ministry Network Leadership Council and the Formation Department staff.

Nominators may be contacted in early January and applicants will be notified of their status in February. The Official Youth Presence team will be announced in March.

Questions should be directed to Skov at  bskov@episcopalchurch.org or 646-242-1421.   

General Convention

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years to consider the legislative business of the church.  General Convention is the bicameral governing body of the Church, comprised of the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 109 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members. Between Conventions, the General Convention continues to work through its committees and commissions.  The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church carries out the programs and policies adopted by General Convention.

Applications are now accepted for high school students who want to participate in the General Convention Official Youth Presence (GCOYP) at the Episcopal Church 79th General Convention to be held Thursday, July 5 to Friday, July 13, 2018 at The

The House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church is asking church leaders to complete two online surveys:  one about the Church Pension Fund and the other about the Episcopal Church’s social justice work. The data that the committee collects from the surveys will be used to prepare its report on the state of the church for the 79th General Convention in 2018.

“The State of the Church committee is canonically mandated to prepare a report on the state of the Episcopal Church for the House of Deputies, which we send to the House of Bishops after we have approved it,” says the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies. “Based on the concerns I’ve heard raised in my conversations with deputies and other leaders at General Convention and as I travel around the church, in 2015 I asked the group to focus on the state of the church in three specific areas:  multicultural ministries, justice and advocacy ministries, and the Church Pension Fund.”

Deputy Winnie Varghese of the Diocese of New York chairs the committee, which includes 16 deputies from across each of the Episcopal Church’s nine provinces see here. https://extranet.generalconvention.org/governing_and_interim_bodies/interim_bodies/652/roster More information about the committee’s work during the 2015-2018 triennium is available at Deputy News here.  http://www.deputynews.org/529-2/

The survey about the Church Pension Fund, available in English and Spanish, is designed to collect responses from lay and ordained people who work in the church regardless of whether they participate in the Church Pension Fund or the Church Medical Trust.

The survey about social justice work, also available in English and Spanish, aims to gather information about the ways that dioceses and congregations are involved in advocating for a fairer and more just society.

“We want to know more about how the church is advocating for economic justice, fair wages, and other justice issues,” says Deputy Laura Russell of Newark, who is part of the committee’s working group assessing social justice work. “Likewise, we want to know about where the church is not just feeding and assisting people in need, but also working against the structures that perpetuate racism, poverty, and hunger in our societies.”

The surveys, which will be available online until August 18, are available using the links below:

Church Pension Fund Survey

The survey is located in English here. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SotC-Pension

The survey is located in Spanish here. https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/FondodePensiones

For more information, email Evan Garner at evan@stjohnsdecatur.org.

Social Justice Survey

 The survey for diocesan representatives to complete in English is here. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SocialJustice-dioceses

The survey for diocesan representatives to complete in Spanish is here. https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/justiciaEncuesta

The survey for congregational representatives to complete in English is here.https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/socialjustice-congregations

The survey for congregational representatives to complete in Spanish is here.https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/congregaciones

For more information, email Laura Russell at LARussell@legal-aid.org; Evan Garner at evan@stjohnsdecatur.org.

The House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church is asking church leaders to complete two online surveys:  one about the Church Pension Fund and the other about the Episcopal Church’s social justice work. The data that the committee

[February 26, 2016] The following are the opening remarks of President of the House of Deputies http://houseofdeputies.org/ the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings at the Executive Council http://generalconvention.org/ec of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through February 28 at the American Airlines Training & Conference Center, Fort Worth, TX.

Opening Remarks
Executive Council
February 26, 2016

The last time we met, just over three months ago, I said some things. I said some things about standing on the threshold and about longing for change and about embracing our elastic identity.

I said—I looked this up to be sure—that “The world might swirl around us, but we know who we are, and we can stretch our identity to accommodate the changes we need to make.” And I said, “I’m pretty passionate about these huge changes fermenting below the surface of our common life.” “I’m feeling pretty elastic this triennium,” I said, “and I’m ready to get started.”

So, it’s entirely possible that this three-month roller coaster ride we’ve been on was a result of me tempting fate. I said that I was up for some huge changes and a chance to stretch, and apparently the universe heard me. We’ve certainly have had a chance to stretch since November, haven’t we?

First of all, I want to give abundant thanks to God and the doctors and nurses and physical therapists and occupational therapists and Sharon Curry and everyone else responsible for our presiding bishop’s swift return to health after his little mishap. Michael, we are so grateful for your swift and sure recovery and the calm reassurance you gave us, with able assistance from Michael Hunn, all the way along.

Second, I want to commend you all, and especially the staff members here with us and those at home, for the grace and forbearance you have shown during the ongoing investigation into matters that led to three staff members being placed on administrative leave. I’ve been very fortunate to be with staff at several meetings recently, and I am grateful for the considerate ways that you are working with each other and with volunteer leaders of the church to advance our common mission. Thank you for standing on the threshold with such courage.

And third, I want to thank you, Michael, for the wisdom and steadiness with which you guided us all through the recent primates meeting and its aftermath. While confusion reigned and rumors swirled, you helped us understand, to renew, that we are still full members of the Anglican Communion, that our mission relationships with Anglicans across the world are strong, and that what binds us together is far stronger than what threatens to separate us. I will take your spirit with me when I travel to Zambia in April as the Episcopal Church’s clergy representative to the Anglican Consultative Council, where you can be assured that I will participate fully with a glad heart, a strong spirit and pride that the Episcopal Church fully affirms the dignity and worth of all of God’s children, including our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers.

