The WHISPER

special edition - The 81st General Convention

Meet the newly elected Presiding Bishop & President of the House of Deputies

GENERAL CONVENTION

from the desk of the the Rev. Dr. Robert Moses


From June 23-28 in Louisville, Kentucky, deputies (lay and clergy delegates) together with the bishops, met for the 81st General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Since the formation of The Episcopal Church after the American Revolution, General Convention has been the way that Episcopalians have important questions before us. Convention authorizes the Book of Common Prayer and gives life to the public prayer and liturgy that express the beliefs and spirituality of our church. Convention makes major decisions about church governance and life - like extending ordination to women in 1976 and the rites of holy Matrimony to same-sex couples in 2015. Convention approves a triennial budget for The Episcopal Church, thus (partly) directing how we will participate in the Jesus movement and mission over that time. Convention considers a great many resolutions that gave life and vitality to our presence in the public square.


At General Convention, lay people, deacons, priests, and bishops come together in two Houses - of Deputies and of Bishops - to listen, discuss, and vote on the most important decisions before The Episcopal Church. Our church is not ruled - not by bishops, archbishops, or a pope - but, rather, it is governed and lead by all of God's people working together. All manner of people contribute a shared wisdom.


Of particular interest at the 81st General Convention is the election of two executive officers. First, the House of Deputies will elect a president to serve a three-year term. Second, the House of Bishops will elect a new Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church to a nine-year term. The Most Rev. Michael Curry has served for nine years (having been elected at the 78th General Convention in 2015) and is retiring. A new Presiding Bishop will be elected to a nine year term, taking seat on November 1, 2024.


You can listen to or read the remarks of both the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe and the Hon. Julia Ayala Harris below.

Election of the Presiding Bishop

The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, bishop of the Episcopal Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York, was elected and confirmed the 28th presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church for a nine-year term (beginning November 1).


Election of the President of the House of Deputies

Julia Ayala Harris, a deputy from the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, was reelected as president of the House of Deputies. Ayala Harris was originally elected at the 80th General Convention in 2022 and will now serve a second three year term.

Biography of the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe


about the office of the Presiding Bishop


Biography of the Hon. Julia Ayala Harris


about the office of the President of the House of Deputies

Sermon by

the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe,

Presiding Bishop-elect

at the closing Eucharist of the 81st General Convention of The Episcopal Church


"We are standing firm in the face of those. We’re holding fast to our promise to uphold the full inclusion of LGBTQI+ persons as children of God. We’re proclaiming and investing in our longing to become a Beloved Community. We’re committing to caring for God’s creation and respecting the dignity of every human being.


"And we are not backing down in our proclamation of the Gospel just because other people who understand it differently are bigger or think they’re more powerful or louder or have a vision that denies humanity."

Click below to hear the sermon in full or to read a transcript.

SERMON BY

PRESIDING BISHOP-ELECT

SEAN ROWE

Remarks by

the Hon. Julia Ayala Harris,

President of the House of Deputies

at the closing Eucharist of the 81st General Convention of The Episcopal Church


"We as Episcopalians, we have a story both communally and individually. So what is the story that we carry as Episcopalians, and how does that story affect how we do racial reckoning? How we think about climate justice, how we go about evangelism? Because these stories also give meaning to our lives and define how we go about the world and doing the business of church...


In this moment, our church is being called to transform its story."

Click below to hear the remarks in full or to read a transcript.

REMARKS BY THE HON. JULIA AYALA HARRIS

Other Resolutions & Actions at General Convention

Defining the Book of Common Prayer - The Convention authorized a new definition of "The Book of Common Prayer" to include all "those liturgical forms and other texts authorized by the General Convention in accordance with this article and the Canons of this Church." Henceforth, any liturgy authorized by General Convention in accordance with our Constitution and Canons will be elevated to prayer-book status.


Communion across Differences - Convention formally amended the canons to acknowledge "two teachings on marriage, and to protect access to ordination, deployment, and canonical residency for clergy irrespective of their conscientiously held belief that marriage is between a man and a woman or between two persons.” The resolution offers protection to candidates for holy orders and to clergy who hold a different view of marriage than their Diocesan Bishop.


Cuba & Navajoland - The Diocese of Cuba joined the Convention of The Episcopal Church with voice and vote for the first time and The Episcopal Church in Navajoland was admitted to the Convention as a Missionary Diocese (thus gaining greater autonomy in electing their own bishops).


Racial Justice, Peace, & Truth Telling - Resolutions were passed renouncing The Episcopal Church's use of its theology and spiritual authority to prop up slavery, the abusive treatment of Indigenous peoples in boarding schools, and the often coercive treatment of unwed mothers.

Christ The King Episcopal Church

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Rev. Dr. Robert Moses, Priest-in-Charge

Judy Heath, Office Administrator