Quick Guide to Convention

By Neva Rae Fox

Whether you are in Baltimore attending General Convention or following the proceedings from afar, here is a guide to phrases you’ll often hear, and other vital information.

Terms and Abbreviations

Here’s a handy guide for General Convention terms and abbreviations.

HoBHouse of Bishops, the active and retired bishops of the Episcopal Church.

HoDHouse of Deputies, composed of clergy and laity elected from each diocese.

PB — The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

PHoD — President of the House of Deputies. A new PHoD will be elected by HoD during Saturday’s session to succeed the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings. Candidates are here.

VPHoD — Vice president of the House of Deputies. A new VPHoD will be elected by the HoD during Sunday’s session to succeed the Hon. Byron Rushing. By canon, the PHoD and VPHoD must be from different orders: one from clergy, the other from laity. There currently is one declared candidate, the Rev. Rachel K. Taber-Hamilton.

PB&F — Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance, the group that prepares the budget for review and adoption at Convention.

Consent Calendar — A consent calendar is a legislative tool used to simplify the review, discussion, and adoption of resolutions. A consent calendar is a special calendar typically voted on at the beginning of a legislative session to take action on resolutions for which individual debate is not necessary.

When either house recommends a resolution for adoption following legislative review in its committee, it is sent to the other house for review and discussion. The Legislative Committee on Dispatch of Business for each house publishes the consent calendar every day during Convention.

There is a mechanism for removing any item from the proposed consent calendar for individual action. For remaining resolutions, the entire calendar is voted upon en masse and, if approved, the recommendation of the legislative committee is deemed adopted by that house. To be approved by Convention, both houses must approve a resolution with the exact same wording. If the wording is not exactly the same, then the resolution is sent back to the other house and the approval process begins anew.

For more on this process, see TLC’s article, “Overview: 10 Pounds of Resolutions in a Five-Pound GC.”

Here is an excerpt:

At recent conventions, a resolution could be moved from the consent calendar to the floor when requested by the deputies of three different dioceses or by three bishops. Under special rules of order proposed for 2022, in the House of Deputies, a full third of the deputies would have to agree to remove an item from the consent agenda (the bar in the House of Bishops is even higher, a majority vote). One of the first things each house will do on July 8 is approve (or amend) the special rules of order.

Items from the consent agenda may also make it to the floor if a full tranche of them is voted down by a house. But then, each resolution in the tranche must be considered separately. The dispatch committees face a balancing act: If they keep the consent agendas small, there won’t be enough time to handle all the legislation. But if they slate too many substantial measures for consent approval, the sessions could be swamped in procedural votes picking apart their choices.

Important Links

General Convention

Draft schedule

Virtual binder of resolutions

Narrative Budget

The Blue Book

Diocese of Maryland’s Convention website

Follow the Action

The Living Church

Media Hub

Episcopal Church Public Affairs

Worship Bulletins

Deputy News

Episcopal News Service


Online Archives