General Convention began on July 5th in Austin, TX. This meeting sets the mission priorities, budget and policies of the Episcopal Church for the next three years. It approves changes to the Church’s Constitution and Canons, and broadly defines the standards of worship. (You can read more on the basics of General Convention here.)
Some of the issues to be addressed at this year’s General Convention include: revision of the Book of Common Prayer; racial reconciliation, including strengthened anti-racism training requirements; environmental stewardship, including proposals for “green” loans, a carbon tax and fossil fuel divestment; strategic development of new congregations, including budget requests of $6.8M to fund a churchwide network for church planting over the next triennium; and public policy advocacy to address environmental racism, human trafficking, immigration reform and transgender access, among other issues of national and international concern.
(A blog, Seven whole days, has assembled a list of resolutions here and commentary on them.)
The House of Deputies is one of the legislative houses of the General Convention, the other is the House of Bishops. The House of Deputies has equal numbers of clergy and lay deputies elected by each of the 109 dioceses and one convocation of Episcopal Church congregations in Europe. Like bishops, deputies cannot be instructed to vote one way or another by their diocese. They agree to come to General Convention with open hearts so that they can prayerfully listen to others and be led by the Holy Spirit.
The list of deputies and alternates going to Convention from the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania is as follows.
Kathy Andonian Holy Spirit, Harleysville
Kirk Berlenbach Staff of the Offices of the Diocese
Christopher Hart St. Mary’s, Wayne
Jo Ann Jones Redeemer, Bryn Mawr
Karen Lash Holy Innocents/St. Paul’s, Tacony
Jill Mathis Grace Epiphany, Mt. Airy
Koshy Matthews St. Peter’s, Phoenixville
Kirk Muller Redemption, Southampton
Pam Nesbit Cathedral, Philadelphia
Hillary Raining St. Christopher’s, Gladwyne
George Vosburgh St. David’s, Radnor
Liz Wendt Trinity, Ambler