The Rev. Dr. Molly James of West Hartford, Connecticut, has been appointed deputy executive officer of the General Convention. In announcing this appointment, the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, secretary and executive officer of the General Convention, said, “Molly James brings enormous gifts and creativity to the work of the General Convention, becoming a central member of the talented team that forwards the governance of The Episcopal Church.”
James was selected after a churchwide search during the past several months. In this new role, she will oversee parochial and diocesan reporting; coordinate with other professionals working in convention and meeting planning; work collaboratively with the deputy for legislation; and assist the executive officer in his various ministries.
Prior to this appointment, James served on the Bishop’s staff for The Episcopal Church in Connecticut as dean of formation, helping to reimagine and administer the ordination process. She also serves as chair of the Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution and Canons. A deputy to General Convention in 2018, James chaired the Legislative Committee on Ministry. She was also a deputy at the 2015 General Convention, where she served as assistant secretary to the Legislative Committee on Governance and Structure. Ordained in 2005 by The Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen in her home state of Maine, James has served as a hospital chaplain and a parish priest. She holds a PhD in Theology from the University of Exeter (UK), a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Tufts University.
In Connecticut, James serves as an adjunct professor at Hartford Seminary and at the University of St. Joseph, focusing on ethics and pastoral care. Her doctoral research With Joyful Acceptance, Maybe focused on suffering and grief and was published in 2013 by Wipf and Stock. James has also served as co-chair of Young Clergy Women International (an ecumenical organization of clergy women under 40), and as a board member for the Society of Scholar Priests. James and her husband Reade (a mechanical engineer) live in West Hartford, CT with their two children, Katherine and Halsted.
About the Executive Office of the General Convention
The Executive Office of the General Convention, or the “GCO” as it is often called, is one of the three offices of The Episcopal Church (the others are the Office of the Presiding Bishop and the Office of the President of the House of Deputies). The GCO administers the governance of the Church, and does so in a variety of ways:
- The General Convention, the triennial meeting of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops, together with the meeting of the Episcopal Church Women and other concurrent meetings of Episcopal Church groups.
- The work of the Executive Council of the General Convention.
- The activities of the various interim bodies of the General Convention and the hundreds of volunteers who make up those bodies.
- Official meetings of the House of Bishops and any interim meetings of the House of Deputies.
- The ministry of various ecumenical, inter-religious, and inter-Anglican bodies of the Church.
- The church’s annual Parochial Report and associated research.
- Other duties arising out of General Convention and Executive Council.
The GCO also supports the executive officer in his/her various roles:
- As corporate secretary of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (“DFMS”: the New York-based religious not-for-profit corporation through which much of the church’s ministry operates).
- As secretary of the Executive Council.
- As registrar of the General Convention (with duties of certification and authentication for the consecration of bishops).
- Within the Anglican Communion, as provincial secretary of The Episcopal Church.
- As a principal officer of The Episcopal Church.