General Convention Actions

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The actions of General Convention are posted on the General Convention website.  Verification of concurrent action by the Houses of Bishops and Deputies will take a few days, but it will be official soon.  All resolutions in their final form also can be seen online.

Gospel Choirs Sing at Convention

The Gospel Choirs of Saint Augustine’s College in North Carolina and Voorhees College in South Carolina (both historically Black Colleges associated with the Episcopal Church) sang at a Convention Eucharist.  See if you can spot Karyn Robbins in the video!

President Obama Sends Congratulations

Presiding Obama sent a letter to Presiding Bishop Elect Michael Curry that was read at the final Convention Eucharist by Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori.

During the closing Eucharist of General Convention on July 3, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori reads a letter from President Barack Obama congratulating North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry, right, upon his election as the Episcopal Church's first African-American presiding bishop. Photo: Sharon Sheridan/Episcopal News Service

Bishop Curry Preaches at Final Convention Eucharist

The Presiding Bishop Elect, Michael Curry, preached at the final Convention Eucharist on July 3rd.  It can be accessed here:

Day 7 of General Convention

Today was an historic day, a day I can imagine looking back on with an enormous amount of personal pride in saying that “I was there”. I was there, in the room, when our beloved Episcopal Church formally opened the sacrament of marriage to all those seeking to celebrate and bless the covenant relationship gifted to them by God. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Our morning session continued the structure conversation I mentioned in the Day 6 blog. Translations were in order and all three resolutions have been passed and now make their way to the House of Bishops for concurrence. If you have been reading my posts, you know that I have spent many hours sitting in on sessions of Committee #5 – Governance and Structure. It was wonderful to see their hard work finally come to the floor and pass with minimal amendments. They should be proud of the course they have helped set for our Church.

A joint session with the House of Bishops presented the triennial budget as prepared by Program, Budget and Finance. Bishop Steve Lane, former Canon to the Ordinary in Rochester, is co-chair of this important committee and participated in the presentation to both Houses. It is always a joy to gather with our Bishops and discuss these important matters together.

Chris & Prince

Finally, we came to the two pieces of legislation that called many of us to want to serve as deputies to this General Convention: A054 (Adopt Liturgical Resources “I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing) and A036 (Amend Marriage Canon). I was proud of us today. Not because of the outcome of debate and voting, but because of the manner in which debate and voting was conducted. Differing viewpoints were shared freely. Dissenting testimony was given equal weight. There was no gloating. There was no applause when the results were shared. It was an afternoon grounded in prayer and mutual respect, a true gathering of the Body of Christ. For more on this historic session of the House of Deputies, I commend the excellent article in today’s Deputy News, which can be found here. For those keeping track, here are the final vote tallies for A054 and A036, respectively:

A054 Vote Totals

A036 Vote Totals

Tonight was Utah Night, a presentation of music and dance at the Mormon Tabernacle. Paul and I went straight over and were blessed with great seats. It ended up being a little over 2 1/2 hours long, which was a bit much after such a long and emotional day on the legislative floor. That said, some of the groups were absolutely fantastic.


I was particularly moved by the Lux Singers, currently in residence at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Provo. If you have a spare few moments, check them out – you won’t be disappointed. They sang Rene Clausen’s Prayer – a personal favorite – as beautiful as I have heard it. The text is adapted from a prayer of Teresa of Calcutta:

Help me spread Your fragrance wherever I go.

Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.

Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that my life may be only a radiance of Yours.

Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I know will feel Your presence in my soul.

Let them look up and see no longer me, but only You.


Blessings and peace,

Chris Streeter, Clergy Deputy

Day 6 at General Convention

Day 6 opened with a 7:30 am meeting of Committee 5 in preparation for the debate of three substantive resolutions this afternoon. Much time and deliberation has gone into these resolutions. Like others on the committee, I came to Salt Lake City with viewpoints that have now changed. I was, for example, initially in favor of the call to reduce the size of Executive Council by 50%. Having heard more of the working nature of the group and the need to populate its various subcommittees and task forces, I have landed in a different place.

Worship was, once again, nourishing to mind, soul and spirit. Not since my seminary days have I enjoyed the discipline and joy of daily Eucharist, and certainly not with this caliber of preaching and music. All bulletins from worship have been made available to us, and can be found here.

Our first session was a joint session with bishops and alternates around the 5 Marks of Mission:

  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  • To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
  • To respond to human need by loving service
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

It was a gift to spend time in conversation with one another and our Bishop noting how we might translate some of what we how observed in Salt Like City to our context as the Body of Christ in Western New York.

The afternoon session was scheduled to be a marathon running from 2:15 to 7:30 pm. Debate on Resolutions A159 and A158 from Committee #22 – Alcohol and other Drug Abuse – was rich and passionate. We claim a desire to welcome all to our communities, but need to acknowledge the unwelcoming and damaging role alcohol can play in our efforts to build the Kingdom. Responsibility for this lies with Rector and Vestry, and I’m grateful for the suggested guidelines proposed.

We held elections for 18 members to the Joint Nominating Committee for the Presiding Bishop. This group would serve in case Bishop Curry became unable to fulfill his ministry over the first three of his nine year term. We pray that these fine folks will not be called to serve and that this committee will not meet until it is time to elect the 28th Presiding Bishop! I spent time reviewing the biographies of these candidates over the lunch period, but it is a lot to digest. Several around me, including other deputations, seemed disengaged from this process, voting based on which name they preferred or simply not voting at all. I wonder if perhaps the provinces should elect their own representation.

