Electing various officers for ongoing church-wide bodies is one of the important tasks of General Convention. Among those being elected are some of the members of Executive Council and the President of the House of Deputies who becomes Vice Chair of Executive Council and Vice President of The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.
So far The Rev. Gay Jennings is the only person who has announced as a candidate for President of the House of Deputies. She is a strong leader, well known to the church, and I suspect other hopefuls are weighing in on whether or not to stand. Then again, perhaps potential candidates have looked at the difficulties to come and simply stepped back. There is a certain wisdom in not going there. So, given Jenning's high bar of talent, energy and commitment and the hard road ahead, one wonders if there will be more candidates.
Meanwhile Bishop Pierre Whalon has removed himself as a candidate for the Executive Council at the Presiding Bishop's request. Neither the PB nor Bishop Whalon have indicated what the PB's reasons were. But we might imagine that the concern was about conflict of interest. Bishop Whalon is suffragan bishop to Bishop Katharine and at least part of his work is directly working on her behalf in Europe. As a direct employee of the Episcopal Church and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society it would be hard to see how he could function without conflict of interest.
Conflict of interest is, of course, a matter of degree. But the stepping stones to such conflict are few and large the nearer one gets to the center.
For whatever reason, Bishop Whalon is off the list. This is good and bad news. Bad news because Bishop Whalon brings unique and lively views to any group concerned with the life of the church and its mission. He would have been an important member of Executive Council.
Good News because he can continue to take on special leadership in groups where it would be inappropriate for Executive Council members to function.
We will for sure be hearing a lot more about Gay Jennings. We will also be hearing a lot more from Bishop Whalon.
Now what else is going on in General Convention election-land?