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General Convention preview

Nina Nicholson, Director of Communications
Bishop Hughes and some of the Newark Deputation at their final pre-General Convention meeting on June 6. L-r: The Rev. Diana L. Wilcox, Janelle Grant, Meredith McKeever, the Rev. Anne E. Kitch, Bishop Hughes, Jewels Quelly, the Rev. Cynthia Black, Laura Russell. ANDREW WRIGHT PHOTO

More than two dozen members of the Diocese of Newark will attend the 81st General Convention of The Episcopal Church taking place June 23-28 in Louisville, KY – the first normal-scale gathering since the Covid-19 pandemic forced a postponed and greatly scaled-down 80th General Convention in 2022.

The governing body of The Episcopal Church, General Convention usually meets every three years as a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. You can follow online using these resources:

Key business and events to watch

The election of the 28th Presiding Bishop for a nine-year term that begins Nov. 1 when he or she succeeds Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The House of Bishops will vote on Wednesday, June 26; the election becomes official once the House of Deputies votes to ratify it. Learn about the five nominees for 28th Presiding Bishop.

A contested election for President of the House of Deputies. While typically an incumbent President does not face challengers for re-election, the current Vice President, the Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, is challenging President Julia Ayala Harris. Since Taber-Hamilton’s announcement, several other candidates have also announced for either President or Vice President.

General Convention will consider at least 20 resolutions proposing amendments to Title IV, the canons of the church covering clergy disciplinary matters. Title IV has been a source of increased controversy over the past year, including concerns about confidentiality and allegations of excessive deference to bishops.

Who is attending, and what will they be doing?

Bishop Carlye Hughes will represent our diocese in the House of Bishops. She serves on Legislative Committee #5 - Racial Truth-Telling, Reckoning & Healing, and is its secretary.

Four deputies and the first alternate from both the Clergy and Lay orders will represent our diocese in the House of Deputies:

  • The Rev. George E. Dredden III, Trinity & St. Philip's Cathedral, Newark. He serves on Legislative Committee #7 - Social Justice & United States Policy.
  • The Rev. Grant Mansfield, St. George's, Maplewood. He serves on Legislative Committee #9 - Evangelism & the Future Church.
  • The Rev. Cynthia Black, retired. She serves on Legislative Committee #10 - Prayer Book, Liturgy & Music.
  • The Rev. Anne E. Kitch, St. Luke's, Phillipsburg. She is the chair of Legislative Committee #3 - Governance & Structure.
  • The Rev. Dr. Elaine Ellis Thomas, All Saints, Hoboken (first clergy alternate).
  • Janelle Grant, St. Paul's, Paterson.
  • Laura A. Russell, All Saints, Hoboken. She serves on Legislative Committee #18 - Title IV: Disciplinary Canons.
  • Paula Cappel, St. Andrew & Holy Communion, South Orange.
  • Jewels Quelly, St. James', Hackettstown.
  • Rhonda Lutz, Church of the Saviour, Denville (first lay alternate).

As previously reported, Meredith McKeever of Grace, Madison will attend as a member of the Official Youth Presence representing Province II, with seat and voice in the House of Deputies.

Bishop Hughes and members of the Newark Deputation met with House of Deputies
President Julia Ayala Harris (highlighted box) via Zoom on May 16.

Supporting our deputation in Louisville will be diocesan staff members:

  • Canon Andrew Wright, Canon to the Ordinary.
  • Canon Margaret. A. Peckham Clark, Canon for Congregational Life.
  • Nina Nicholson, Director of Communications & Technology.
  • Chloe Caprice, Executive Assistant to Bishop Hughes.

While only the first alternates in each order are required to attend, also attending from the elected deputation due to other responsibilities will be:

  • The Rev. Diana L. Wilcox, Christ Church, Bloomfield/Glen Ridge (third clergy alternate), as a member of the Executive Council Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (CCSR). She will also serve as media assistant to Nina Nicholson.
  • The Rev. Lynne Bleich Weber, Atonement, Tenafly (fourth clergy alternate), as President of Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers and a member of the Task Force on Creation Care and Environmental Racism.

Eight high school students from our diocese will visit General Convention chaperoned by Chris Whitaker, the Rev. Asa Coulson and the Rev. Carrie Cabush. Along with meeting with the Bishop and Deputies, attending the opening Revival and other worship services, and learning more about The Episcopal Church, our youth contingent will join with other youth from around the country for a three-day program on advocacy skills by Bishops United Against Gun Violence.