Presiding bishop, House of Deputies president appoint triennial leaders

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies Gay Clark Jennings have announced new appointments to the church’s standing commissions and joint standing committees of General Convention and committees of the House of Deputies and House of Bishops.

Jefferts Schori appointed 115 bishops to those commissions and committees, as well as to the Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop, the Title IV Disciplinary Board and nine House of Bishops committees.

Jennings was responsible for appointing 142 lay and clergy leaders to standing commissions, joint standing committees and the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church. Nearly 750 people were nominated for leadership during an online process that began in July.

The two also appointed the members of their councils of advice for the 2013-2015 triennium.

Appointments to the task force on church structure established by Resolution C095 of the 77th General Convention, which met this past July will come later in October, according to a press release.

The resolution calls for them to create a special task force of up to 24 people who will gather ideas in the next two years from all levels of the church about possible reforms to its structures, governance and administration. Its work will culminate in a special gathering of people from every diocese to hear what recommendations the task force plans to make to the 78th General Convention. Its final report is due by November 2014.

The groups to which Jefferts Schori and Jennings made their appointments account for the majority of the church’s committees, commission, agencies and board (CCABs) that receive resolutions from General Convention and set policies for their implementation during the three years until the next meeting of convention. CCABs report to General Convention via what is known as the Blue Book, which is released in the months preceding each meeting of convention and includes recommended resolutions and policy decisions.

The presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies appoint people to those bodies whose members are not elected by convention.

Thirty percent of the newly appointed lay and clergy leaders are age 40 and younger, and nearly half — 47 percent — are age 50 and younger, according to Jennings’ release.

While the median age of all Episcopalians in 2010 was 57, according to the release, the median age of these appointees is 52.

“Thanks to many younger Episcopalians who volunteered to serve, the councils of the church will have much better representation from Gen X and Millennial leaders in the coming years,” Jennings said in the release. “We need to devote more energy and attention to cultivating younger leaders. We also need to identify and reduce the barriers that keep younger people from seeking positions of church leadership.”

Jennings said she will appoint a study committee of the House of Deputies to focus on young leadership in October.

Twenty-eight percent of the new appointees designated by Jennings are people of color.

“The leadership of the church needs to look more like the kingdom of God and less like a parish directory of the 1950s,” she said. “This group of new leaders will help ensure that the church’s recent progress in fostering diversity continues.”

The groups recently appointed include Jennings’ Council of Advice which, for the first time in memory, will include a bishop.

“Bishop Sean Rowe of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania has generously agreed to sit on my council and foster closer collaboration between the two houses of General Convention,” she said.

The council will meet for the first time in early December in Seattle, home to the group’s youngest member, 29-year-old Bryan Krislock.

Jennings noted in her release that she and Jefferts Schori met and consulted frequently as they were making their respective appointments and choosing appointees and nominees to committees of Executive Council.

“I am grateful for the warm welcome and collegiality of the Presiding Bishop and members of her staff during the first few months of my tenure,” said Jennings. “I’m learning the ropes, and I need the support of both new and old colleagues.”

A complete list of Jefferts Schori’s appointments is here. Jennings release did not contain a list of name. They can be seen for each group using the links available here.

Appointments to committees of Executive Council will be announced after the Oct. 15-18 council meeting in New Brunswick, New Jersey, according to Jennings’ release.

Jennings has also launched a new website at www.houseofdeputies.org with news and information about the House of Deputies. People interested in receiving a monthly e-mail newsletter from the House of Deputies can sign up on the website.

Comments

  1. Jeff Allison says:

    I find it peculiar that the committees, commissions, etc of the church have only two representatives from the wonderful Diocese of Alabama.

    There seems to be several folks serving in multiple positions. What happened to the breadth of the church in the appointments.

  2. I would personally propose that in the midst of changes of the internal governance and structures which have characterized and led The Episcopal Church in the past, that sometime after the next General Convention (2015) a commission be set up to review our Canons and Constitutions with the purpose of “cleaning up” its often layered and out-dated language concerning Church membership, for example. Historically, some individual canons have been included in this work as a result of some particular theological or political crisis of the day, yet voted and ratified without thought on the wider interpretation and application to other parts of the Church in later years and in different contexts. Perhaps in this sense, some of our canons are “layered” upon others which are out-dated and are not applicable to today’s situations. Perhaps in the future, “membership” will not necessarily be defined by whether one went through “Confirmation A”, or “Confirmation B”, or whether a member has fulfilled obligations by signing a pledge card. And perhaps, not whether they were “received” or “confirmed” at all. Through the waters of Baptism, all of us are “Sealed by the Holy Spirit” and “Welcomed into the household of God” whether baptized in this Church or by some other Christian church. There are many “traditions” that have served the Church well in the past, and our current Canons have brought stability and guidance in the face of the many changes over the past 30 to 40 years. But perhaps like any Christian Liturgy, words are subject to change in the passing of a generation, nuanced by the face of those who come after us seeking that same guidance and stability as a result of their own cultures and paradigm shifts. And thus, our Canons must change with them in the faith that as they have guided us here and now, they too will guide and govern those who come after us.

    • MJ Fowler says:

      While I agree with Mr. Allison’s suggestion that much might be done to clean up and simplify the many layers to which he refers, I would tell a personal story that concerns “membership” in our church. I was born and raised Roman Catholic, baptized and confirmed in that church.
      When I chose to become an Episcopalian after many years of no attendance and no affiliation anywhere, the liturgy of reception into the Episcopal Church was tremendously moving to me. Echoing Abp Tutu’s marvelous description that “the Holy Spirit just picked me up by the scruff of the neck and set me down there”, after months of inquiry and study that only reinforced my choice, I welcomed and perhaps needed the formality that confirmed that choice. It was a Very Big Deal, and I delighted in publicly acknowledging the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and in celebrating with my new community. It would be a loss to deny that opportunity to other newcomers for the sake of “cleaning things up.”
      The bathwater may need changing or refreshing, but let’s make sure we hold onto that baby.

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