Now, the roller coaster has come to a stop and the full moon is over, and in the next few days together, we’ve got some work to do to bring about those huge changes that we’ve been talking about. Thanks to many of you who have been working very hard since our last meeting, we will be ready at the end of this meeting to approve the budget for 2016 and, by doing so, take concrete steps toward remaking our commitment to evangelism, racial justice and reconciliation, and church planting, and toward supporting more effectively our Latino and Hispanic congregations.

Earlier this month, Bishop Michael and I were part of a meeting that included the officers of both houses of General Convention, several staff members, and several leaders from across the church. Our task was to begin to work on General Convention Resolution C019, titled “Establish Response to Systemic Racial Injustice.” For two days, we prayed, we told our stories to each other, and we reflected on the Episcopal Church’s efforts at racial reconciliation over the past several decades. We have much to be proud of, and much to be ashamed of, and a great deal of reason to change. You’ll hear more about that work tomorrow when Stephanie Spellers, our new canon for evangelism and reconciliation, facilitates a conversation about these initiatives.

I want to emphasize just one thing:  At that meeting, those of us gathered got really clear that the church’s work in racial justice and reconciliation is to play our part in creating the Beloved Community. That’s a phrase we’ve all heard around the church, but this hard, hard work of racial justice and reconciliation gives us a chance to dig deep in what it really means, and how a vision of the Beloved Community can transform us. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the person who first brought the term “Beloved Community” into popular use, and the King Center’s website provides some context for what he meant when he offered it to us not just as a vision, but as a very real goal:

“For Dr. King, The Beloved Community was not a lofty utopian goal to be confused with the rapturous image of the Peaceable Kingdom, in which lions and lambs coexist in idyllic harmony,” writes the King Center. “Rather, The Beloved Community was for him a realistic, achievable goal that could be attained by a critical mass of people committed to and trained in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence. Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth.”

I’ve been thinking about the Beloved Community, and I know that many of you have been thinking about it even more and for longer than I have, although I will tell you that my senior thesis at Colgate University in 1974 was about the impact of Reinhold Niebuhr’s theology on the theology, witness, and ministry of Dr. King.

It almost certainly will have occurred to you, as it has to me, that this is going to take some work. The world we live in does not shower us with examples of practices that will help us to become the Beloved Community, and it does not reward generously attempts to cultivate it in our midst. We don’t entirely know how to begin, even here and now. Our own world here at Executive Council is not settled. We are unsure about the future. Some of us are fearful, some of us are wounded, and I suspect that all of us know that the institutional church that we have been elected to lead does not have all of the answers we need or all of the resources that are required. And I’m not just talking about money.

But God calls us to be the Beloved Community anyway. We’re called to listen to each other—in ways that maybe we’ve forgotten how to listen—and we’re called to act on our belief that the Beloved Community can be brought closer by the way we make decisions, by the way we spend money, by the way we extend trust to one another and practice forgiveness with one another. Even when—especially when—it is hard.

We don’t have the luxury of waiting until the roller coaster ride ends to make the changes we need to make.  Dr. King said this:  “In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.” We have an enormous opportunity to be agents of justice and reconciliation. We had the mountaintop moments we needed to get going last summer at General Convention. And now we have the sacred responsibility to carry out that commitment into the everyday work of leading the Episcopal Church. And we should know going into this work, that it will not always come naturally and will surely be a growing edge, especially for those who have lived and enjoyed white privilege.

Listen to what Howard Thurman said about growing edges:

Look well to the growing edge. All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born; all around us life is dying and life is being born. The fruit ripens on the tree, the roots are silently at work in the darkness of the earth against a time when there shall be new leaves, fresh blossoms, green fruit. Such is the growing edge. It is the extra breath from the exhausted lung, the one more thing to try when all else has failed, the upward reach of life when weariness closes in upon all endeavor. This is the basis of hope in moments of despair, the incentive to carry on when times are out of joint and men and women have lost their reason, the source of confidence when worlds crash and dreams whiten into ash. Such is the growing edge incarnate. Look well to the growing edge.

I look forward to being edgy with you and count it an honor to work alongside you.

Thank you.

[February 26, 2016] The following are the opening remarks of President of the House of Deputies http://houseofdeputies.org/ the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings at the Executive Council http://generalconvention.org/ec of The Episcopal Church, currently

The following are the opening remarks of President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through November 18 in at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
President of the House of Deputies
Opening Remarks
Executive Council
November 15, 2015

 

Good morning.

This is a day I’ve been looking forward to since July 3. I’m delighted to be here with all of you who have agreed to serve our church as members of Executive Council, and especially with you, Michael. What a great start we have had.

This afternoon, according to our agenda, we’re going to have a chance to get to know each other, our passions and interests. So I’ll start.

After three years as president of the House of Deputies, I’m even more interested in how we in the Episcopal Church manage change. I’m really interested, as I told the people of the Diocese in Vermont last weekend at their convention, in how we figure out what God’s mission is for us today.

We used to be fairly certain, we Episcopalians, that we knew all about God’s mission. Some of us even thought that we were in charge of explaining it to everyone else. But,  as it turns out, as a Church, we need to do some remedial discernment work. We need to think again about God’s mission for The Episcopal Church in our time.

We did some great work together at General Convention, and as a result, we are clear about our work of racial reconciliation and evangelism. We’ve got a budget that is more aligned with our priorities than in the past, and we have a clear plan for the way that dioceses can participate in our common life by paying reasonable assessments. We’ve eliminated most of our standing commissions and created a lot of task forces, which we hope will make us more efficient—dare I say nimble?—and responsive. By the way, I can tell you that playing interim body musical chairs has not made the process of appointing people to serve more efficient, but I have high hopes that when we convene the meeting of Interim Bodies on Wednesday afternoon, the energy will be high and we’ll be ready to get to work.

Also, we’ve got a new presiding bishop that people seem pretty excited about. I’ve heard he can preach. And I can tell you that we have already developed an excellent working relationship and for that I am most grateful. Working together for the cause of Christ is what we are all called to do.

So, the stage is set this triennium for us to participate more clearly, more fully, more wholeheartedly in God’s mission for the Episcopal Church. 

We know some things about what God’s mission for us is not. It is not the model of a church building with a full-time priest that many of us knew when we were growing up. According to Dr. Matthew Price, vice president of research and data for the Church Pension Fund, 32% of congregations who had at least one priest in 2006 had experienced a decline in the number of clergy on staff by 2013, and of congregations that had one clergy person in 2006, 30% had no clergy person in 2013. So if the old model of a dedicated building with a full-time priest is required for us to do God’s mission, we’re in trouble.

We also need to let go of the idea that we need a lot of money do to God’s mission:  Between 2006 and 2013, congregations experienced a 7% decline in operating revenue, an 8% decline in pledge income, and an 11% decline in pledge cards. There was no decline in clergy compensation amounts, so that means a higher proportion of the church’s resources are being used to pay for clergy now than in the past. We know that’s not sustainable.

One of my favorite poets, John O’Donohue, wrote about the change we are now facing:

To change is one of the great dreams of every heart—to change the limitations, the sameness, the banality, or the pain. So often we look back on patterns of behavior, the kind of decisions we make repeatedly and that have failed to serve us well, and we aim for a new and more successful path or way of living. But change is difficult for us. So often we opt to continue the old pattern, rather than risking the dangers of difference. We are also often surprised by change that seems to arrive out of nowhere. We find ourselves crossing some new threshold we had never anticipated. Like spring secretly at work within the heart of winter, below the surface of our lives huge changes are in fermentation. We never suspect a thing. Then when the grip of some long-enduring winter mentality begins to loosen, we find ourselves vulnerable to a flourish of possibility and we are suddenly negotiating the challenge of a threshold.

 

“We find ourselves vulnerable to a flourish of possibility and we are suddenly negotiating the challenge of a threshold.”

Now, that sounds to me like a description of how we get even closer to God’s mission.

By any measure—demographic, financial, liturgical, spiritual—the Episcopal Church is negotiating the challenge of a threshold right now. There are at least two ways to think about this kind of change:

We can think about it as people who are the custodians of a once-grand institution that is charged with maintaining those buildings, that prayer book, that cultural and social status. If we think about crossing the threshold as guardians of the institution of the church, pretty much everything looks like loss and decline. It’s depressing to think about change in the church this way, and I don’t recommend it. And it doesn’t really seem like the path to discerning God’s mission.

So let’s think about it differently this triennium. We can also think about change—about standing on the threshold—as people who are secure in our identity as children of God in the Episcopal Church. The world might swirl around us, but we know who we are, and we can stretch our identity to accommodate the changes we need to make.

I have a wonderful friend and colleague, Matthew Sheep, a business professor at Illinois State University, who thinks that this ability to stretch our identity is the great strength of the Episcopal Church. For the past decade, he and two other researchers have been studying the Episcopal Church’s identity. They started their study in 2004, the year after Gene Robinson was elected bishop in New Hampshire. They’ve had their work accepted for publication in the Academy of Management Journal, which is just as impressive as it sounds. The title of the study is “Elasticity and the Dialectic Tensions of Organizational Identity: How Can We Hold Together While We’re Pulling Apart?”

Basically, Matthew and his colleagues found that we Episcopalians are pretty elastic. What exactly does that mean? In a recent interview with the news department at Illinois State University, he explained it this way:

People might be constructing (identity) when an expansion is going on, like for a merger or an acquisition or when there is a strategic change. So when you do that, there are members and leaders in your organization who will say, “Great. Welcome. Come on in. It’s a big tent. Let’s include everybody. Let’s include all of these identities. Our identity is elastic enough to accommodate all this.” There are others who will say, “That’s not who we have always been. That isn’t true to our roots. It isn’t true to who we have been in the past.” So they are constructing it in a more inelastic sort of way.

I am quite sure that any of you who have ever been to a vestry meeting, much less an Executive Council meeting, are familiar with these two schools of thought. I’m a big fan of the first one—the one where we say “Great. Welcome. Come on in. It’s a big tent. Let’s include everybody.” I am a fan of this approach to Episcopal identity not just because my friend Matthew studied it for ten years, but also because Jesus said that’s how we’re supposed to do it.

God knows who we are as the people of God in the Episcopal Church, and God knows it’s not about buildings or full-time clergy or social status or endowments. And because God knows those things, I believe God has a new mission for us. Just like John O’Donohue says, “Like spring secretly at work within the heart of winter, below the surface of our lives huge changes are in fermentation.”

I’m pretty passionate about these huge changes fermenting below the surface of our common life, and I’m excited about the prospect of working with all of you to help lead our beloved church through these changes. I’m feeling pretty elastic this triennium, and I’m ready to get started.

As we do this work, I am struck by something I saw when I was in Korea last month to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Anglican Church in Korea and attend the Episcopal Asiamerica Ministries International Consultation. There was a grand festival Eucharist in the Cathedral Church of St. Mary the Virgin and St. Nicholas in Seoul. At the front of the procession was the processional cross. What is usually at the end of the procession? (People responded by saying “The bishop.”) In Korea, and I was told this is their usual practice, the cross is carried in front of the procession, and there is another cross at the very back of the procession. Front and back – we are bookended by Christ. As we sang this morning, Christ in front of us, and Christ behind us. Thanks be to God!

