Sunday 8:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite I
nave & online: Zoom
Sunday 10:45 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II
nave & online: Facebook/website
Tuesday 8:00 p.m. Compline
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. Eucharist
The Grace Church nave is located at the corner of Washington Street and Boulevard in Gainesville, Georgia.
The parish office, open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, is located at 422 Brenau Avenue. Come to the red door that faces Brenau Avenue and ring the bell for access.
Mailing Address: 422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
From July 8 through July 11, it was my privilege to serve a second term as First Alternate Clergy Deputy at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. This year we met in Baltimore, Maryland at the Baltimore Convention Center two blocks from the Orioles Baseball Stadium. Our hotel was across the street from the convention center, and so each afternoon when we would break for supper, hundreds of people dressed like priests shared the crosswalk with hundreds of Baltimoreans dressed like baseball fans. It was an interesting intersection between the Church and the world, for sure!
The General Convention is the ruling body of the entire Episcopal Church, which is not only in the United States, but includes 109 dioceses and three mission areas in 22 different nations or territories! It meets every three years, ordinarily, but Covid pushed this meeting into four years from the last GC, which met in Austin, Texas. The General Convention is a bi-cameral body: The House of Bishops has around 300 active and retired bishops, and The House of Deputies has around 800 members (includes equal numbers of lay and ordained). Each house has a president. The Presiding Bishop is always president of the House of Bishops. And either a lay or ordained person is elected for three three-year terms as president of the House of Deputies. This year, we elected a new House of Deputies president, a young lay Latina woman (the youngest ever elected to this position) and we also elected a vice-president, an ordained woman who is Shackan First Nation – both firsts in this House. The House of Bishops will elect a new presiding bishop at the next GC, which will meet in Lexington, Kentucky.
It is usually a fun-filled festival that Cathedral Dean Sam Candler has described as “one part legislative, one part family reunion, and one part county fair.” Exercising great caution in the light of continued Covid cases, this General Convention included only the legislative piece. The attempt was to gather for as short a time as possible (the dates of GC changed twice even after flights were booked!). And so we convened each morning at 8:30 and concluded our business each evening at 9:30 with breaks for lunch and dinner.
The floor debate in each house over proposed changes to both the Constitution and the Canons of the Episcopal Church was intense. Legislation had to pass in both houses to be adopted and there were almost always amendments that also had to clear. Over a thousand pieces of legislation were under consideration. One of the deputies alternated with me so that I had the opportunity to spend some time “on the floor” (instead of in a special section for alternates) and actually vote on some of the proposed legislation. Deputies are expected to vote their own consciences, without regard to how others of their own deputation might vote. For this and other reasons, it was important to read as much as possible the night before to be prepared for the debate.
From my perspective, this GC did some very valuable Gospel work to reckon with the church’s systemic racism and its previous history of direct involvement with Indigenous boarding schools in this country that operated in certain areas from the late 1800’s until as late as the mid-1960’s. The president of the House of Deputies regularly invited all of us into “holy listening” as passionate reports were presented in connection with proposed legislation. We discussed the rise in gun violence and what could be done in the Church to address the underlying issues. The first afternoon of our gathering, there was a shooting death a few blocks from where we met, and the House of Bishops led us the next day to the spot for a time of public prayer.
I didn’t always agree with the legislation we passed, but I always concurred with the intentional prayer and perspectives that were offered for each resolution. I was honored to be a part of the Episcopal Church in this context, as I am always honored to be part of it here at Grace in Gainesville. Deputies from each diocese are elected at the annual diocesan council. Because of age, this is the last time that I can serve. But, if you are interested in the sausage-making process of the larger church, I encourage you to put your name forward for consideration at diocesan council which will elect its next slate of deputies in 2023.
Read perspectives from some of the other Atlanta deputies: Atlanta Deputies Return from General Convention Exhausted, but Hope-filled.