Every aspect of our lives and every aspect of our life as the church have been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping our world. Just as you have had to re-imagine your own life and just as your worshiping community has had to re-imagine church in the midst of pandemic, so too has our Convention Planning Team been tasked with re-imagining what our Annual Convention looks like this year.
I invite you to join us in this re-imagining. As we approach our ECCT Annual Convention this year, I encourage you to leave behind everything you have known about previous Conventions. It will all be different this year as we move Convention to an entirely virtual format. It will be different this year as the reality of the pandemic and the profound impact of racism in our country, in our communities, and in our church give focus to our work together.
Convention will be different this year, and it will be good. I look forward, as always, to wading deeply into this work with you as together we pursue our discipleship of Jesus and be the church that God calls us to be.
Format of Convention
The Annual Convention will be held exclusively online this year, making use primarily of video conferencing technology as well as pre-recorded videos. Recognizing the exhaustion that comes with extended periods of time on video conferencing, Convention will be broken into manageable, bite-sized pieces and spread over multiple days. As a result, Convention will run from Wednesday through Sunday, with most days containing no more than a couple of hours of content.
Wednesday-Friday of Convention will be given to “world café” conversations (as we have done for the last two Conventions), one per day. The questions addressed at these “world cafés” will be selected by Convention, using the process described later in this letter, with the caveat that one of them will be about the work of the church in confronting and dismantling racism, white supremacy, and anti-Black bias.
The Saturday of Convention will contain the address by the Bishop Diocesan as well as a single legislative session where resolutions will be debated and voted upon. The Sunday of Convention will be given over solely to a diocesan-wide worship service that will take place online at 10am and be available for parishes to use in place of their local online worship service.
Dates of Convention
The Mission Council, at its June meeting, voted to change the date of this year’s Annual Convention to Wednesday, October 14 – Sunday, October 18, to give ourselves a little more time to prepare for an entirely new type of Convention.
Submitting Questions for Convention
Any Episcopalian in Connecticut can submit a single question for consideration at one of the three “world café” sessions that will take place on the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of Convention. Questions can be submitted electronically from now until Monday, July 27. Everyone who submits a question must attend an online workshop on Saturday, August 1 to refine your question in conversation with others who have also submitted a question.
Resolutions and Reports
The deadline for submitting resolutions and written reports to Convention is Friday, September 4, which is six weeks before the legislative session of Convention. Written reports are required. Given the virtual format of this year’s Convention we are encouraging the submission of a supplemental video report. Video reports should not be readings of a written report and instead should be used to enhance the written report by telling a story about the work of your ministry network, committee, or other body.
Due to our commitment to translating written materials for Convention into Spanish, please note that all reports must be received by Friday, September 4 and be no longer than 1,000 words in length. Convention will pay for the translation of the 1,000 word report. If your group needs additional length, it may be submitted as a supplemental addendum to your report, and you will be billed the cost of translation of the addendum. Any group that submits a report after the September 4 deadline will be billed the full cost of a rush-translation. The cost of translating additional material or rush jobs will vary, but start around $.10/word.
Rather than using a Convention app this year, we have created a dedicated, stand-alone website at ECCTConvention.org. This website contains all the information related to this year’s Convention and will be the home for all pertinent links and resources that you need to participate in Convention.
To encourage as many people to engage with the work of Convention as possible, and in light of moving to a virtual format, the cost of registration for all voting members of Convention is $15/person and will be used to offset the technology costs of this year’s Convention. Non-voting participants in Convention may register for free.
Registration is open now on our Convention website and will remain open until one week before the start of Convention.
Delegates to Convention
Parishes must report their elected delegates to Convention using the online parish survey (contact Matt Handi—firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-639-3501 x107—for assistance in updating your parish survey). Delegates who are not reported through the survey will not receive communications about Convention.
Recognizing that a move to an entirely virtual Convention may be a challenge for some delegates, we encourage clergy and vestries to work with their delegates to ensure that they have the technology necessary to participate (a computer with webcam and access to highspeed internet). If a delegate is unable to participate virtually, vestries may elect new delegates to Convention who will be able to participate virtually, and report the change in the parish survey.
Non-Voting Participants at Convention
Because registration for non-voting participants at this year’s Convention is free, we encourage you to invite others from your parish/worshiping community to take part in the work of our Convention this year. Non-voting participants still have voice and will be able to participate fully in the “world café” sessions as well as the deliberation during the legislative session on Saturday.
This is an excellent opportunity to expand the body of Convention to include more youth and young adults, as well as other voices not generally heard at Convention. I hope that you will join us in helping to grow our Convention.
We will elect members to the Standing Committee and Mission Council at this year’s Convention. If you are interested in standing for election to the Standing Committee, a nominee biographical form is on our Convention website. Nominees to Mission Council are made by our bishops per the ECCT canons. If you are interested in serving on Mission Council as a member of one of our ministry networks, please reach out to our bishops. Nominations for elected positions must be received by Friday, September 4, 2020.
I look forward to being with you at Annual Convention this October and sharing in this work together.
The Rev. Adam Yates
Secretary of Convention