Nurturing Families and Our Communities Through Paid Family Leave

Nurturing Families and Our Communities Through Paid Family Leave

4 black and white photos of people caring for one anotherWhen a child joins a family, either through birth or adoption, all members are part of the transition. There is ample research noting the benefits of paid leave for parents. It helps enrich bonds, reduces stress and lower rates of infant mortality. This same reduction in emotional, social and physical stress is experienced when employees have access to paid leave for caregiving responsibilities. Our parish communities benefit by having paid staff who know they are valued and who come to work less fatigued and distracted because they have been able to take appropriate time off to see to these familial responsibilities.

During the 2022 General Convention, the House of Bishops and House of Deputies concurred in encouraging dioceses to adopt uniform paid family leave policies. Church Pension Group is charged with exploring options for insurance products that would function similarly to disability plans by offering between 70-100% of the usual salary or wages while an employee is on paid family leave.

The Diocesan Human Resources Committee, chaired by the Rev. Dr. Maria Kane, is working on revisions to the Employee Handbook template and the creation of a new Clergy Handbook. Both will include recommendations for paid leave to support employees as they navigate the roles of new parent and caregiver. Be on the lookout for these this fall.

Highlights, Hope, and the Power of Love: Reflections on a First Timer’s General Convention

Highlights, Hope, and the Power of Love: Reflections on a First Timer’s General Convention

I had the great honor and privilege of serving as one of the EDOW deputies at the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland earlier this month. Typically, the General Convention (GC) will last for 10+ days, but this year due to COVID it was shortened. This meant that General Convention committees did their work throughout the year via Zoom for General Convention.

As a first time deputy some of the highlights for me were:

  • Seeing Episcopal Dioceses represented from all over the country
  • Being able to vote for amendments and resolutions that will impact our church and eventually impact our own diocese as it relates to mission and ministry.
  • Witnessing money and mission align to the Way of Love.
  • Seasoned deputies, in particular Gay Clark Jennings (now-former President of the House of Deputies), investing intentionally in raising up the next generation into leadership.
  • Bishop Eugene Sutton’s (Diocese of Maryland) powerful sermon on Sunday, July 10th – authentically speaking to leadership challenges and humility, the power of love, and pursuit of reconciliation; all parts of God’s call to us as disciples of Christ.

My hope and prayer is that we as disciples in Christ may embrace some of the highlights noted above and lean into them in our own diocese, regions, and congregations. Thank you, EDOW, for allowing me to serve as a deputy to the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church.

Iman Green Syler
Deputy to General Convention, St. George’s Valley Lee

A Parliamentary Pentecost: Reflections on a First Timer’s General Convention

A Parliamentary Pentecost: Reflections on a First Timer’s General Convention

“A Parliamentary Pentecost” is how I can best describe my first experience as a Deputy to General Convention. The Holy Spirit was clearly at work at Convention as we heard hard truths about our Church’s past, such as our involvement in Boarding Schools aimed at erasing Indiginous culture and identity. We heard a powerful witness from a Deputy from the Navajo Nation, who could not have been much older than my mother, who told her story as a student in such a school, and the impact it had on her, and her nation–and her joy that the Church had finally recognized this issue in Resolution A127 which was adopted by Convention, a small but important first step in reconciliation. The Holy Spirit also made Herself known in prayer book reform, calling the Bishops to enter into discernment, where they ultimately adopted unanimously a better path forward on prayer book revision.

I was also grateful that our Church passed several resolutions aimed at Creation Care, not only in the nation and our world, but also in our Church. One such resolution was one I authored to urge the Church to expand its use of virtual meetings for governance at all levels of the Church to help reduce our harm to creation generated by travel, and to save resources that can be used for other vital areas of ministry.

So many things I expected to be contentious this Convention turned out not to be so. The Holy Spirit molded Her Church through those packed 4 days, and also uplifted many new young leaders in our Church with talent and vision. Like many of you, I often worry about the future of our Church–but I was heartened at what I saw during this Convention, and to see the Holy Spirit at work. While we all entered General Convention with our own idea of how the Church should work, we came out doing things we didn’t foresee going in–yet with faith that we had lived up to our calling, and had been all the better for listening to the Spirit rather than ourselves.

Nathan Brown
Deputy to General Convention, St. Paul’s, K Street

The 80th General Convention Virtual Binder

The 80th General Convention Virtual Binder

The 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church will convene in Baltimore this summer to consider a wide range of important matters facing the Church. The General Convention deputation from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, led by the Rev. Glenna Huber, will attend in order to listen to debate, track and advocate for or against the various resolutions, bringing our collective voice to the process of tending the soil of the wider Church, considering issues ranging from prayer book revision, advocating for social justice, considering budgetary issues, the future of the Church’s mission, just to name a few topics on which we will deliberate. The work we will do in this process will have a broad impact on The Episcopal Church, and every person has an opportunity to make their voices known, even if they aren’t on our Deputation to General Convention.

Though the General Convention (GENCON) is scheduled to begin July 5, much of the preliminary work is already underway. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the various legislative committees of the General Convention are meeting now to deliberate on various amendments that Deputies, Dioceses, Bishops, and Interim Bodies have submitted to it for consideration. Your diocesan deputation invites you to follow along with resolutions as they are submitted on the publicly accessible Virtual Binder.

The Virtual Binder contains both the texts of each proposed resolution that has been assigned to a Legislative Committee and the explanation submitted by the proposer(s) on the resolution. Resolutions are lettered by the individual or organization submitting them. “A” resolutions are submitted by the Interim Bodies of the Church such as the standing committees ordered by the Church’s canons or by temporary task forces established by General Convention. “B” resolutions are submitted by Bishops. “C” resolutions are submitted by Dioceses, such as ours, which has sent several resolutions for the consideration of the next GENCON. Finally, “D” resolutions are submitted by individual deputies, with 2 additional deputy endorsements.

Currently, the only resolutions that are in the Virtual Binder are those assigned to committees. Resolutions will continue to be added to the Virtual Binder in the coming months as they are submitted and referred to the appropriate committee. Those interested should periodically check the Virtual Binder to see what new resolutions have been filed.

If you have a particular interest in certain resolutions, you may wish to follow the calendar of Legislative Committee Hearings that are listed in the Virtual Binder. The Virtual Binder lists when the committees will meet and what resolutions will be considered at these meetings. Any person–not just a Deputy, Alternate, or Bishop–may participate in these hearings as either an observer or, when the hearing is marked as an “open hearing”, to testify and give remarks on the resolution(s). Please note that you must sign up no less than 2 days prior to the legislative committee meeting to get the link to observe or participate in the hearing. You can submit a request to observe/speak at a hearing through this form.

Given the virtual nature of most of our committee meetings, there is unprecedented opportunity for members of the Church to have a greater say and/or observe the legislative committee process. Your deputation encourages anyone with a strong interest in one or more resolutions to keep tabs on the Virtual Binder as we continue to move closer to the General Convention.

If you have any questions about finding resolutions, or any questions about the General Convention, please do not hesitate to contact our Deputation’s Chair, the Rev. Glenna Huber.

Please keep EDOW’s deputation in your prayers as we tend to the soil of the Church at the upcoming General Convention in Baltimore.

The 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church is scheduled to take place this summer in Baltimore, Maryland from July 5 – 14.