Dear Convention Delegates and Clergy of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut:
I am writing regarding our upcoming Convention to elect the XVI Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut on Saturday, May 21. Given the current increase in COVID-19 infections in Connecticut, there is appropriate concern regarding an in-person gathering.
The Convention Planning Committee met yesterday to consider possibilities in light of the current COVID-19 surge. We looked at all options for our Convention including pivoting to an online convention or a hybrid online/in-person convention. After much prayerful consideration we have decided to go forward as planned with an in-person convention at the Hartford Convention Center on May 21 utilizing increased COVID-19 precautions.
Increased precautions that we will implement include:
- All participants are expected to be fully masked at all times.
- There will be no eating or drinking in the Convention Hall so as to maintain the integrity of masking. Box lunches will be provided that may be consumed in other parts of the Convention Center or outside/in one’s car.
- There will be increased space between chairs and tables on the Convention floor.
- A simple Eucharist will begin our Convention with communion in one kind (bread) only.
At this time of the 455 delegates and clergy who have registered for the Election Convention, 447 have voluntarily indicated that they are vaccinated for COVID-19. If you are experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, are feeling unwell, or have tested positive for COVID-19, the Planning Committee asks that you absent yourself from the Convention. Also, if you feel any concern about attending the Convention in-person, we recommend that you invite an alternate to represent your parish as delegate (consistent with your parish bylaws). Similarly, while our ECCT Constitution requires clergy to be present for the regular Annual Convention of the diocese, clergy are not required to have permission to miss special conventions such as the Election Convention. We trust the delegates and clergy of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut to make their own decisions with regard to attending the Election Convention in order to ensure as safe a Convention as possible for oneself and for the gathered body.
Dear siblings in Christ, these are indeed difficult times. Your Convention Planning Committee believes, however, that it is important for us to come together in-person to celebrate our embodied unity in the Eucharist fellowship and in our common discernment of our next Bishop Diocesan. Coming together in-person, with charity and concern for the other, we can have as safe an Election Convention as possible.
We pray for the nominees who have offered themselves for consideration as our next Bishop Diocesan, and for the safety of our Election Convention. May God guide you in your decision as to your participation in our Convention.
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Ph.D.
President of the Election Convention
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a bishop for this Diocese, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.