Thank you.

The following are the opening remarks of President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through November 18 in at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings have issued a letter calling on Episcopal congregations to participate in “Confession, Repentance, and Commitment to End Racism Sunday” on September 6.

 

The letter follows:

 

September 1, 2015
 
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
 
On June 17, nine members of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, were murdered by a white racist during their weekly bible study. Just a few days later at General Convention in Salt Lake City, we committed ourselves to stand in solidarity with the AME Church as they respond with acts of forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice (Resolution A302).
 
Now our sisters and brothers in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church have asked us to make that solidarity visible by participating in “Confession, Repentance, and Commitment to End Racism Sunday”  on Sunday, September 6. We ask all Episcopal congregations to join this ecumenical effort with prayer and action.
 
“Racism will not end with the passage of legislation alone; it will also require a change of heart and thinking,” writes AME Bishop Reginald T. Jackson. “This is an effort which the faith community must lead, and be the conscience of the nation. We will call upon every church, temple, mosque and faith communion to make their worship service on this Sunday a time to confess and repent for the sin and evil of racism, this includes ignoring, tolerating and accepting racism, and to make a commitment to end racism by the example of our lives and actions.”
 
The Episcopal Church, along with many ecumenical partners, will stand in solidarity with the AME Church this week in Washington D.C. at the “Liberty and Justice for All” event, which includes worship at Wesley AME Zion Church and various advocacy events.
 
Racial reconciliation through prayer, teaching, engagement and action is a top priority of the Episcopal Church in the upcoming triennium. Participating in “Confession, Repentance, and Commitment to End Racism Sunday” on September 6 is just one way that we Episcopalians can undertake this essential work. Our history as a church includes atrocities for which we must repent, saints who show us the way toward the realm of God, and structures that bear witness to unjust centuries of the evils of white privilege, systemic racism, and oppression that are not yet consigned to history. We are grateful for the companionship of the AME Church and other partners as we wrestle with our need to repent and be reconciled to one another and to the communities we serve.

“The Church understands and affirms that the call to pray and act for racial reconciliation is integral to our witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to our living into the demands of our Baptismal Covenant,” reads Resolution C019 of the 78th General Convention. May God bless us and forgive us as we pray and act with our partners this week and in the years to come. In the words of the prophet Isaiah appointed for Sunday, may we see the day when “waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water.”
 
Faithfully,
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church
 
The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
President, House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church
 

Liturgical Resources

The AME Church has developed prayers for use on Sunday, September 6.
 
The ELCA has developed liturgical resources for “End Racism Sunday.” (click on the Liturgy tab).
 
These collects from the Book of Common Prayer may also be appropriate for use:
 
Almighty God, who created us in your image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
 

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

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Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings have issued a letter calling on Episcopal congregations to participate in “Confession, Repentance, and Commitment to End Racism Sunday” on

“We don’t seek solutions whose only virtues are that they save us time, save us energy and save us money,” the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies said in her sermon to the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church on June 26.  “We seek solutions that serve the kingdom.”

The following is the text of the sermon:

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
78th General Convention
June 26, 2015

 

In the Name of our Living, Loving, and Magnificent God!  Amen.
 

Our first two readings today speak of visions. They paint frightening pictures, even for those of us who look at them from a distance of almost two thousand years, in one instance, and more in the other. Isaiah gives us six winged creatures tending a sovereign the hem of whose garment—just the hem—fills a temple. John of Patmos tops that with his four living creatures whom an earlier passage tells us looked like a lion, an ox, an eagle and a human being, only with lots of wings. Which were covered with eyes.

Visions are a kind of language. They are the way writers help us glimpse truths that are beyond what any of us has seen or even imagined. Christians have resorted to visions throughout our history, and in its way, the language of vision is an admission that our minds can neither comprehend nor communicate the fullness of God’s majesty and mercy.

If you listen to the gospel closely—and you kind of have to listen to this Gospel closely—you will see that even Jesus has a hard time using language to speak about the nature of God. The sentences keep twisting back on each other: I am in you, you are in me, they are in us. Put these sentences in front of someone who hasn’t been listening to them their whole life and they’d have a hard time telling you what they mean.

His language is bursting at the seams. In a metaphor that probably has fresh relevance for you after your journey to Salt Lake City, the suitcase of human comprehension is not big enough for the concepts Jesus needs to stuff into it in this passage.

Throughout Christian history, mystics and visionaries, like John of Patmos, Hildegard of Bingen, and Julian of Norwich, have resorted to forbidding and ecstatic language to tell us about divine experiences that ordinary prose just can’t contain.

And yet, here is the thing about visions, as Joseph and Daniel and Ezekiel knew:  they have to be interpreted; they have to be rendered sensible to the people who credit their authenticity but who aren’t seeing them themselves.

It’s appropriate then, that these readings celebrate the feast of Isabel Florence Hapgood. She was among other things, a translator. We celebrate her for the 11-year project of translating the Service Book of the Holy-Orthodox Catholic Church into English. But she also gave readers of the English language Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, a magnificent gift, although I expect my 16-year-old technology assistant, who has to write a paper on “Anna Karenina” by the middle of next month, doesn’t think so.

I’d like to think that each of us is involved every day in the act of translation, of living and speaking in ways that try to put an every day wardrobe on phenomenal beings with wings covered with eyes.

