Disciple: Preview of the 80th General Convention
The 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, originally scheduled to gather July 7-14 in Baltimore, Maryland, is now, as of this writing, set to convene July 8-11. Though it was hoped General Convention would mark a return to being able to gather as a full body and celebrate without the cloud of COVID-19, the recent upsurge in cases has organizers re-examining plans.
On May 11, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings met with members of Executive Council via Zoom in a special session livestreamed for the public. At the meeting, it was announced that, due to COVID-19 concerns, the 80th General Convention, while still convening in person, will be “shorter and smaller” with enhanced safety protocols. Only business considered “essential legislation that cannot wait until 2024” will be conducted.
As of this writing, details of what all that means are being determined by a special working group tasked with restructuring the shorter, smaller General Convention. So far, they have recommended attendees be limited to “bishops, deputies, essential staff and volunteers, and a limited media presence;” eliminating exhibits; and “ask[ing] all church-affiliated organizations to refrain from holding events and receptions” during General Convention. The group also is focusing on additional key issues such as safety protocols; protocols and support for those who may contract COVID-19 while attending General Convention; and the proposed business and legislative matters, which are expected to include approval of the budget, elections—including the next president of the House of Deputies and members of Executive Council—and other critical issues. Decisions will not be made unilaterally; the working group will present their recommendations to Curry and Jennings, who are then canonically required to consult with the Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Arrangements and Executive Council before the revised plan is announced.
Though General Convention was unable to convene in 2021, the work of the Church never stopped. For months, legislative committees have met online. It was the first time they have done so, and it allowed planners already to reduce the timeline of General Convention from 10 days to eight before the even more condensed timeline was announced in May.
Though we await details of what the 80th General Convention will be, one thing that will not change is the many ways to keep up with the happenings of General Convention, both before and during the gathering:
Before General Convention:
- Bookmark generalconvention.org, the site that houses all things General Convention.
- Visit the General Convention page on the diocesan website for full coverage of North Carolina’s presence.
- Throughout June, watch for videos in Please Note and on social media from deputies explaining more about the hot topics and work to be done at Convention.
During General Convention
- Bookmark and follow bit.ly/GC80VirtualBinder, the online virtual binder, for access to everything deputies and bishops can view, including resolutions, committee reports, legislative committee meetings, calendars, agendas, daily journals, elections, floor amendments, communications, the constitution and canons, and when it is available, the budget. See what they see as they see it.
- Access available livestream coverage, daily recaps and interviews with deputies on the diocesan homepage.
- Follow #GC80 on Twitter for live updates throughout General Convention.
- Visit the Diocese on Facebook for photos, stories and more.
MEET THE GENERAL CONVENTION TEAM
Of course, the Diocese of North Carolina is represented in the House of Bishops by the Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman, bishop diocesan, and the Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple, bishop suffragan. Both bishops are serving in additional roles. Rodman is a member of the Racial Justice & Reconciliation Committee and a co-chair of the Presiding Officers’ Working Group on Truth-Telling, Reckoning and Healing. Hodges-Copple is the chair of the Governance & Structure Committee and a member of Executive Council.
The deputies representing the Diocese of North Carolina were elected at the 204th Annual Convention in 2019. It is notable that, for the first time, every deputy from the Diocese of North Carolina is serving on a legislative committee. Learn more about the deputies.
The Rev. Kevin Matthews
Campus & Young Adult Missioner, St. Mary’s House, Greensboro
The Rev. Kevin Matthews is a five-time deputy, and he is serving General Convention as a member of the Prayer Book, Liturgy & Music Committee.
The Rev. Jamie Edwards
Rector, St. Clement’s, Clemmons
The Rev. Jamie Edwards is a three-time deputy to General Convention and is serving on the Sexual Harassment, Sexual Exploitation, & Safeguarding Committee.
The Rev. Daniel Robayo
Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries, Diocese of NC
This is the first time the Rev. Daniel Robayo is serving as a deputy for the Diocese of North Carolina. He is a member of the Social Justice & United States Policy Committee.
The Rev. Sara Ardrey-Graves
Associate Rector, St. Paul’s, Winston-Salem
The Rev. Sara Ardrey-Graves is also a first-time deputy for the Diocese of North Carolina, and she is serving as a member of the Constitution & Canons Committee.
Also serving in the Clergy Order
First alternate: The Rev. Canon Dr. Sally French
Second alternate: The Rev. Helen Svoboda-Barber
Third alternate: The Rev. Jacob Pierce
Fourth alternate: The Rev. Linda Nye
Christ Church, Charlotte
Martha Alexander has been a deputy from the Diocese of North Carolina to the General Convention since 2003. This General Convention, she is a member of the World Missions Committee.
St. Mark’s, Wilson
Alice Freeman is a five-time deputy to General Convention. She is also a current member of Executive Council and is serving on the Evangelism & Church Planting Committee.
Christ Church, Raleigh
Delois Ward is a first-time deputy for the Diocese of North Carolina and is serving on the Sexual Harassment, Sexual Exploitation, & Safeguarding Committee.
St. Stephen’s, Durham
Megan Carlson is also a first-time deputy for the Diocese of North Carolina and is not only a member of the Resolution Review Committee but also is serving as the committee’s assistant secretary.
Also serving in the Lay Order
First alternate: Bryan Dougan
Second alternate: Jeremy Clos
Third alternate: Mars Nealson