July 9 dispatches from 80th General Convention in Baltimore

Posted Jul 9, 2022

[Episcopal News Service – Baltimore, Maryland] Much happens each day during General Convention. To complement Episcopal News Service’s primary coverage, we have collected some additional news items from July 9. Full ENS coverage of the 80th General Convention can be found here.

House of Bishops asks for review of bishop disciplinary process

The House of Bishops passed a resolution July 9 calling for a review of the Presiding Bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development and the Title IV process, especially when a bishop is the respondent.

The Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution, and Canons would conduct the review, according to Resolution D095. The review would include examining the consistency of Title IV processes for priests, deacons and bishops; the process of episcopal transition, especially the placement of interim or bishops provisional; and “other pastoral care offered and authority exercised by the office.”

The disciplinary process is outlined in Title IV of the church’s constitution and canons.

Resolution D095 was proposed by a group of Western and Eastern Michigan Episcopalians after their experience involving the Rt. Rev. Whayne Hougland Jr., former bishop of the dioceses of Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan. He was suspended from episcopal ministry in June 2020 for a year after admitting to an extramarital affair.

They said that when applied to bishops the disciplinary process can “perpetuate systemic, white male, episcopal privilege in a way that is costly to the church in terms of money, members, and institutional integrity.” The deputies say, “the system not only took care of him [emphasis in original], it did so in extremely expensive ways, to the financial and emotional cost of those whom he had vowed to pastor, in the name of ‘healing’ and ‘reconciliation.’” They contend that the dioceses received “almost none” of the sorts of support that Hougland did.

Western and Eastern Michigan Bishop Provisional Prince Singh told the House of Bishops July 9 that he believed such a study would help Episcopalians in those two dioceses heal from the “trauma” they experience during the disciplinary process. And, he said, the review could discern “the ways in which the process can be made better.”


The bishops also passed Resolution A143 asking the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider an increased budget allocation for the Office of Pastoral Development sufficient to add a permanent senior staff position.

Both resolutions now go to the House of Deputies.

— Mary Frances Schjonberg

House of Bishops endorses bishop election reform, historical audit, LGBTQ+ task force

In its morning session, the House of Bishops passed several resolutions on social justice in church leadership. D080, dealing with the selection of bishops for Navajoland, was adopted and sent to the House of Deputies. It encourages canonical changes that would give the people of Navajoland more control over the selection of their bishops, who have been assigned by vote of the House of Bishops because Navajoland is a mission and not a diocese.

Navajoland Bishop David Bailey spoke in support of the resolution, which encourages the development of culturally relevant methods of discernment for bishop elections and participation by the people of Navajoland in the election.

“Our hope is that sometime in the future, we might be a full diocese” with a locally chosen bishop, Bailey said.

The bishops concurred with the House of Deputies on A129, which directs the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (the church’s corporate entity) to examine the history of its assets for ties to the slave trade and other racial injustices, “in order to tell the story of our history and to report the results to the Executive Council prior to the 81st General Convention.” It authorizes $150,000 for this audit and encourages dioceses to conduct their own audits.

The bishops adopted D093, which deals with fair representation in discernment processes, sending it to the deputies. Though its first two provisions express a desire to ensure that candidates from marginalized backgrounds are given equal chances, the third provision was added in response to the controversy over the May 14 bishop coadjutor election in the Diocese of Florida, which is facing a formal objection on the grounds of voting irregularities. In response to questions of whether that election had a quorum of canonically resident clergy, the diocese said it was very difficult to achieve a two-thirds quorum because many of them were unable to attend the election, and had to allow online voting at the last minute. D093 specifies that “dioceses are expected to ensure that equal accommodation is made for the participation of all persons entitled to vote in [an episcopal] election.”

The bishops concurred with deputies on D026, which creates a Task Force on LGBTQ+ Inclusion, which would conduct an audit of how the church has lived up to its commitment to the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people. The task force will also create an archive of the history of LGBTQ+ inclusion, concluding its work with a final report and recommendations to the 82nd General Convention. The resolution requests $100,000 for this work.

— Egan Millard

Happy General Convention campers show their colors

The Episcopal Camps & Conference Centers organization declared on July 8 that the next day would be “camp swag day.” Bishops and deputies were urged to post photos to social media promoting their diocesan camps and conference centers.

And promote they did.

At least one camper had two reasons to celebrate.

— Mary Frances Schjonberg

House of Bishops endorses Green New Deal

The House of Bishops on July 9 adopted Resolution D064 endorsing Green New Deal Legislation. California Bishop Marc Andrus urged passage of the resolution, presented by the Committee on Environmental Stewardship and Care of Creation, which charges dioceses, churches and all Episcopalians to advocate and to adopt policies for the federal Green New Deal, and to take action to reduce their carbon footprint to reduce the effects of climate change.

The federal Green New Deal aims to wean the U.S. from fossil fuels and curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, as well as create new jobs in clean energy industries.

Colombia Bishop Francisco Duque urged passage, telling bishops that, in “developed countries there is so much pollution, so much contamination, using nonrenewable products like oil. The climate effects are not only suffered in third world countries, but the whole world,” he said, through an interpreter.

“There’s a water shortage in California, forest fires in California, it causes a panic. And we are very concerned. All this is a consequence of climate change,” Duque said. “Years ago, we passed a resolution where we asked dioceses to not invest our monies in resources that are nonrenewable like oil and others. I don’t know if we have followed through. We have to do more to change the climate change to work on this.”

For some perspective, Andrus said, “If The Episcopal Church right-sized its carbon footprint, 50% of it would be the same as taking out the carbon dioxide of a large country like Paraguay. It would be the same as taking all those greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.”

– Pat McCaughan