As Christians, it is our job to take the ecstatic, frightening, demanding dreams of our great prophets and seers, and make them sensible to the people around us.  It is our task to speak and act in ways that make it obvious what we believe and why we believe it. It is our task to give people some sense of the incredible power of the magnificent, living God whom we worship.

It may seem that there are few human enterprises further from visions of spectacular garments with hems that fill a temple of creatures with eyes on their wings than General Convention. I am not a digital native. I was born well before computers and online culture transformed the world and transformed the church, but I know what a mashup is and I’ve wondered what would happen if John of Patmos ran headlong into the House of Deputies. I think it might sound something like this: I saw the temple filled with deputies in shimmering raiment and a creature with six arms and a voting device in each one said, “I rise to a point of personal privilege during which I would also like to amend the amendment on the previous motion and immediately end debate and refer the resolution back to the parallel committee for further consideration.” And the Lamb, in a voice that caused all to tremble said, “Sit down deputy. You are out of order.”

But listen: ours is an incarnate faith. We believe that the Word takes flesh. Our faith is transformative. We believe that the Word having becomes flesh redeems the world. We do not believe in untethered visions, but we also don’t believe in reality untethered from vision.          

We don’t seek solutions whose only virtues are that they save us time, save us energy and save us money. We seek solutions that serve the kingdom.

The work of disciples is spinning the golden threads that tie the ecstatic vision of a loving, powerful God to your life, to mine and to the life of the church on earth. We weave these threads when we study scripture to understand the source of visions, when we delve into our history to learn about mystics and seers and the societies that produce them; when we act in ways that make it obvious that we are inspired by a God of breathtaking power and love, when we tend the sick, feed the hungry and advocate for the voiceless.

And we weave those threads between holy vision and ordinary life when we gather to order our common life, to discern what God is calling us to do and how God is calling us to do it. It isn’t easy to spin these threads, and it isn’t necessarily exciting every minute. Reading resolutions, testifying in hearings, finding yourself frustrated because people are disagreeable, or conversely, finding yourself frustrated because people avoid conflict, is all part of bringing God’s vision to rest in the church. I ask you to count it all as blessing, to understand that the labor required to see and then serve a shared vision is holy work.

We will fall short. Visions exist because the God we serve can neither be fully understood nor perfectly served. And yet, and yet—to invoke another seer and another vision—if we wrestle this angel, it will bless us.

Amen.

 

The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church is meeting through July 3 in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah). The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 108 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members.

The video services of the daily Eucharist during General Convention 2015 have been produced by the Episcopal Diocese of Utah.

Watch on the Media Hub here

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

General Convention: http://www.generalconvention.org/

Diocese of Utah: http://www.episcopal-ut.org/

Salt Palace Convention Center: http://www.visitsaltlake.com/salt-palace-convention-center/

 

#‎GC78

“We don’t seek solutions whose only virtues are that they save us time, save us energy and save us money,” the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies said in her sermon to the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church on

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in the next nine days,” President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings said in her opening remarks to the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church on June 24. “Not just meetings and hearings and legislative sessions, but also listening to each other and paying attention to what new things are arising among us.”

Watch the presentation on the Media Hub here

The following are the opening remarks by President Jennings.
Good morning, and welcome to the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church! My name is Gay Clark Jennings, and I’m a deputy.

Today is a big day. For us deputies, it’s our first chance to be together in three years, and it’s our first chance to welcome our 398 new members. First-time deputies account for 46 percent of our house, and taken together, first- and second-time deputies make up 66 percent. The potential is enormous!

Today is also our chance to meet the nominees for presiding bishop in person and hear each one’s vision for how he would help lead the Episcopal Church into the future God wants for us. I’m looking forward to this afternoon.

Now, I’m sure it’s a coincidence that we’re greeting our presiding bishop nominees on the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. And I’m sure we will all enjoy the special lunch of locusts and wild honey that the Salt Palace staff has prepared for us.

But I think it’s not a coincidence that we’re beginning the work of the 78th General Convention on this feast day. Here’s how Luke’s Gospel tells part of the story:

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him. 

Now, remember that Zechariah had been struck dumb some months earlier for doubting God’s messenger. He didn’t think things could change for him and Elizabeth, and he said so. It appears that he came by this reluctance honestly:  his neighbors and relatives who came to circumcise the baby didn’t even think it was okay to step out by trying a new name.

But Zechariah had spent his period of silence well. And when the people assembled had witnessed the miracle and heard his praise, they knew they were on the edge of a strange and wonderful future.

“What then will this child become?” they asked. What indeed?

You won’t be surprised that now I’m going to turn from preaching to meddling. The first thing I want to point out about this reading is that in order for Zechariah to hear God speaking to him, he had to stop talking and listen. For a long time. You know who you are.

The second thing to notice about this text is that what’s at stake is the baby’s identity. God is moving, strange things are happening, and no one is sure what’s going on. So they disagree about what the baby’s name should be. We have had a version of this naming problem in the Episcopal Church these last few years, as you may have noticed.

Just like Zechariah, we are standing on a boundary between the old and the new. Gathering here to wrestle with the future of our beloved Episcopal Church, we are standing on holy ground, straining to hear God speaking above all the noise. And we are not quite sure who we are.

Whenever I find myself on a boundary, Paul Tillich is my go-to guy. Tillich, a theologian who taught at Harvard Divinity School and the University of Chicago, said this in a sermon reprinted in his collection titled “The Shaking of the Foundations:”

Nothing is more surprising than the rise of the new within ourselves. We do not foresee or observe its growth. We do not try to produce it by the strength of our will, by the power of our emotion, or by the clarity of our intellect. On the contrary, we feel that by trying to produce it we prevent its coming. By trying, we would produce the old in the power of the old, but not the new. The new is being born in us, just when we least believe in it. It appears in remote corners of our souls which we have neglected for a long time.

