The consortium of progressive organizations in the Episcopal Church
Haven’t heard of us? That’s understandable. We’re an organization of organizations. We don’t have individual members. We bring together the progressive groups in The Episcopal Church. The Consultation doesn’t set priorities for its member organizations but we look for ways to help each other reach our goals. Our focus is on the General Convention every three years. We’ve been doing this since 1985 and most of the remarkable progress our church has made since then has been a result of the mutual assistance and sharing of perspectives that the Consultation has encouraged. The challenges remain and may be even more daunting. The Episcopal Church needs the Consultation. We are more effective together.
An Epistle from The Consultation to the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church
May 25th, 2022
To ++Michael, Gay+, all members of Executive Council, and all bishops and deputies called to attend the 80th General Convention in Baltimore:
May the grace and peace of God the Father and the Lord Jesus the Anointed live in you. We are grateful for the care and consideration you have brought to revising plans for the conduct of our upcoming General Convention. Your efforts to safeguard the health and well-being of our church’s leaders bear witness to the love that seeks to care for God’s people, most especially “the least, the lost, and the left out,” as Bp. Barbara Harris named them. We especially appreciate the work of the staff in the General Convention and presiding officers’ offices, in service of the church.
These are urgent times. Our world is facing profound and interlocking crises of climate change, global pandemic, and deterioration of democratic norms that threaten the well-being of all humanity. The pressures of politics and public health have amplified the stresses generated by economic, social, cultural, gender, and theological differences, complicated by systemic racism, sexism, ableism, and fear of “the other.” As the Episcopal Church, we have had an historical relationship with systems that enforce oppression, marginalization, and disenfranchisement. Too often we have failed the hopes of those who have believed the Christian church will honor them as precious children of God.
Our complacency and our silence have empowered the rise of ethno-religious nationalism, anti-democratic authoritarianism, white supremacy, destructive forms of individualism including gun culture, and hyper-capitalism. We see the horrific murders in Charleston, Pittsburgh, El Paso, Buffalo, and beyond. We see the laws being passed across many U.S. states to severely limit women’s health care and trans health care. We see human and civil rights being curtailed along ethnic lines around the world from Xinjiang, to India, Hungary, and Israel/Palestine. We see the attack on the U.S. Capitol building in the attempt to overturn a presidential election–and in ongoing work to undermine electoral systems. We see the high death toll among frontline essential workers, many of them low-wage, immigrant workers of color who are invisible at best, or at worst, seen as disposable, by our policymakers and electorate.
When we choose to believe that these events are individual aberrations, we ignore the ways in which they are interconnected. We ignore the ways in which, taken together, these moments serve domination systems and amount to the intentional punishment of those in our society who are not white, wealthy, cisgender, heterosexual men.
Where will the Christian church stand in the midst of this breach? Too many of our fellow Christians are leading the charge of white Christian nationalism. The Episcopal Church utterly rejects this theology, and we have a responsibility to stand against these forces in Christian witness alongside friends of other faiths and no faith. The Gospel is calling us to attend to the big issues we are facing, keeping foremost the common good of all God’s people.
These are urgent times. Episcopal Church leaders have called for a shortened convention that focuses on “critical issues and essential legislation,” in order to lessen COVID-19 exposure risks during this legislative gathering. At the same time, our convention leadership is prioritizing the work of the Presiding Officers’ Working Group on Truth Telling, Reckoning, and Healing. Their report, which includes a call for the formation and funding of the Episcopal Coalition for Racial Equality and Justice, offers a framework for Church-wide participation in the Gospel-centered work of truth-telling, reckoning, and healing.
Quoting the report of the Task Force on Theology of Social Justice Advocacy, “There is no neutral position in this world. To be silent is to be complicit. The church cannot avoid a choice…. Social justice advocacy is core to the church’s mission… [because it] is at the core of the Gospel.” Just as we prioritize the health and safety of our elected church leadership, how will we respond to the Spirit’s call to prioritize the oppressed, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, and the poor?
Taking action for social justice is an urgent and critical matter. Social justice work is an essential component of General Convention, even more so in this time of global crisis that is making it so difficult to meet together.