A focal point was the introduction of three resolutions from Committee #5 on Governance and Structure: A004 (Restructuring Executive Council), A006 (Eliminating most Standing Commissions of Council) and D013 (Budget Process).

These three resolutions were presented, followed by a lengthy question and answer period. The rules of debate were suspended to allow all questions to be answered without a deputy calling for an immediate vote. Just as the question period ended and debate was about to begin on the first structure resolution, a point of order was made that translations of these three resolutions were not available. It was decided, in fairness and respect to our Spanish speaking deputies, that the House would table this discussion until 11 am on Wednesday.

I had been looking forward to Tuesday evening since arriving as this was the suggested time for seminary gatherings. Virginia Theological Seminary had well over 200 in attendance. It was a treat to sit with classmates who now serve in Mississippi and Kansas and talk about our families.

VTS Reunion

All of us left with a copy of Bishop Andrew Doyle’s new book, published by the VTS Press. It was a great night; I’m so blessed to have spent time on the Holy Hill in Alexandria, and thankful to Dean Markham for providing this opportunity to reconnect.

Doyle Book

So, another full day at General Convention. One final note: we learned that the budget has been published and may be found on the General Convention homepage. This will no doubt consume much of the precious little legislative time we have left. Hard to believe we’ve been here for over a week!

Blessings and peace,

Chris Streeter, Clergy Deputy

Days 4 & 5 at General Convention

I decided to take a sabbath from blog posts on Sunday…the inherent problem there is that now I’ll need to squeeze two days worth of action into this single post! I will attempt to keep it brief. As with all my posts, I would note that I will address only a small portion of the legislative calendar. Please do consider exploring the General Convention website if you would like a detailed accounting of the day’s activity. I have been most impressed with how quickly they are able to give progress updates, and will not duplicate their fine work.

The Sabbath began with a 7 a.m. peace walk against gun violence, which drew several hundred participants to the Salt Palace. I’m grateful that our Bishop took part in this event and encouraged us to take part. Presiding Bishop-Elect Michael Curry was the final speaker, and as usual, he did not disappoint. He knows when to bring it, and on Sunday morning, he brought it.

10 a.m. worship drew almost double the crowd of previous days. We are told that the worship space can hold 5,000, and I would estimate 3,500 in attendance, perhaps closer to 4,000. That’s a lot of Episcopalians in one room! The service was exceptional – from the choir and brass to the wonderful preaching from our Presiding Bishop. I ended up sitting near the back of the space with a seminary classmate who was entertaining his 9 month old daughter, which naturally made me miss Abigail. I also had the chance to see and chat with the dean of Virginia Seminary and am very much looking forward to the seminary reunion on Tuesday evening.

The House of Deputies met for a 4 hour session Sunday afternoon. Several resolutions came to the floor, but much of our time was spent putting the electronic electing system through its paces. Human error threw a few wrenches into the works, causing the House to proceed to other business. A good bit of unexpected debate arose around possible locations for General Convention 2021. Deputies began offering amendments to include some of their “favorite” cities, which opened a can of worms. One comment of substance asked whether dioceses which are not paying their full apportionment to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (The Episcopal Church) should be eligible to host General Convention. In the end, this resolution was wisely referred back to the original committee for further deliberation, but it did allow the House to sample the process around secondary amendments. A quick caucus for Province II, and we were dismissed for the evening.


Monday, June 29th, was Day 5. I attended the 7:30 a.m. meeting for Committee #5 on Governance and Structure. One resolution is scheduled for today, paving the way for some of the more contentious resolutions tomorrow and Wednesday. I’m glad to have spent the bulk of my committee time following this one committee rather than jumping from hearing to hearing. I feel that I have a sense of the trajectory and journey this group has walked during their time in Salt Lake, and am grateful for the service they are offering to us. Worship was once again splendid and helped make the 2 hour legislative session feel blessedly brief. During session we finished electing members to several governing bodies.

The 4 hour afternoon session saw matters starting to heat up a bit – a taste of what is yet to come. Resolution D003 proposed an amendment to our constitution to allow for dioceses to merge or otherwise reorganize themselves in the absence of a Bishop. While this may seem a minor tweak, it paves the way for other resolutions Committee #5 (Governance and Structure) will be bringing to the floor. If this had not passed, several resolutions would have required amending before coming to the House of Deputies. For more on this governance debate, I commend an excellent article in today’s Deputy News titled “Promoting Diocesan Collaboration”.

Many resolutions followed (again, I would invite you to explore the GC website for details), but I would highlight Resolution A037 from Committee #20 – the special legislative committee on marriage.  This resolution had already been passed by the House of Bishops; the House of Deputies was being asked to concur. Amendments were presented, but some voiced concern that if we add too many changes, it might not make it through the House of Bishops a second time. I cannot say whether or not this was a valid concern, but I believe the resolution is strong as presented and saw no great benefit in any of the minor amendments suggested. The House voted to concur. At the same time the House of Deputies was debating A037, the House of Bishops was voting to send Resolution A036 to the House of Deputies. Now we’re cooking! This amendment proposes a constitutional change to the marriage canons. Glad it made its way successfully through the House of Bishops, and looking forward to debate in our House.

Well, it turns out this wasn’t so brief. Thanks on behalf of the Rochester deputation for continued prayers.

Blessings and peace,

Chris Streeter. Clergy Deputy