Preparing for General Convention

GC81 begins June 21st in Louisville, KY

Five deputies from the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast (DIOCGC) traveled to beautiful Kanuga Camp and Conference Center in the mountains of Western N. Carolina for Province IV Synod, May 8-10. I was joined by Joe McDaniel, Eugene Johnston, Jill Showers Chow, and John Talbert.

It’s a long drive to Kanuga, especially when you consider going through Atlanta is about the only way from here. Several of us experienced quite the challenge on the way up, as an accident and a high speed chase had I-85 north of Atlanta shut down for quite a while. After a strange and winding detour, we got back on 85 just before the South Carolina line, and then made it to Kanuga just in time for the opening reception and worship service.

Province IV incorporates most of the dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the southern and southeastern states. There are 20 dioceses in the Province, making Province IV the largest geographical province, and I believe also the province with the most church members. Lay and Clergy deputies were joined by the bishops of the respective dioceses for the Synod.

Province IV Synod meets a month or two before each General Convention. We have a variety of programming, elections of Provincial officers as well as lay and clergy representatives to the Executive Council, the body which serves sort of as the Vestry for the Episcopal Church in between General Conventions. DIOCGC is very well represented on the Executive Council. Lay Deputy Joe McDaniel was elected to a six year term at the 2022 General Convention (GC meets every 3 years but the 2021 convention was postponed a year due to Covid). And at the Synod our own Lay Deputy, Jill Showers Chow, was elected to a six year term as the Lay member from Province IV! Congratulations to Joe and Jill!

Usually at Synod, the Province will deal with resolutions to be sent to General Convention (resolutions can come from a Province, from a Diocese, from the House of Bishops, from an interim body such as a Task Force or Standing Committee created by GC, or from the House of Deputies (with a minimum of 3 deputies sponsoring the resolution). EVERY submitted resolution is assigned to a legislative committee, which will hold hearings (these are online now) and take action on the resolutions, which are then sent to the floor of each house (Bishops or Deputies). However, there was confusion from the Episcopal Church General Convention office to our provincial officers, who had been told the date of Synod is past the deadline for submitting resolutions to this year’s GC, so no resolutions were dealt with. We found out at Synod, via former DIOCGC priest Steve Pankey, who is deeply involved in the Rules of Order which govern such things, that this understanding was not correct, the only deadline for submitting resolutions is the 2nd legislative day of GC itself. This was a disappointing turn of events, but those interested in Provincial supported resolutions have other means to submit their resolutions by that date.

I know this is a lot of detail and few of my tremendous number of blog readers (j/k of course) may be interested in all this minutia, so my feelings are not hurt if you skip a lot of this!

Synod is also a wonderful time to catch up with old friends across the church. This is my 7th time to serve on a General Convention deputation – 4 times from the Diocese of Mississippi and 3 times from DIOCGC, where I have been honored each time to serve as the Deputation Chair. So I know a lot of these folks from previous conventions, as well as seminary classmates and a whole host of others whom I met through our disaster recovery experience following Hurricane Katrina. So despite Atlanta traffic, it was worth the whirlwind drive over Wednesday and back home Friday travel nightmare.

I plan to update this blog each day/night of General Convention. Along with some important resolutions I will be commenting on, at this GC the House of Bishops will elect our next Presiding Bishop, as the Most Reverend Michael Curry’s term ends this year. The PB serves a 9 year term. Bishop Curry has been a shining light for our church on the world stage. If you haven’t ever watched him preach, please go to YouTube and check it out, he is an amazing preacher, a kind soul, and a wonderful spokesperson for our church.

Stay tuned around June 20 or 21st for more updates. If you have questions or interests you would like me to comment on, please leave those in the comment section! God bless y’all!

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