Every three years, the Episcopal Church gathers for its General Convention -- a two week assembly of Episcopalians from all over the country and the world who conduct the business of the Church, worship together, enjoy fellowship, and much, much more. Each diocese sends lay and ordained deputies to vote on resolutions and serve on committees. My wife, Megan, is one of the clergy deputies for the Diocese of Bethlehem, so Lydia and I are going along for the ride! This year's convention will be held in Austin, TX. It is the seventy-ninth General Convention of the Episcopal Church -- the first one was in 1785 in Philadelphia!
The resolutions passed at General Convention typically have an impact on the wider Church -- they can involve our liturgies, finances, and ministries, among other things. Lots of things happen, but the proceedings are often under-reported for those folks who can't make it in person. Over the last few conventions, Facebook and Twitter have made it much easier to follow along from home, and this year will be no different. The hashtag for the event is #GC79, and it will be widely used over the course of the convention.
Just like in our home diocese of Bethlehem, the business of the Church matters for our parish and every parish. Think of General Convention as a really important Parish Annual Meeting, but it's for the whole Church and it only happens once every three years. It is an exhaustive, and, from what I hear, exhausting, time for the Church. Yet it is one we look forward to every three years as a time to come together as a denominational family to discern where the Holy Spirit may be guiding us for the next three years and further into the future.
To keep us better informed, I will be blogging each day from GC79. I'll try to update you on important votes each day, what the assembly heard from speakers or in worship, and any other interesting goings-on around convention. I welcome your comments and questions, and I'll do all I can to reply.
Look for an update around July 4th!
Grace and peace,