General Convention Primer
The General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church (TEC) that meets every three years. The Convention is a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. The work at Convention is carried out by deputies and bishops representing each diocese. During its triennial meeting deputies and bishops consider a wide range of important matters facing the Church. Convention will be meeting July 5-12, 2012 (with some hearings and legislative committee work beginning on July 3) in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Who goes to General Convention? Besides bishops and deputies (4 clergy and 4 lay persons elected from each diocese, plus alternate deputies sometimes), there are numerous others who attend: Executive Council members; members of Standing Commissions, Boards and Committees; seminary representatives; staff of the Domestic & Foreign Missionary Society (aka The Episcopal Church); representatives from other denominations; exhibitors (there is a huge exhibit hall) representing many agencies, organizations, programs, publishers, and more. There are many visitors and many, many volunteers. The Episcopal Church Women (ECW) also holds their triennial event concurrently, offering speakers and workshops to its members.
- What about children? In 2006, General Convention passed a resolution stating that there must be programming offered to children during GC. Learn more about the 2012 Children’s Program.
- What about youth? In past conventions there has been a Youth Gathering, but due to lack of funding this will not be held in 2012. Instead, the Province V Youth Minister’s Network will host a Youth Hospitality Suite.
- Young Adults? There will be a Young Adult Festival from July 5-12 for ages 18-30.
- What is the “Official Youth Presence”? Two high school-aged teenagers from each of the nine provinces of the Episcopal Church are chosen through an application process to take seat and have voice in the House of Deputies at General Convention.
- How can I make my voice heard? Contact your bishop and deputies by e-mail or phone and tell them what you’re passionate about. If possible, attend your Provincial Synod meeting in which deputations from the dioceses in your province will be gathering to discuss the budget and other issues to come before General Convention. Here’s a Provincial map to find what province your diocese is part of.
Important links and data to be informed (and help inform) those who are bishops and deputies from your diocese:
- List of Diocesan deputations
- List of Legislative committees and their members (bishops and deputies)
- General Convention schedule.
- List of bishops and deputies who are on the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F)
- Budget Feedback Site: A website for learning more about the proposed budget and voice your thoughts, feedback and opinion.
Important dates to make your voice heard:
- Provincial Synod meetings: Province I – April 13, Province II – May 3 & 4, Province III – April 30 & May 1, Province IV – June 6-8, Province V – April 24 & 25, Province VI – April 26 & 27, Province VII, Province VIII – May 19 (on line), Province IX
- Program, Budget & Finance Committee Hearing on Budget Priorities – Wednesday, July 4 at 12:30-1:30pm (get there early to sign up to speak)
- Program, Budget & Finance Hearings – Friday, July 6 & Saturday, July 7 at 7:30-9:00pm (get there early to sign up to speak)
- Legislative Committee Meetings (Hearing are often scheduled at these times also) – Wednesday, July 4 (8:00am-12:00pm & 5:00-7:00pm); Thursday, July 5 (8:00-9:00am; 11:15am-12:45pm; 2:00-4:00pm), Friday, July 6 (7:30-9:00am & 2:00-4:00pm), Saturday, July 7 (7:30-9:00am), Monday, July 9 (7:30-9:00am), Tuesday, July 10 (7:30-9:00am), and Wednesday, July 11 (7:30-9:00am)
- Legislative Committee Hearings – Thursday, July 5 (7:30-9:00pm)
More questions? Ask them here and we’ll try to find an answer!