Dear People of The Episcopal Church,
It is with sadness and disappointment that we share the news that the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, while still happening in Baltimore this summer, will most likely be reduced in length and scope, based on discussions yesterday in response to the recent increase in COVID cases.
While we are disappointed at the thought of not being able to welcome as many Episcopalians to Baltimore for as long as originally planned, we are grateful that the 80th General Convention will still be held in Baltimore this summer and excited to welcome ALL Episcopalians to visit Baltimore and our diocese virtually through our host website, https://gceighty.org/.
Despite the potential changes, we are still in need of many volunteers, and encourage you to register.
A medical consultant hired to advise the decision-makers has strongly recommended a reduction in the General Convention schedule and the addition of more mitigations. He suggested that at an event of this size, without increased mitigations, we could expect 10-15 percent of attendees to become infected.
The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church (who serve in a similar way to the elected “vestry” of a congregation) met Wednesday morning to consider a reduction of the 80th General Convention to include only essential business. The Joint Standing Committee of Planning and Arrangements, of which Bishop Sutton and Canon Slater are members from the host diocese, met afterward and took action to appoint a subgroup to quickly develop an alternate plan to present for approval.
With General Convention less than two months away, this would necessitate enormous logistical changes. The Diocese of Maryland may have to adjust its volunteer requirements and the planned activities for Maryland Night. Such a change could also impact exhibitors and other groups, such as the Episcopal Church Women’s triennial and seminary alumni/ae events. It would also bring far less revenue to the City of Baltimore’s restaurants and hotels than originally hoped.
We invite all Episcopalians to share in our Community of Love, visit Baltimore and our great diocese at https://gceighty.org/.
We will share information on the status of the 80th General Convention in the next couple of weeks as we receive it.
The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland