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Toward GC80: Worship details, new meal plan approved for General Convention

Following its June 8 meeting, the Presiding Officers’ General Convention Design Group announced details about worship services and meals at the upcoming four-day gathering in Baltimore, emphasizing COVID-19 safety measures and seeking to mitigate the financial impact of the shortened schedule on hospitality workers.

Worship services will take place in both the House of Deputies and House of Bishops, with pre-recorded sermons streamed to each and available to all via livestream. Eucharist liturgies will be held in each house on Friday, July 8, and Sunday, July 10. Morning Prayer will take place in each house July 9 and 11. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will preach at the opening service.

In seeking ways to minimize indoor dining risk and potential COVID-19 spread by attendees to the community of Baltimore, Curry and Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, also approved a $260-per-person meal plan that will provide individual hotel breakfasts and boxed lunches for all official deputations.

This required alternative meal plan, which will be billed to the dioceses, covers eight of 12 convention-day meals and provides a way for dioceses to redirect their per-diem food costs to hospitality workers in Baltimore who would otherwise lose income.

“While we understand the need for the decision made by the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church for a shorter, smaller General Convention, we are deeply saddened about the impact the absence of visitors will have on the service industry in Baltimore,” said the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, “Our goal is to encourage support for our workers while minimizing their exposure to the potential physical and financial burden of illness.”

Attendees will be able to visit local restaurants on their own for dinner, and all are encouraged to sign up for one of the outings on Maryland Night, which has been organized by the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and scheduled for July 11. View details and registration.

On June 7, the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church approved the recommendation to change the dates of the 80th General Convention to July 8-11. The Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Arrangements also approved additional recommendations from the design group regarding COVID-19 safety protocols that include requiring daily negative tests, wearing specified masks indoors at all times, and limiting attendees.

General Convention legislative committees have extended their schedules to meet online during June. Those wishing to observe or testify should register at least two business days in advance. View the legislative calendar with links to resolutions and registration.

View an updated draft schedule for General Convention and find additional information on this page.

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