While the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church allow for meetings of the House of Bishops (HoB) between General Convention, the notion that all gatherings of Bishops between General Convention constitute meetings of the HoB is unclear. Formal meetings of the HoB may be called between conventions are called "special meetings," and the only formal business they may conduct that is binding on the church concern items for which decision is taken by only that House of Convention.
Calling the bishops to meeting does not necessarily constitute a "special meeting." A retreat for the bishops, for example, is not a meeting of the House of Bishops unless the call for the meeting specifies that business is to be done at that meeting.
There is, of course, no parallel possibility of a meeting of the House of Deputies between General Conventions, save in a specially called General Convention, since there is no business they can conduct without concurrence from the House of Bishops meeting at the same time (i.e. at General Convention.)
When there is a specially called meeting of the House of Bishops the rules for the House of Bishops apply, and there are specific rules for "special" meetings.
I have two questions about the notion that the House of Bishops can conduct business that effects the whole church in a context other than a General Convention.
I am not convinced that Special meetings of the HoB are required to elect missionary bishops or Presiding bishops, or depose bishops or any other matters seemingly part of the order of business of the HoB meeting separately. If canons were re-written to allow inhibition to be imposed until the next meeting of General Convention, and if use of temporary episcopal oversight from retired bishops were allowed, it might be possible to make special House of Bishops meetings an occasion for sharing, prayer, reflection, etc, and not an occasion for business at all. God forbid a Presiding Bishop were to die or be unable to carry out duties early on in a triennium , but if that happened there is no reason why the senior bishop in active service might not serve as Presiding Bishop until the next Convention.
It does seem that the meetings of one House for decision making purposes, the HoB, gives that house the opportunity to overreach its role in our ecclesiastical structure. Sometimes statements arising from the HoB special meetings carry weight as if they were the "voice of the church" and that matters not related to special decision making powers granted by the Constitution and Canons are considered and acted on.
So the question: Do we need decision making powers granted to the House of Bishops meeting separately from the General Convention?