Starting Friday, July 8, running through the weekend and closing on Monday, July 11, the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church will convene in Baltimore, Maryland. The triennial event was impacted by the pandemic and did not meet last year, and the convention has been shortened from ten to four days, so this will be a busy session.
All the latest news, links to live video, and much more is available on the diocesan General Convention Webpage
Emily Davenport, Executive Assistant to Bishop Diane, will be in Baltimore to support Bishop Diane who is Secretary of the House of Bishops. Emily said, “all attendees must verify they have been vaccinated against COVID, wear masks, and physical distancing will be observed. Other groups, such as Episcopal Church Women, the Official Youth Presence, exhibitors, and visitors will not be attending.” These measures have been introduced to minimize the risk of infection by keeping the number of people present to the minimum necessary to complete the convention’s business.
Over 400 Resolutions have been submitted to be considered at this convention. Each resolution has been reviewed by a committee. Those that have been approved will be presented to the House of Bishops and House of Deputies for additional discussion. Resolutions not approved either go back to a committee for further discussion or will be dropped.
For a resolution to be approved by the convention, it must pass both houses in an identical form, much like the function of the United States Congress. There’s a handy infographic that explains this process on the diocesan General Convention webpage.
There is a huge variety of resolutions being considered at this shortened session, including liturgical changes, Book of Common Prayer revisions, Holy Women/Holy Men additions, social justice stances on various topics to name a few. The committee deliberations have been done via Zoom. The deliberations in the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies will be live-streamed for all to watch.
In addition, a new President of the House of Deputies will be elected to replace retiring President, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, and outgoing Vice President, Byron Rush. The incoming officers’ first term will be shortened to two years because of the pandemic but they can be reelected to a second three-year term at the next Convention.
West Missouri is represented by Bishop Diane in the House of Bishops, and we have 10 people ready to serve in the House of Deputies, four clergy deputies, four lay deputies, and one clergy and one lay alternate deputy.
Bishop Diane had this to say about the work of the deputies, “The work of your Diocesan Deputation is always of great importance as we gather together as The Episcopal Church every three (or in this case, four) years. Elections, votes on legislation, learning about our common work — this is the work of your deputation. Friendships are forged across dioceses and we meet and learn from each other. The same holds true for the work of the House of Bishops, where I serve as Secretary to the House. Please hold us in prayer are we go into this work.”
A brief introduction to the deputies follows.
- The Rev. Larry Ehren, alternate Clergy Deputy, has been the Priest in Charge at Mary Magdalene, Belton, for the past four years. He is married to the Rev. Christy Dorn and has two adult daughters. He is completing his Doctor of Ministry in Christian Spirituality from Virginia Theological Seminary. He is interested in both the Lay and Clergy formation committees in the upcoming Convention.
- The Rev. Johnathan Frazier, Clergy Deputy, is the Rector at St. Peter’s and All Saints, Kansas City. Fr. Jonathan is on the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry Board of Directors, a member of the Diocesan Council, and serves on several committees. Fr. Jonathan could not be contacted for comment.
- The Rev. Dr. Sean Kim, alternate Clergy Deputy is Associate Rector at St. Mary’s, Kansas City. Fr. Sean is standing in for the Rev. John Spicer, Rector of St. Andrew’s in Kansas City. Fr. John is unable to attend. Fr. Sean was born in South Korea, moving with his family to the Midwest at a very young age. He has studied at Cornell University, Harvard, and Bishop Kemper School for Ministry. He teaches East Asian and world history at the University of Central Missouri. He enjoys long walks with his retriever in his spare time and is interested in church history.
- The Rev. Anne Kyle, Clergy Deputy, is Rector at Calvary Church, Sedalia, and is the Deputation Chair. She is also pastor of the Christ and Trinity Lutheran (ELCA) Church in Sedalia. Mthr. Anne is a member of the Standing Committee. She is married and has a blended family of three adult children and three grandchildren. She loves to bike on trails and is a nurse. Resolution CO28 regarding the repeal of the canon prohibiting communion to unbaptized persons is important to her. In addition, the resolutions that interest her most are the church’s communion partnerships, emergency preparedness, and non-traditional clergy formation.
- The Rev. Charles Marks, Clergy Deputy, is Rector at St. Augustine’s, Kansas City, and the Transition Missioner for The Diocese of West Missouri. This is his first time serving as a deputy at the General Convention. He is particularly watching resolutions about the liturgical life of our Church, anti-racism and reconciliation, and ecumenism.
- Alexandra Connors, Lay Deputy from St. Paul’s, Kansas City, MO, is a lifelong member of the diocese. She has held many positions and been on many committees over the years, including currently on the Vestry, EFM, feeding ministries, and more. She is an avid runner and triathlete, volunteers at the animal shelter, and is an architect by profession. She is the Dispatch of Business for Committee 05, World Mission. In that capacity, she follows all the resolutions of that committee to make sure they are appropriately routed to the houses for voting.
- Curtis Hamilton, Lay Deputy from Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City, is the Secretary for the diocese and is on the Committees and Commission Committee. He is a sports fan and loves reading political biographies. He is the primary caregiver for his parents. He is particularly interested in the Resolutions about the Book of Common Prayer, the liturgy and music.
- Christine Morrison, alternate Lay Deputy, from Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City. She has volunteered with the children’s chapel, was on the Vestry, and is part of the Cathedral Live Streaming team along with her husband, Chris. In the community, she volunteers at Oak Park High school in the Theatre Department. She is a Business Intelligence Architect for SelectQuote. She is most interested in the Open Table Resolution, regarding communion with or without baptism, gun violence, and the Universal Paid Family Leave.
- Spencer Orr, Lay Deputy from Grace Episcopal Church in Carthage, has been in that parish for 30 years. He worked as a coordinator for Graduate Teacher Recruitment and Student Support within the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He enjoys playing the flute in his spare time. He has been on the Diocesan Council since 2018 and was a youth Mentor in the Youth Ministry program of the diocese. Spencer said he could not speak to particular Resolutions being considered. He is a first-time attendee to the Convention and will concentrate on keeping up, as he anticipates this session will be a hectic one.
- Amanda Perschall, Lay Deputy from Trinity Episcopal Church in Lebanon. She has attended the General Convention twice before as a volunteer with the diocesan youth program. She serves on the Diocesan Council and was the chair of the diocesan Nominations Committee. Amanda teaches high school government. She is most looking forward to discussions at the Convention surrounding church governance and structure in an effort to work more effectively together.
It is vital that all members of the Episcopal Church be familiar with the important work coming out of this convention. Hats off to the talented and dedicated people traveling to Baltimore to represent us in this, jampacked session.
For links to live video feeds from the convention, news, other information, and links to information sources, visit the diocesan General Convention webpage.