Jim Simons, of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, member of Executive Council and at various times close in to the doings of several Presidents of the House of Deputies, was kind enough to post this remark on the matter of who could be candidates for the positions of President and Vice President of the House of Deputies:
"There's another dynamic that not many recognize. Until 1964 the President was elected for the convention. It was first item of business after the House organized. The canons were changed to make the term start at the end of convention for the triennium. In 1967 the canons were changed making the President the vice chair of executive council and ex-officio member of every interim body. However, as we all know there's no financial compensation for the office. The last President to have full time employment was John Coburn 1969-1976. The office has changed so much that unless your retired, living on spousal income, or independently wealthy you can't afford to run. It makes the universe of viable candidates very small." (Emphasis mine)
I am not sure the Simon rule applies in every case, but it certainly sounds right - given the increased role of the President between meetings of General Convention.
Over at Episcopal Cafe they are asking for, "Questions for the candidates for PHoD and VPHoD. One question then might be, how can you afford to do this?
There is not much on the airwaves concerning the election of these officers. So far I have received only one online name, The Rev. Winnie Varghese, currently member of Executive Council and wonderful coach on voting in the House of Deputies. Off line I have heard the name of The Rev. Gay Jennings, also of Executive Council and with Credo. I have no notion if they fulfill the criteria, "retired, living on spousal income or independently wealthy." Otherwise, things are very quiet...too quiet.
What if no candidates appear? What if they do and get elected and then are hit with the reality that it is a big part time job or a full time one and there is no income to offset the loss of other income?
I believe General Convention, by making the President of each house also chief officers of the Executive Council and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, has seriously modified the role of PRESIDING Bishop and PRESIDENT OF THE HOUSE of Deputies, to that of corporate officials with duties that are much wider than the offices of General Convention itself.
Would we be better off to divide the role of President of each house from the roles of officers of the DFMS / Executive Council, and to reduce the role of these legislative officers in other areas so that the Presiding Bishop could return to being a diocesan bishop as well and the President of the House of Deputies could hold a "regular" job?
Meanwhile: Additional names? Anyone?
And, given that candidates are nominated from the floor and elected from the floor, without prior "background checks," where are the corporate safeguards? Is election subject to successful background check?
Well, well, well. The General Convention is heating up. Rust is not a problem in the fast lane. Wreckage is.