So, thinking of Zechariah and of Tillich, for a few moments, let’s quiet the din around us and listen for the new within ourselves. Let’s turn down the volume on the Pew Center’s statistics about the decline of the institutional church, the endless online arguments about what Millennials really want, and what one tweeter recently called the “church decline industrial complex.” Let’s quiet our souls.

When we can do that, I think we’ll sense the rise of the new within ourselves and know, as Tillich says, that it arises from what’s already in the corners of our souls, from what we have been neglecting, discounting or taking for granted.

What will we find there, in the corners of the collective soul of the Episcopal Church?

I think we’ll find our Baptismal Covenant, in which we affirm the Creed, repent of our sins, proclaim the Good News, and promise to seek and serve Christ in all persons and respect the dignity of every human being. All of them—not just the ones with orthodox theology, or any theology; not just the ones who make us comfortable; not just the ones whose understanding of marriage or access to communion or the calendar of commemorations accord with our seminary training or our bishop’s direction. Not just the ones who know how the Virtual Binder works.

I think we’ll find our history of seeking the kingdom of God by distributing authority among clergy, bishops and laypeople so that all voices are heard, all people are welcome, and all visions of justice and mercy are honored.

I think that in the neglected corners of our souls we’ll find the saints who have gone before us. There are a lot of them, and you might be surprised who you’ll find lurking in your soul. As I have been preparing for this General Convention, which marks the 230th anniversary of the House of Deputies, I have been keeping close company with Deputy and later Bishop William White, with Deputy Thurgood Marshall and Seminarian Jonathan Daniels, with the women of the Philadelphia Eleven, and with my sister Pamela Chinnis, the first woman to lead this house, just to name a few.

By the way, on Saturday after the Community Eucharist, we’ll have a party to celebrate the 230th anniversary of the House of Deputies, and we’ll celebrate these saints who have gone before us and some saints who still blessedly walk among us. I’m told that the bishops have other plans for Saturday, but if you’re nice to your deputies, they might save some M&Ms for you.

Now, unless you’ve been off the Internet for about three years, you know that we’re going to spend a lot of time at this General Convention talking about church structure. I think it is safe to say that we are not always going to agree. I think we have probably had our last unanimous structure vote for a while. And that is okay. Because when we’re talking about structure, we’re really talking about our identity. We’re talking about what’s growing in the neglected corners of our souls. We’re talking about what to name the baby.

We’re talking about our vision of the Beloved Community, and we are asking important questions. Can we restructure in a way that inspires and energizes the people of our church? Can we restructure in a way that continues to respect the gifts of all orders of ministry? We are talking about who we are as the people of God if we are not the church we have always been. We’re talking about what it means to be a deacon or a priest or a bishop if it doesn’t mean what it meant—or what we thought it meant—when we finished a local formation program or seminary. We are talking about the fate of the governance structures through which we have progressed—sometimes haltingly, sometimes kicking and screaming—toward equality for people of color, for women, and for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians. We’re talking about the shared leadership by which we have achieved our prophetic stands on the death penalty--which we have stood against as a church since 1956—on racism, gun safety and poverty, and the enormous amount of work we still have to do. We’re talking about the fact that our governance structures gave many of us a seat at the table for the very first time, but that when we sat down, some of our brothers and sisters stood up and left.

We’re talking about the fact that God isn’t done with us yet.

We’ve got a lot of work to do in the next nine days. Not just meetings and hearings and legislative sessions, but also listening to each other and paying attention to what new things are arising among us. Much of the work we have to do is about our own institutional future. But that’s not all of what we do.

The church isn’t the only segment of our society that’s reeling right now. Income inequality is greater than it has been since 1928, our cities are besieged by gun violence and racial injustice, and too many young black men are caught in the school-to-prison pipeline. Even as we wrestle with the church’s future, we must reckon with its past. We must realize that the long, hard struggle to eliminate discrimination within the church required so much energy and vigilance, that we did not do enough to right the wrongs of discrimination, white privilege, and inequality in the world around us. This summer, especially, we must repent of that. Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore, Charleston – General Convention is where we Episcopalians have the ability not only to proclaim that black lives matter, but also to take concrete action toward ending racism and achieving God’s dream of racial reconciliation and justice. We can do no less.

We have a lot of work to do. We are people of God who have been shaped, in ways that endure, by our history, by the fundamentals of our faith and by our common prayer. Surely we need to change, to restructure, to adapt, and surely we need to do it drawing upon the strengths of the identity given to us by God and shaped by the saints who have gone before us.

After the baby who Zechariah named John had lived and died, Jesus was traveling when some people brought to him a man who couldn’t hear and couldn’t speak clearly. Mark’s Gospel tells us that Jesus took him aside, put his fingers in his ears, spat and touched his tongue. “Then looking up to heaven, Jesus sighed and said to him, ‘Ephaphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’”

May we be the man who Jesus healed. This General Convention, may we hear and may we speak, but most of all, my brothers and sisters, may we be opened.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
President of the House of Deputies

 

The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church will be held June 25 – July 3, in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah). The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 108 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members.

 

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

General Convention: http://www.generalconvention.org/

Diocese of Utah: http://www.episcopal-ut.org/

Salt Palace Convention Center: http://www.visitsaltlake.com/salt-palace-convention-center/

 

#‎GC78

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in the next nine days,” President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings said in her opening remarks to the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church on June 24. “Not just meetings and hearings and

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to the House of Bishops and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings has written to the House of Deputies outlining details of elections and confirmations that will occur during General Convention.

