The Episcopal Church is governed by a bicameral General Convention, which typically meets every three years, and by Executive Council during interim years. The General Convention consists of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, which meet and act separately but must concur to adopt legislation.
The General Convention
The General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church and has the authority to amend the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church; adopt a triennial budget; authorize liturgical texts and amend the Book of Common Prayer; adopt communions and covenants with other churches; set qualifications for orders of ministry and officeholders; elect officers of the General Convention, the Executive Council, and members of boards; and delegate responsibilities to the interim bodies of The Episcopal Church.
The House of Bishops
The House of Bishops is one of two governing bodies of The Episcopal Church, and the presiding bishop is its president. All bishops of The Episcopal Church, active or retired, have voice, seat, and vote in the House of Bishops; the body currently has around 140 active members, including diocesan bishops, bishop coadjutors, suffragan bishops, and retired bishops. Traditionally, the House of Bishops meets once or twice annually in a non-legislative capacity between General Conventions to respond to the needs of the church and society.
House of Deputies
The House of Deputies currently has more than 750 members (including alternates) and is composed of up to four lay and four clerical deputies from each diocese or jurisdiction, elected in the manner determined by each jurisdiction. At each General Convention, the House of Deputies elects—or reelects—a president to serve a three-year term.
The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church is an elected body of bishops, priests, deacons, and lay leaders, and, in the three years between General Conventions, the group meets quarterly. Executive Council is tasked with carrying out programs and policies adopted by General Convention and overseeing the ministry and mission of The Episcopal Church.
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