General Convention: Deputy Bell’s Final Report

Deputy Kate Bell is a member of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Syracuse. 

And so it ends with a bang. House of Deputies President Gay Clark Jennings gaveled the House to a close. Then former President Jennings handed the gavel to new President Julia Ayala Harris. The work of General Convention 80 is over, and we will scatter to our various dioceses to continue doing the work of The Episcopal Church.

In these four days we dealt with over 400 resolutions, plus memorials, amendments, and a ton of Points of Order. We voted to put our efforts and resources into anti-racism, including to do an audit of our various historic moneys and where they came from. How much of what we now have was gained from slave labor? We committed to facing truth about Indigenous Boarding Schools, and begin healing our relationships with Indigenous communities. We voted to invest in bringing people from the margins (or between the bricks) better opportunities for growth and leadership.

We Deputies elected as our new President a Latina, and as our new Vice President an Indigenous (female) Priest. By this I mean to say we elected the finest among a rich pool of candidates, and they happened to not be of northern European descent. I am proud of both clauses of that sentence.

We struggled with issues of church governance and changes in the world around us. We did not have enough time to talk about everything we might have, and some things were referred to the next General Convention. At lunch after adjournment we differed in our interpretations of what we did and how things might move forward, so I really hope you hear from several of us to get a fuller picture. But whatever, it’s done.

Now we all have work to do, to work actively for the Kingdom of God—the Jesus Movement. I hope that we have strengthened the structure that supports us. That is holy work. No holier than the work we all do every day, whether we are Bishops, Clergy, or Laity. We are all called to the work of the church. I look forward to getting back to that—after about 24 hours of sleep.

Peace!

Kate

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