General Convention, the governing body of The Episcopal Church in the United States and in 16 dioceses in other countries, meets July 5-12 in Indianapolis to decide many issues including whether un-baptized people should be allowed to receive communion routinely (currently they are not), confirm (or not) bishops recently elected by eight dioceses (including Virginia), and possibly make large changes in our church’s operating structure.

Click here to visit the General Convention website which has up-to-date information on the convention.

Currently, nearly 300 resolutions have been filed for action. Most of the redrafting and debate takes place in the 24 legislative committees.

Virginia’s lay deputies are Cindi Bartol and Russ Randle (both from Christ Church), Joseph Royster (Meade Memorial, Alexandria), and J.P. Causey (St. John’s, West Point). Our clergy deputies are the Rev. Dr. Hilary Smith (St. Paul’s on the Hill, Winchester), the Rev. Dr. Robert Prichard (Virginia Theological Seminary faculty), the Rev. Lynn Washington (St. Peter’s, Richmond), and the Rev. Jim Papile (St. Anne’s, Reston). Deputies, elected at the previous year’s Diocesan Council, differ from delegates. They are to vote their conscience for the good of the whole church, not to represent a parochial or diocesan instruction, vote or consensus on any issue.

Key controversies at Convention include:

  • declining revenue and harsh cuts at the national level
  • changes in church structure intended to focus more resources on mission
  • rejection or approval of the Anglican Covenant
  • possible adoption of trial liturgies to bless same gender unions. 

Please pray for wisdom at Convention and for unity in our church and with all Christians as deputies prepare ourselves. In particular, please pray for Virginia’s bishops and deputies, including our Bishop Suffragan-elect, the Rev. Canon Susan Goff, whose election must be approved by Convention in order for her July 28, 2012 consecration to take place.