The 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church will be underway in Austin in just two weeks. Read on to meet our deputation!
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop
Serves on the Legislative Committee on Safeguarding and Title IV
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan
Serves on the Legislative Committee on Environmental Stewardship and Care of Creation
The Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris, Bishop Suffragan, Retired
This will be the 19th consecutive General Convention that Bishop Harris has attended.
Byron Rushing, St. John St. James Church, Roxbury
• First lay deputy
• Byron has been a deputy to General Convention since 1973. He was the chaplain to the House of Deputies at the 1994 General Convention—the first lay person to hold this position. At the 2012 General Convention he was elected vice president of the House of Deputies; re-elected in 2015, he is serving his second term. He is chair of the Rules Committee and will serve on the Joint Committee on Cuba.
“I look forward to an exciting convention which will be responding as a whole to the challenging direction that the presiding bishop has laid out for the Episcopal Church during the past three years.”
Fredrica Harris Thompsett, St. Barnabas’s Church, Falmouth
• Second lay deputy
• Serves on the Legislative Committee on Governance and Structure
“I just completed an extended term on Executive Council in which (for the past three years) as chair of Governance and Administration I and my colleagues have worked to provide structural and legal support to three goals affirmed by Presiding Bishop Curry and President of the House of Deputies Jennings: racial justice and reconciliation, creation care, and the Jesus Movement. As a member of Governance and Structure at this General Convention, I will work to continue to support these three goals and continue to pursue ways that we in the Diocese of Massachusetts can affirm them in our lives of service. I will also continue to recommend learning from the prophetic wisdom of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and Bishop Barbara Harris stated many places including my new book: On Conversation: Michael Curry and Barbara Harris.”
William Boyce, Grace Church, New Bedford
• Third lay deputy
• Serves on the Legislative Committee on Evangelism and Church Planting
“I am so excited to see all that General Convention will take on this summer. I am most excited for our work with evangelism and imagining how to be a better church today. Convention is a time to share our own experience of being church in eastern Massachusetts and learn from the experience of Episcopalians around the world. Austin, here we come!”
Betsy Ridge Madsen
• Fourth lay deputy
• Serves as legislative aide to Committee on Social Justice and U.S. Policy
“I am honored to be your deputy and greatly looking forward to our time in Austin. Social justice and education have been at the center of my life as a Christian, so I am especially grateful for my legislative committee assignment. I am excited about coming together with others from around the world to build relationships, network, and formulate policy around the issues of today, sharing our journeys, praying together, and inspiring one another as we walk together in Christ.”
The Rev. Edwin D. Johnson, St. Mary’s Church, Dorchester
• First clerical deputy
• Chair of Legislative Committee on Racial Justice and Reconciliation
“Of all the wonderful things happening at convention I’m most excited about the work/resolutions around mission/evangelism and racial justice and reconciliation. For me, it comes down to being drawn to how we can grow our churches and our diocese and how we can give everyone in our communities an opportunity to thrive regardless of where they come from. It’s time we stopped being the best-kept secret and lived into our potential as a church to bring the Kingdom right now.”
The Rev. Thomas J. Brown, Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester
• Second clerical deputy
• Member of the Dispatch of Business Committee, assigned to support the Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music Committee expedite its legislative work.
• Chair, Board of Trustees of the Church Pension Fund, effective after the conclusion of General Convention.
“I love being part of a church in which any member can testify about any subject. Granted, you have to travel to Austin, Texas, to do so, but isn’t it incredible that an Episcopalian, from any parish, can walk into a convention center, sign up outside of a meeting room, and tell her or his story about why a particular matter or resolution will make our church stronger, and more faithful?”
The Rev. Karen B. Montagno
• Third clerical deputy
• Member of the Legislative Committee on Racial Justice and Reconciliation and House of Deputies Special Committee – Title IV and Training
“I find General Convention to be an exciting time. I am inspired when the church gathers from all over in all of its vibrant diversity. Many people who are not able to gather in person watch from home supporting us with their prayers. Convention is also a time of possibility and hopefulness as we pray, deliberate and worship together over the shaping and reconciling of our common life. I hope that we will allow ourselves to be challenged and stretched by the vision of beloved community in the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.”
The Rev. Canon William Parnell, Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Massachusetts
• Fourth clerical deputy
“General Convention is an important time for Episcopalians to gather to listen to and learn from one another, and to speak and act in ways that enrich our common life and aid our witness for justice and peace. I look forward to being a part of the Massachusetts deputation, having attended the past four General Conventions while serving in the dioceses of Newark and New York.”