As The Consultation, we urge the 80th General Convention to
• treat as essential the resolutions speaking to issues of social justice which will come up on the Convention floor
• encourage and support the work of legislative committees in holding hearings and moving legislation prior to
the beginning of General Convention
• strongly support and facilitate placing resolutions on the consent agenda for expeditious adoption
• urge, post-convention, that resolutions adopted by the convention be widely publicized and supported at the
• call on the wider church to do the work of dialogue in dioceses and faith communities about social justice as
the essential work of the church
• work for the intentional, timely implementation of social justice resolutions at the local level
As The Consultation, we pledge to
• support the use of the consent agenda to move essential legislation
• be disciplined in our focus on implementation churchwide of measures that will fight the intensification of
white supremacy and ethno-nationalisms and promote truth-telling, reckoning, and healing
• work to support dioceses and faith communities in social justice action called for by General Convention
• oppose using the COVID-19 adaptations as a model for shrinking future conventions; specifically, we strongly
oppose reducing the number of deputies, which would diminish the diversity of voices and further marginalize
the voices of people of color and queer and trans people
• equip people at the local level to welcome the marginalized, including trans people, their families, and children;
and further, equip faith communities to advocate for civil rights of all, lifting up a vision of Beloved Community
that honors the dignity of every human being and strives for the common good and the healing of creation
We write to you in confidence that, with God’s help, we the church can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
We rejoice that we are gathering in July to do the urgent, essential, critical work of the church. May we be moved to do
the work that the Spirit has placed before us.
And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Alt. Deputy Tivaun Cooper Deputy Carolyn Mok Deputy Rose Sconiers
(Diocese of New York; UBE) (Diocese of Rochester; EPF) (Diocese of Western New York; UBE)
Deputy Sarah Lawton Deputy Cameron Partridge Deputy Dianne Smith
(Diocese of California; TransEpiscopal) (Diocese of California; TransEpiscopal) (Diocese of Ohio; UBE)
Deputy Joe McDaniel Alt. Deputy Diane Pollard Deputy Tieran Sweeney-Bender
(Diocese of Central Gulf Coast; UBE) (Diocese of New York; EUC) (Diocese of Olympia; PBL)
Deputy Eric Metoyer Deputy Byron Rushing Deputy Warren Wong
(Diocese of California; EUC) (Diocese of Massachusetts; ENEJ) (Diocese of California; AAPI Network)
Deputy Ruth Meyers Deputy Laura Russell
(Diocese of California; APLM) (Diocese of Newark; ENEJ)
You may find the following links helpful:
Download this letter PDF
The Consultation's Platform
The Consultation's priority resolutions
Statement from the Deputies of Color Endorsing The Report of The Presiding Officers’ Working Group on Truth Telling, Healing, and
May 3, 2022
General Convention is fast approaching and we at the Consultation are busy getting ready by working together more closely than ever before. While some people may assume that having an inviting booth is what we do at convention, that is not our principal focus. What we do and have been doing since 1985 is mostly not visible, though we make no secret about our process. Indeed, this year we will be having meetings on alternate nights that will be open to all.
We work to support resolutions that promote a progressive agenda for our beloved church. Linked below is a brief look at some of the legislation we will be working on in consultation with one another. Also linked below is our Platform letting you know what criteria we use to evaluate resolutions.
As you will recall, since you were subscribed in Austin for the digital version of our newsletter, ISSUES, we work to get you news and opinion pieces on the issues facing the convention. With the general turn to digital communications and increasing limitations on handing out paper documents at General Convention (and ultimately to save money and trees!), we will be producing ISSUES primarily in digital form this year. This will still require funds to support a small team on the ground in Baltimore as well as help in distributing ISSUES as a digital publication via social media and email.
We are writing to you, even those of you won’t be with us in Baltimore in July, because this is the only digital list we have. In past years the General Convention Office has supplied us with both email and “snail mail” addresses for all Bishops, Deputies and Alternates. Because of privacy concerns, no addresses are being supplied this year. Consequently, we ask you to do two things to help us. First, share this letter, particularly the links, with your deputation. Second, if possible, please give a donation, either electronically at the link below or by mailing a check to the address below.
If you won’t be with us in Baltimore, please keep the Church in your prayers.
(Chair after GC)
PO Box 583
Ocean Grove, NJ 07756-0583