In about four weeks, the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church will meet from July 5 – 13 in Austin, TX. Every three years, the two Houses of General Convention – the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies – meet as the primary governing and legislative body of The Episcopal Church. It is a time for legislation, fellowship, worship and community-building.
The Diocese of San Joaquin will be represented at the 79th General Convention (GC79) by Bishop David Rice and our Deputation: Cindy Smith (Lay 1 & Chair), Barbara Inderbitzen (Lay 2), Jan Dunlap (Lay 3), Cathy Henry (Lay 4), The Rev. Kathie Galicia (Clergy 1), the Rev. Suzy Ward (Clergy 2), The Rev. Canon Dr. Anna Carmichael (Clergy 3) and The Rev. Bob Woods (Clergy 4). Alternate deputies are Alexis Woods, Nedra Voorhees, The Rev. Dn. Nancy Key and The Rev. Dn. Carolyn Woodall – Alexis and Nancy will also be in Austin.
Why “deputy” and not delegate? Deputies are not delegates; that is, they do represent a diocese, but are deputized to make educated voting decisions not based on a constituency in their diocese, but based on their own prayerful consideration of each question and issue and the dictates of their conscience. They hear testimony, engage in debate and prayer, and are led by the Holy Spirit in their vote.
The Deputation for San Joaquin began our preparation for GC79 about a year ago when we gathered in Berkeley with the other five deputations from throughout California State to discuss the work to be done. Earlier this year, we met again with neighboring deputations (California & Northern California) to dig into the work of the committees, commissions, agencies and boards of the church (CCABs) – the interim bodies between our triennial General Conventions.
We have continued reviewing the work of the CCABs and the resulting resolutions with two day-long meetings of our deputation over the last two months. There we have examined and discussed the reports and resolutions contained in the1,200+ page Blue Book (“Blue Book” is a hold-over term from an earlier era – there is no longer a book with a blue cover. It now exists as a collection of downloadable web-based digital reports. But we all know how Episcopalians love tradition, so despite the fact that it’s neither a “book” nor “blue,” the title “Blue Book” remains!).
Our work at GC79 will include adopting legislation of concern to the Church; amending the Book of Common Prayer, and the Constitution and Canons of the Church; revisions to the Book of Occasional Services, and Lesser Feasts and Fasts; adopting a triennial budget for The Episcopal Church; and electing candidates to offices, boards and other committees. In addition to their work in the main legislative session with more than 800 deputies, five of our Deputies and Bishop David have been assigned to various legislative committees. During legislative committee meetings, resolutions are perfected and hearings are held to allow conversation and testimony. There is sure to be important and challenging work on resolutions submitted as the result of the Presiding Bishop’s focus on the three pillars of the Jesus Movement – Evangelism, Racial Reconciliation & Justice, and Environmental Stewardship.
The Deputation is planning to email a daily “Deputy Dispatch” to the Diocese throughout GC79 to keep you updated and informed on what’s happening in Austin. The eleven Dispatches will feature insights from our Bishop and each of our Deputies attending GC79, and additionally, easy access to information about General Convention. The “Deputy Dispatch” will be sent to anyone currently receiving the Friday Reflection. We hope you will enjoy this connection to our Diocese’s participation in the wider church.
We invite you to be part of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church through the experiences of your bishop and deputies.
San Joaquin Deputation Chair