What Do Deputies Do?
Every diocese elects four lay deputies and four clergy deputies to General Convention. Elections are held at diocesan conventions/convocations, and deputies and alternates for the 2015 General Convention were elected at the Annual Diocesan Council meeting in 2013. Deputies are not delegates; that is, they are not elected to represent the electing dioceses, but are free to vote their conscience on the legislation before them for the good of the Church.
They hear testimony, engaging in debate and prayer, and they cannot be instructed to vote one way or another. To expect a deputy to vote a certain way would preclude godly debate and preempt the work of the Holy Spirit.
Much of the work of General Convention is carried out by legislative committees. Deputies are expected to serve on committees when appointed, to attend forums and hearings, to read the reports to the Church from its commissions, committees, agencies and boards (interim bodies of the General Convention), to listen and vote on resolutions being considered by the House of Deputies. They are expected to take part in online forums set up prior to each General Convention to help prepare deputies for the work of convention.
Deputies may indicate their preference for appointment to legislative committees and those appointments are made by the President of the House of Deputies. Consideration is given to previous experience, expertise, and interest, to ensure the committees represent diverse points of view, geographic, age, ethnic, and gender diversity. Committees of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops meet together but they vote separately.
Upon return to their diocese, deputies (along with their bishop[s]) are required to give a report of General Convention. They also are responsible, with their bishop(s), for following up on resolutions that have been referred to dioceses by General Convention.
Adapted from the Office of General Convention education booklet 2012
Photo: Clergy Deputies Alicia Schuster Weltner and Janice Bracken Wright, with Lay Deputy Bruce Garner, wait for the 2012 United Thank Offering Eucharist to begin at the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis. by Bill Monk