[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to the House of Bishops and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings has written to the House of Deputies outlining details of elections and confirmations that will occur during General Convention.
The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church is June 25 – July 3, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It comprises the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with more than 800 clergy and lay deputies elected from the 108 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church.
In her letter, President Jennings provides deputies with a checklist of elections and confirmations to be held in the House of Deputies and the schedule on which the work will be done. “General Convention meets just once every three years, so we deputies have a great responsibility to elect and confirm many of the people who do the work of the church in between conventions,” wrote President Jennings. “At this convention, we’ll elect 50 people to nine different positions, confirm House of Bishops elections of 17 people, including a new Presiding Bishop, and confirm 13 people appointed by the presiding officers.”
The Presiding Bishop’s letter was written to inform the bishops and to address any confusion. “There is a good deal of rumor and misinformation floating around, which I would like to lay to rest – in peace, and not to rise again!,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori wrote.
Election of the Presiding Bishop
The nominees for Presiding Bishop will be presented to a joint meeting of the Bishops and Deputies on Wednesday, June 24. The formal nominations for Presiding Bishop will be made at a joint session of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops on Friday, June 26, with the election scheduled for Saturday, June 27.
Bishops will gather at the Convention Eucharist at 9:30 a.m. in the Salt Palace. Following that, the bishops with seat, voice, and vote will board buses to travel to St. Mark’s Cathedral, where the election will take place in the context of prayer and reflection.
Once an election has taken place, the Presiding Bishop will send a delegation to the President of the House of Deputies to inform her of the name of the bishop who has been elected. President Jennings will refer the name to the House of Deputies legislative committee on the Confirmation of the Presiding Bishop without announcing the name to the full House. The legislative committee will make a recommendation to the House of Deputies whether to confirm the election or not confirm, and the House of Deputies will immediately vote on the recommendation. President Jennings will then appoint a delegation from the House of Deputies to notify the House of Bishops of the action taken.
Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori added, “No communication is permitted from the House of Bishops during the election and until confirmation is received. I know this will be a challenge, but ask your cooperation and faithfulness to our mutual life and accountability.”
The House of Bishops and House of Deputies will elect and confirm General Convention officers and members of many other church leadership bodies including Executive Council; Disciplinary Board for Bishops; Trustees of General Theological Seminary; Trustees of the Church Pension Fund; Board of Transition Ministry; and Archives of The Episcopal Church.