[Episcopal News Service – Baltimore, Maryland] The fate of substitute Resolution A063, which would create a new staff position for The Episcopal Church – a director of LBGTQI and Women’s Ministries – now goes back to the House of Deputies, after the version it approved on July 9 was amended by the House of Bishops on July 10. Final approval by deputies is required for final passage if there is time for the resolution to be considered again in the shortened 80th General Convention.
The resolution directs the proposed new director to expand on the work done in the past quadrennium by the Task Force to Study Sexism in The Episcopal Church and Develop Anti-Sexism Training, through supervising anti-sexism training, collecting resources and data, and creating networks.
The original resolution would have created a director of Women’s Ministries but with fewer defined responsibilities. The amended version replaces the original text with the language of Resolution D096, expanding the work to support LGBTQI ministries, as well as women’s ministries.
The House of Bishops amended the resolution by striking the resolved clause that would place the new position under the supervision of the canon to the presiding bishop for ministry within The Episcopal Church, after Bishop W. Michie Klusmeyer of West Virginia noted that it is not the role of General Convention to tell the presiding bishop how to structure the staff.
A resolved clause that funded the position also was amended to conform to language usually used for budget requests. Klusmeyer noted that the full amount of $300,000 to find this position to 2024 was in the budget being proposed by the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance.
Original consideration of A063 was the responsibility of the legislative Committee on Churchwide Leadership, while D096 was assigned to the legislative Committee on Christian Formation and Discipleship, which had asked that the resolution be deferred to the 81st General Convention in 2024.
On July 9, several members of the Christian Formation and Discipleship Committee spoke against resolution A063 during the House of Deputies’ debate, including its chair, Katherine Karr-Cornejo of Spokane. She said the basic issue of fighting sexism is one of “formation, not staffing,” while the Rev. Terri Bays, a deputy from Northern Indiana, said that instead of a staff member the work needs “a network of decentralized resources that invite adaptation.” After extended discussion, deputies approved the resolution on an electronic vote of 442 to 329.
–Melodie Woerman is a member of the ENS General Convention news team and is the former director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas.