The General Convention normally meets every three years and is the governing body of The Episcopal Church. It is composed of the House of Deputies, with nearly 900 clergy and lay deputies elected from the church’s 109 dioceses and area missions, and the House of Bishops, with over 200 active and retired bishops.
Are you curious about what happens when the General Convention legislative committees hold open hearings to discuss proposed legislation affecting the entire church?
Have you ever wanted to give direct input into The Episcopal Church’s legislative process but couldn’t attend the whole convention?
In preparation for the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2022, the process has been revised to allow for greater direct participation in the legislative process from the wider church from home.
The business of the convention take the form of resolutions that must be passed by both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops in order to be adopted. Resolutions come to the convention from the taskforces and committees that operate between conventions as well as from bishops, dioceses, provinces, and deputies.
After their initial submission, resolutions are assigned to relevant legislative committees composed of deputies and bishops. These committees study the proposed legislation and make modifications as needed. The committees also hear public testimony on all resolutions before they come to the convention for futher discussion and vote. The legislative committees are required to hold at least one public hearing on each resolution at which anyone is allowed to “testify” or provide input to the committee.
In previous years, legislative committees did not begin meeting until gathered on-site for the General Convention, requiring speakers to be physically present to provide their perspective to the committee. This time around, the process has changed such that legislative committees began meeting online in November – nine months before the official start of the 80th General Convention, July 7-14, 2022. Online public legislative hearings will begin as early as mid-February 2022.
In addition to increasing access to the process for the wider church, by holding hearings online ahead of the convention, the time spent on the ground in Baltimore will be shorter and at a reduced cost from prior conventions.
The elected deputations of Eastern and Western Michigan have begun meeting monthly to build relationships with one another and monitor legislation. We will be tracking the hearings and testifying to specific areas of interest and expertise. We strongly encourage our wider diocese to take advantage of this unique access to the legislative process by observing the hearings and testifying if you wish.
Click here for a list of legislative committees that will consider resolutions.
Click here to access the Virtual Binder where, once available, all proposed resolutions will be available.
Click here to access the schedule of legislative hearings. Please pay attention to whether the meeting includes time for open discussion and whether it’s held by the House of Bishops, House of Deputies, or as a Joint Committee.
Click here to participate in a survey about the proposed church-wide budget for 2023-2024.
Please note that all matters of legislative committee meetings are subject to the rules established by that particular House (House of Bishops Rules and House of Deputies Rules). Prior to open legislative hearings, committee meetings remain open to non-committee members to observe. Requests must be submitted at least two business days ahead of the meeting and observers must agree to a code of conduct in order to participate.
Several of our deputation members are serving on committees during the General Convention:
The Rev. Jennifer Adams (Grace, Holland) – Chair, Ministry
The Rev. Brian Coleman (St. Thomas, Battle Creek) – Stewardship & Socially Responsible Investing
Anne Davidson (St. Mark’s, Coldwater) – Chair, Certification of Minutes
Bill Fleener, Jr. (St. David’s, Lansing) – Program, Budget & Finance
Dr. Elizabeth Jordan (St. Paul’s, Flint) – Vice Chair, Ecumenical & Interreligious Relations
The Rev. Pamela Lenartowicz (St. Andrew’s, Gaylord) – Rules of Order
Ellen McVey (St. John’s, Midland) – Sexual Harassment/Safeguarding
Carol Moggo (St. Francis, Grayling) – Environmental Stewardship & Care of Creation
The Rev. William Spaid (Kalamazoo) – Constitution and Canons
The Rev. Canon Michael Spencer (Dio Staff, Grand Blanc) – Dispatch of Business
As the chairs of your deputations to General Convention, we sincerely hope that you will take advantage of this unique opportunity available to the wider church to observe and participate in the legislative process. Also, if you have questions about the process or anything else related to General Convention, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Ellen McVey (St. John’s, Midland)
The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan
Bill Fleener, Jr. (St. David’s, Lansing)
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan