Church Governance

House of Bishops

All bishops of the Episcopal Church, active or retired, make up the House of Bishops. The House of Bishops has nearly 300 active members and comprises half of the governing body of the Episcopal Church. Like the governing body of the United States, the governing body of the Episcopal Church (called “the General Convention”) is comprised of two Houses: the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. They meet and act separately, and both Houses must concur to adopt legislation. General Convention meets every three years, and the House of Bishops meets twice a year between conventions in a non-legislative capacity. The Presiding Bishop is the president of the House of Bishops. 

“A bishop in God’s holy Church is called to be one with the apostles in proclaiming Christ’s resurrection and interpreting the Gospel, and to testify to Christ’s sovereignty as Lord of lords and King of kings. You are called to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church; to celebrate and to provide for the administration of the sacraments of the New Covenant; to ordain priests and deacons and to join in ordaining bishops; and to be in all things a faithful pastor and wholesome example for the entire flock of Christ. With your fellow bishops you will share in the leadership of the Church throughout the world. Your heritage is the faith of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and those of every generation who have looked to God in hope. Your joy will be to follow him who came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 517).

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