The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church is June 25 – July 3, in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah). The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with more than 800 clergy and lay deputies elected from the 108 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church.

In her letter, President Jennings provides deputies with a checklist of elections and confirmations to be held in the House of Deputies and the schedule on which the work will be done. “General Convention meets just once every three years, so we deputies have a great responsibility to elect and confirm many of the people who do the work of the church in between conventions,” wrote President Jennings. “At this convention, we’ll elect 50 people to nine different positions, confirm House of Bishops elections of 17 people, including a new Presiding Bishop, and confirm 13 people appointed by the presiding officers.”

The Presiding Bishop’s letter was written to inform the bishops and to address any confusion. “There is a good deal of rumor and misinformation floating around, which I would like to lay to rest – in peace, and not to rise again!,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori wrote.

Election of the Presiding Bishop

The nominees for Presiding Bishop will be presented to a joint meeting of the Bishops and Deputies on Wednesday, June 24.  The formal nominations for Presiding Bishop will be made at a joint session of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops on Friday, June 26, with the election scheduled for Saturday, June 27.
 

Bishops will gather at the Convention Eucharist at 9:30 am in the Salt Palace. Following that, the bishops with seat, voice, and vote will board buses to travel to St. Mark’s Cathedral, where the election will take place in the context of prayer and reflection.

Once an election has taken place, the Presiding Bishop will send a delegation to the President of the House of Deputies to inform her of the name of the bishop who has been elected. President Jennings will refer the name to the House of Deputies legislative committee on the Confirmation of the Presiding Bishop without announcing the name to the full House. The legislative committee will make a recommendation to the House of Deputies whether to confirm the election or not confirm, and the House of Deputies will immediately vote on the recommendation. President Jennings will then appoint a delegation from the House of Deputies to notify the House of Deputies of the action taken.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori added, “No communication is permitted from the House of Bishops during the election and until confirmation is received. I know this will be a challenge, but ask your cooperation and faithfulness to our mutual life and accountability.”

Elections

The House of Bishops and House of Deputies will elect and confirm General Convention officers and members of many other church leadership bodies including Executive Council; Disciplinary Board for Bishops; Trustees of General Theological Seminary; Trustees of the Church Pension Fund; Board of Transition Ministry; and Archives of The Episcopal Church.

A list and schedule of elections in the House of Deputies is available here.

 

 

 

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

General Convention: http://www.generalconvention.org/

Diocese of Utah: http://www.episcopal-ut.org/

Salt Palace Convention Center: http://www.visitsaltlake.com/salt-palace-convention-center/

 

#‎GC78

 

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to the House of Bishops and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings has written to the House of Deputies outlining details of elections and confirmations

The following are the opening remarks of President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through March 21 in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah).

Executive Council opening remarks
March 19

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
President of the House of Deputies
The Episcopal Church

I’ve recently finished a marathon. I didn’t run 26.2 miles—with the winter we’ve had in Ohio, it would have been more practical to ice skate that far—but I did recently complete the long, absorbing, and fulfilling process of appointing deputies to legislative committees for General Convention. You can find the committee rosters on the House of Deputies website. http://houseofdeputies.org/legislative-committee-assignments.html The canons require that appointments be made public within 30 days of being made (thanks to Resolution D045 submitted by Deputy Katie Sherrod and adopted by General Convention in 2009); I’m proud to say that we did it within 30 hours, and deputy committee chairs have already been instructed to convene their committees and begin work.

I’ve learned in the last few months that making legislative committee appointments is one of the most difficult and rewarding parts of my job. Not all deputies can serve on a committee—the committees would simply be too large to function—and not all deputies can be appointed to the committees on which they most hoped to serve. That’s the difficult part. The rewarding part is learning more about deputies’ skills, experience, and gifts in order to appoint committees with diverse and deep understanding of the issues at hand. I’m grateful to all of the deputies, including many of you, who have answered my calls and emails with grace and patience as I have drafted and re-drafted committee rosters.

This year, thanks to a new committee structure that the Presiding Bishop and I developed last summer and a new House of Deputies Committee on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, I have been able to make 547 appointments to legislative committees—a 27% increase over General Convention 2012. I’m also glad to say that all deputies who completed the committee preference survey and who have served at three or more conventions have been appointed. But legislative committees are not just the purview of long-time deputies; more than 35% of first-time deputies have also been appointed.

These first-time deputies, who make up 46% of the House of Deputies, are only part of the great chance this General Convention will provide to learn more about how our structures can change as our Episcopal identity stays strong. This General Convention will also be a laboratory for learning from young leaders and watching the structures of the church change as its leaders change the way we work. Traditionally at General Convention, senior deputies—those of us who practically remember the first General Convention in 1785—have had the knowledge and expertise to navigate the way things work. But in 2015, as you know, we’re embarking on our first paperless convention. Every deputy and every bishop will be issued an iPad—the old fat binders filled with reams of paper are gone for good. Deputies will carry a keycard with them and will need to swipe it before they speak at a microphone. Instead of sending messages back and forth between the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies on papyrus scrolls, someone will actually push a button and send the message electronically. Amazing!

All of this means that the senior deputies, with their decades of experience, are going to need to learn from deputies who are digital natives—young adults who don’t ever remember a world in which we didn’t carry computers in our pockets. We’re all going to need one another in different kinds of ways, and it’s going to change the way we work, change the way we are networked, and change the way we envision the kingdom of God.

