General Convention is the primary governing and legislative body of The Episcopal Church. It is a time for legislation, fellowship, worship and community-building. General Convention meets once every three years.
Similar to the U.S. legislative bodies, General Convention comprises two houses: the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. All bishops of the Episcopal Church are members of the House of Bishops. Each diocese of the 110 dioceses in The Episcopal Church, as well as the Navajoland Area Mission and the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, have representation in the House of Deputies, with four clergy (either priests or deacons) and four lay people.
Legislation – called resolutions – must pass in both houses with the same language in order to take effect. Resolutions comes from four different sources: commissions and groups that meet between General Conventions; bishops; dioceses; and deputies. Convention committees review the resolutions, then make a recommendation to the houses. If one house approves the resolution, then it goes to the second house for consideration.
Four clergy and four lay deputies are elected by the Diocese of East Tennessee Convention in the year prior to that of a General Convention. Additional nominees in each order are retained as alternates. Deputies serve for three years – until the next group is elected.
Deputies sit in the House of Deputies of the General Convention, which is one of two legislative bodies of The Episcopal Church. The House of Bishops is the other unit in this bicameral body. Deputies are not delegates; they are deputized to act on their own and to vote their own consciences.
In the House of Bishops: The Rt. Rev. Brian Lee Cole, the Rt. Rev. George Dibrell Young, III, the Rt. Rev. William Evan Sanders, the Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg
The 2020 Annual Convention of the Diocese of East Tennessee elected these clergy and lay deputies:
Clergy Deputies (in alphabetical order by last name):
The Rev. Cal Calhoun
The Rev. Layla King
The Rev. Leigh Preston
The Rev. RJ Powell
Clergy alternates: The Rev. April Berends (1st Alternate), The Rev. Jason Emerson, The Rev. Derrick Hill, The Rev. Joe Woodfin
Lay Deputies (in alphabetical order by last name):
Ms. Sinead Doherty
Canon Beverly Hurley Hill
Ms. Lee Phillips
Mr. William Simerly
Lay Alternates: Mr. Troy Eichenberger (1st Alternate), Mr. Bill Steverson
The work of The Episcopal Church between conventions is carried out by committees, commissions, and task forces. Our bishop and Deputy Leigh Preston have been appointed to serve:
- The Rev. Leigh Preston – appointed to the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church
- Bishop Brian – appointed to the Task Force on Liturgy and Prayer Book Revision