Children’s Program at General Convention 2021
The Office of the General Convention (GCO) and its Planning Team for General Convention 2021 is pleased to announce that the Children’s Program will again be offered daily during legislative sessions, committee meetings, and worship. As diocesan deadlines to stand for election as a deputy for General Convention approach, families can explore options for their children during the 80th General Convention, which will take place June 30 to July 9, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. The program is open to children from infants to 12 years of age.
In 2006, Resolution D059 mandated that General Convention “make age appropriate care and educational programs available for children birth to age twelve.” This has been done at every Convention since 2009. It is a program that seeks to affirm and live into the Children’s Charter, carrying out the Church’s responsibility to care for, form and minister with children. The Children’s program reminds us all that every baptized member is a full participant in our common life together and helps to ensure that those present at General Convention are a fuller representation of who we are as a Church.
“As a deputy and now bishop, the Children’s Program is invaluable to my participation at General Convention,” said The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis. “My son Timothy has attended three conventions starting when he was 18 months old. The friends he used to see only every three years at the Children’s Program have now grown into cross-country pen pals and deeper friendships between Conventions and it is wonderful to see them growing up together. This program means that I can participate in the councils of the Church, my son can grow in faith and friendship in a safe and age-appropriate environment, and we don’t have to be separated for two weeks.”
Participants in the Children’s Program will grow in faith and friendship as they explore the theme of water. Program planners are working with various curriculum resources from across The Episcopal Church relating to care of creation.
The nursery will be staffed by trained and certified caregivers, with volunteer opportunities available for older children. Children ages six and up will also be able to participate in field trips to local attractions, such as the National Aquarium. The cost of the program is anticipated to be $50 per day, as it was in 2018. Families may drop in for a single day or attend all days. Lunch and snacks are provided. Dioceses are encouraged to support this program through financial assistance to those with children who are elected as Deputies and Alternates.
“My daughter, Rebecca, has been part of the General Convention Children’s Program in 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 (ages 4, 7, 10, and, as an assistant, 13!),” said The Rev. Tanya Wallace, Deputy from the Diocese of Western Massachusetts. “It is so much more than childcare; the program is a safe space for young ones, an invitation to experience General Convention first-hand, an opportunity to learn to follow Jesus in the wider church, an experience of a community of people who love them and raise them up in the Way of Love. The Children’s Program allows me to balance serving at General Convention with being a mom, and it has provided my daughter with unforgettable experiences and lifelong friendships. At last year’s General Convention my daughter’s relationship with the church was transformed through learning that The Episcopal Church cares faithfully and proactively about the things that matter most to her. I am so grateful for the program and its amazing leaders.”
Registration forms and program information will be available on the General Convention website, www.generalconvention.org, in early 2021.