Episcopalians who want to participate in their church’s most authoritative gathering, the General Convention, will have to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or present a good reason why.
Masks will also be required for the convention, which is set for July. This will be The Episcopal Church’s 80th General Convention and is set to meet in Baltimore.
The vaccine and mask requirement was adopted as part of a resolution by TEC’s Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Arrangements.
The resolution reads:
Resolved, the Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Arrangements adopts the
following vaccination policy for all attendees of the 80th General Convention:
1. All attendees, including bishops, deputies, visitors, guests, affiliated event
attendees, ECW triennial attendees, volunteers, staff, and all other persons attending
the 80th General Convention will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID19, including recommended boosters, unless a medical exemption is received in advance
by a licensed physician and submitted to the General Convention Office for approval by
the Executive Officer of the General Convention. The General Convention will comply
with all guidelines from the CDC, the State of Maryland, or the City of Baltimore in
effect on June 20, 2022 and any legal requirements.
2. All persons attending the 80th General Convention will be required to present proof of
full vaccination, including recommended boosters, against COVID-19 or an exemption
from a licensed physician to the General Convention Office and official authorized
volunteers on request. The Committee will provide guidelines and adopt future policies
detailing the submission of proof of vaccination status both in advance of General
Convention and on site. In addition, the General Convention Office will provide
guidelines on the accepted forms of vaccination status for international attendees.
3. All attendees will be required to wear masks in all public areas and meetings,
regardless of vaccination status.
4. This policy will apply to entry to the Convention Center and all in-person events of the
General Convention, including but not limited to committee meetings, legislative
sessions, worship, the exhibit hall, and all other areas of the Convention Center, hotels
and other venues being used for convention business.
5. The Committee will continue to consult with experts on best practices and may
update this policy in the future to comply with changing guidelines. The Executive
Officer of the General Convention is directed to publish this policy and current CDC
guidelines, including any updated guidelines published by the CDC, to the Episcopal
Episcopal News Service reports that the General Convention Office will provide additional details as the Convention nears.
“This decision will help ensure the safest possible environment, and is consistent with the church’s message of care for our communities and ourselves,” said Canon Michael Barlowe, executive officer of the General Convention and chair of the committee. “More information about the policy’s administration will be available in the new year.”
The General Convention meets every three years to discuss the church’s mission and to set policy. The 80th Convention was originally scheduled for 2021. One of the biggest proposals that will go before the convention is a possible full communion partnership with the United Methodist Church.