Resolution #3: Legislative Themes for the 81st General Convention

Last Update: November 20, 2023


The 174th Convention passed this resolution with amendment as below.

 Resolved, That the 174th Convention of the Diocese of California requests legislation on these themes as a Memorial to the 81st General Convention of The Episcopal Church for its consideration:

  • Racial Justice & Reconciliation: build on Beloved Community training to address micro-aggressions; support more racial equity in hiring, discernment processes, and racial justice ministries;
  • LGBTQ Advocacy: bear witness as Christians against anti-trans rhetoric and legislation impacting our trans and non-binary beloveds; affirming and supporting trans and non-binary youth and their families, both within our congregations and in the wider world;
  • Gender Justice: support efforts to address domestic violence and sexual harassment and exploitation, including in the Church; educate about gender bias and how it intersects with other biases, including those caused by racism, ageism, and classism; work to remove barriers to women’s health care, including reproductive care;
  • Ageism Justice: empower senior rights and equity in the ministries of the Church, calling for the creation of a task force on ageism; 
  • Climate Justice: advance climate solutions including environmentally sustainable practices, biodiversity, sustainable transportation and utilities infrastructure, and support of the Communion Forest;
  • Disability Justice: support and advocate for disabled members of the Church in all ways of participation in the Church and the Beloved Community as it helps understand ableism and the intersectionality of disability and other marginalized groups;
  • Economic Justice: support those engaged in this ministry and advocate for these initiatives;
  • Church Vitality:seek and support innovative ideas for being Church in changing times, including consideration of how we fund congregations and dioceses, best use of existing resources, defining and communicating the unique gifts of The Episcopal Church, cultivating intergenerational ministries that support the shifting configurations of families and contemporary
    challenges of family life, and engaging in the Church’s mission to love and serve others in both spiritual and practical ways;
  • Congregational Development: provide support and training to foster congregational vitality, redevelopment, church planting, evangelism, improved communications, financial sustainability and encourage spiritual development, health, and wellness;
  • Create New Pathways for Ministry Collaboration: foster and facilitate resource sharing and team ministries among congregations, neighboring dioceses, and provincially, with an emphasis on support for small congregations;
  • Funding the Church of the Future: invest in developing new ways to understand and cultivate the abundance of untapped resources in our congregations;
  • Lay Formation: cultivate future members through lay leadership development, and training of newly elected representatives;
  • Theological Education: engage with the changing landscape of theological education, specifically the role of congregations as sites of theological education and formation, both in collaboration with seminaries and in their own right;
  • Liturgy & Music: create a foundation for Prayer Book revision by passing the 2nd reading of Article X (Of The Book of Common Prayer) in the Constitution of the General Convention and requisite canonical changes, as a goal for the next convention; and

Resolved, That this diocesan convention directs the deputation from the Diocese of California to the 81st General Convention to submit specific resolutions or support legislation addressing these themes.

In the legislative context, a memorial is comparable to a petition: a statement about a matter of importance that urges the General Convention to take action. (A memorial should present arguments for the proposed action and may provide evidence of widespread concern for the matter being memorialized.) Memorials are referred to a legislative committee to inform their deliberations. Although not a resolution itself, a memorial informs committees as they perfect legislation. Memorials to General Convention have often been the catalyst for major initiatives or changes in the mission and ministry of The Episcopal Church.

We are proposing the Memorial format for our diocesan convention addressing fourteen themes this year. The first seven cover justice themes, while the remaining seven address important ministry programs that impact us in our dioceses. DioCal policy limits the maximum number of approved resolutions to five with an option for non-approved legislation requiring a 2/3 vote during the Day of Convention to hear, debate and vote on matters. Instead of having ten resolutions this year, this will allow convention to direct the DioCal General Convention deputation to craft the text on these subjects as GC resolutions with the assistance from each author. If a few of these areas are covered by specific interim bodies or other dioceses, we will support or modify these to approach them with our diocesan community and church-wide organizations in mind.

In crafting this Memorial, we are mindful that the intentional training of newly elected local leaders is the foundation for the development of future church-wide leaders. This deputation support efforts to educate more DioCal laity and clergy about the roles and responsibilities of our governing bodies at all levels (deanery delegates, Executive Council, Standing Committee, and General Convention Deputation).


Here is an example from the Memorial utilized at the 80th General Convention
M003 Racial Justice & Reconciliation Memorial

Submitted by:
Sarah Lawton, delegate – St. John the Evangelist, SF
The Very Rev. Eric Metoyer, SF Regional Dean
Warren Wong, delegate – St. James, SF (contact)

Endorsed by the entire Diocese of California Deputation to the 81st General Convention:
The Very Rev. Eric Metoyer, co-chair – SF Regional  Dean
The Rev. Br. Richard Edward Helmer, BSG – Our Saviour, Mill Valley
The Very Rev. Dr. Deborah White – Grace, Martinez
The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers – All Souls, Berkeley
The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge – St. Aidan’s, SF
The Rev. Canon Debra Low-Skinner – Grace, SF
The Rev. Dr. Mauricio Wilson – St. Paul’s, Oakland
The Rev. Jennifer Nelson – St. Bart’s/St. Clare’s, So. Alameda
Sarah Lawton, co-chair – St. John the Evangelist, SF
Warren Wong – St. James, SF
Canon Christopher Hayes – Grace, SF
Laura Curlin – St. Cyprian’s, SF
Karma Quick-Panwala – Grace, SF
Emily Hopkins – St. Paul’s, Walnut Creek
Ron Hermanson – Grace, SF
Joseph Dashiell – St. Augustine’s, Oakland


  1. Irene Lawrence, St, Bede's, Menlo Park

    I am surprised that gender justice (including but not limited to misogyny) was omitted; do we forget “Me, too” so quickly? In the light of Ayala Harris’s allegations and the Title IV case currently pending against Bishop Singh, this theme seems particularly timely and of immediate relevance to the Episcopal Church, as well as the wider world.

    Here is a starting point for an insertion on this theme. I hope some version of it can be included:

    “Gender justice: support efforts to address domestic violence and remove protection from harassers in our institutions, including the church; educate about microaggressions and unconscious/implicit bias, especially for older women; and work to remove legal barriers to women’s reproductive autonomy and access to full health care.”

    Someone else brought up the theme of ageism. Ageism also is constantly dismissed or overlooked. Age discrimination is difficult to articulate in a comprehensive way, at least partly because contempt for older people is not evenly distributed. Much of the power structure in church and society is on the older side. But for women, persons of color, LGBTQ+persons, and all marginalized groups, who are already hard to see, the addition of age makes them invisible. Perhaps a concern for ageism could be worked into the other relevant paragraphs.

    • Sarah Lawton

      Irene, thank you so very much for this feedback. Some of us in the deputation have been discussing this, and since you posted here we also discussed it in several deanery meetings, and with someone from the Resolutions Committee. I believe we will be adding a plank for Gender Justice to the memorial, and Karma Quick-Panwala and I will commit to tracking resolutions related to these issues at General Convention and to help lift them up.

  2. Susan L. Hill

    Susan Hill,

    It appears as if Gender Justice has been added to the list of Legislative Themes already (see above categories). I heartily concur this is a necessary topic, especially given the blockage of this right by a number of U.S. states.


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