I’m hoping that General Convention also provides us with practical experience in doing the kinds of restructuring that don’t require permission from a task force or    a resolution. You all have that kind of restructuring to do in your congregations, dioceses, and ministries, and so do I. I've spent a good deal of time talking with deputies and former deputies to explore how to move legislation more efficiently through General Convention and reduce the bottlenecks that we have sometimes encountered in previous years. In 2015, we’ll use the tools already available to us to streamline the legislative process.

One of those tools is use of legislative aides. This convention, for the first time, we have an open application process for those volunteers who will help committee officers navigate the legislative process and serve as liaisons with the Dispatch of Business committee. Alternate deputies and volunteers who are planning to attend General Convention are invited to apply by March 31. Please spread the word and visit the House of Deputies website or the General Convention website for all the details.

These next few months will be busy with work as we prepare to return to this beautiful city with several thousand of our friends and colleagues in tow. But it’s essential work, because General Convention is where we ensure that the mission of the Episcopal Church is strong and vibrant. When we serve at General Convention, we are servants of mission. We elect people to serve on policy-making bodies, we adopt a budget to provide resources so people, congregations, and dioceses are equipped and strengthened for ministry, we pass resolutions and adopt policies that point us in the direction of being witnesses for Christ to a world in desperate need of hope and healing. As we do this work, we all need to hold fast to our identity as servants of God and God’s mission in the Episcopal Church, just as surely as our sisters and brothers called to other kinds of ministry in God’s church.

Recently I had the chance to experience just how our governance can make our mission possible. Thanks to Christopher Hayes, chancellor of the Diocese of California, I had the opportunity to put decades of General Convention resolutions into action by being a lead signer on an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States in support of reversing the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against civil marriage equality. The brief was also signed by 21 of our bishops and more than 200 Episcopal clergy and lay leaders, and it cites five General Convention resolutions:  Resolution D007 from 1994, Resolution D039 from 2000, Resolution A095 from 2006, Resolution A167 from 2006 and Resolution A049 from 2012.

The day after we submitted the brief, media outlets including USA Today, the Christian Science Monitor, the Detroit Free Press, the Living Church and Episcopal Café all covered the news. Thanks to the people who have served faithfully at General Convention for nearly 40 years, we Episcopalians are able to make a witness to the Supreme Court and to the people of this country that we stand against legal discrimination in any form, and that every citizen is entitled to equal protection under the law. So on April 28, when the Supreme Court hears arguments in this case, and in June—perhaps even when we’re at General Convention—when they issue a ruling, remember that your ministry of governance in the Episcopal Church has made it possible for us to take our place as Christians in the public square.

This is our last Executive Council meeting of this triennium. It has been a great privilege to serve with all of you, and I am grateful that each of you has been called to be servants of mission in this way. I must give special mention to Bryan Krislock who has served as a member of Council for 8 years – 26% of his entire life! His reward is to serve as my parliamentarian in the House of Deputies this summer.

As we prepare for the election of a new presiding bishop, I especially want to give thanks for the tireless ministry of Bishop Katharine these nine years, and for the dignity and spiritual clarity with which she has led our beloved Episcopal Church and guided it through turbulent times in the Anglican Communion. Her commitment to the Five Marks of Mission has inspired all of us to care for the poor, remember the outcast, and heal the world. As a woman who entered seminary just weeks after the Philadelphia Eleven were ordained, I have particularly admired her ability to handle with grace the particular challenges that come with being the first woman to hold any position of leadership, and I will always be grateful that we have served together. Thank you, Bishop Katharine, and thanks to all of you. I look forward to our work together these next few days.

 

The following are the opening remarks of President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings at the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, currently meeting through March 21 in Salt Lake City, UT (Diocese of Utah). Executive Council

At each General Convention of The Episcopal Church, legislative aides serve the House of Deputies by working closely with the officers of legislative committees to help legislation move through convention efficiently and smoothly. For General Convention 2015, legislative aides will be appointed through a new open application process.

Both alternate deputies and volunteers who will attend General Convention at their own expense are eligible to apply to be legislative aides. The application is available online through March 31.

"These volunteers provide a significant service to the House," said the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, in announcing the open application process. "I am grateful to the Rev. Paul Burrows, who will be returning for his eighth General Convention as a legislative aide, for agreeing to chair this important committee. I am also pleased that, for the first time, we can offer people from across the church the chance to apply." 

"Because all of the legislative work at this General Convention will be done electronically, I hope that volunteers who are especially comfortable with technology will apply."

The responsibilities of legislative aides include:

  • Attend the Orientation of Committee Officers and Legislative Aides to be held in Salt Lake City June 23, 2015 from 2 to 5 pm.
  • Attend meetings of the House of Deputies Legislative Aides Committee chaired by the Rev. Paul Burrows, and work under his supervision and guidance.
  • Assist with the work of the committee at the direction of committee officers, especially the chairs and secretaries.
  • Coordinate with Committee on Dispatch of Business liaison assigned to the committee.
  • Obtain legislative process information from the Secretariat.
  • Assist with arrangements for committee meetings and hearings.
  • Manage the logistics of hearings including witness registration and room set-up; for especially large hearings, arrange a suitable venue through the Secretariat and be available to the committee chair throughout the hearing.
  • Maintain neutrality in regard to resolutions being considered by the committee.

People interested in serving as legislative aides can apply online by March 31.

The triennial General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church and includes the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies.

At each General Convention of The Episcopal Church, legislative aides serve the House of Deputies by working closely with the officers of legislative committees to help legislation move through convention efficiently and smoothly. For General

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