An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

General Convention Special Program (GCSP)

At the 1967 General Convention in Seattle, Washington, Presiding Bishop John E. Hines called on the Episcopal Church to “take its place humbly and boldly alongside of, and in support of, the dispossessed and oppressed peoples of this country for the healing of our national life.” In response to Hines's leadership, the General Convention adopted a $9,000,000 fund and set up the Special Program. GCSP was given top priority for the church's use of personnel, time, and money for the years 1968-1970. In Nov. 1967, following the General Convention, Bishop Hines, in consultation with the elected members of the Executive Council, set up a special staff unit of the council to carry out this GCSP. Hines named Leon Modeste, an Episcopal layman, to direct the program and administer the funds. Some grants were made to organizations outside the Episcopal Church, some of which were perceived by some Episcopalians as supporters of violence. By 1969, some Episcopal clergy and laity were calling for the end of GCSP. Over the next few years opposition to GCSP continued to grow and restrictions were placed on the recipients of grants. At the 1973 General Convention it was decided to place all minority organizations of the Episcopal Church under one funding program, and the name of GCSP was changed to the Commission on Community Action and Human Development. Modeste's position was abolished on Dec. 31, 1973.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.