May 16, 2022
Dear Convention Delegates and Clergy of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut:
This past Thursday, I wrote to you regarding the status of our upcoming Special Convention to elect the XVI Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. Since then, several of you have reached out with expressions of appreciation and/or concern. I very much appreciate hearing from members of the Convention and welcome the feedback.
On Sunday afternoon, the Convention Planning Committee convened an emergency meeting to evaluate our Special Convention plan in light of the feedback we have received. It was a deliberate, faithful gathering where we discussed various options and possibilities for the Convention, always keeping health and safety as a top priority. Be assured that we have heard your concerns and seriously considered them in our deliberations. I am so grateful for the Committee’s collective efforts, wisdom, faithfulness, and dedication in these matters.
Together, we have come to the decision that our Special Convention will continue to be in-person with additional safety measures in place and a new provision for delegates and clergy to participate in the Convention without ever physically entering the Convention Hall. Each delegate and clergy person will sign in at the Convention Center to receive their voting credentials and log-in information. Once one has signed in at the Convention Center in-person, they are free to: enter the Convention Hall, continue on to our Cathedral where smaller and less populated venues will be available, or move to another location of one’s own choice in keeping with their COVID-19 safety precautions.
The Special Convention will be livestreamed on the ECCT YouTube channel and a direct link will be sent to all voting members the Friday before the Convention. For any voting members who would like technical assistance with voting and/or access to the livestream outside of the Convention Center, such assistance will be provided at our Cathedral where the Special Convention will be projected on large screens and volunteers will be available to provide help. We are indebted to Dean Howell and our Cathedral staff for all their hospitality and commitment to helping make our Convention as safe as possible.
Additional safety precautions that we will implement are as follows:
- In order to shorten the length of our time together, the Convention will be called to order at 11:00 AM.
- In-person sign-in for delegates and clergy will occur at the Convention Center from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM; with 9:00 AM -10:00 AM reserved for voting members who do not plan to enter the Convention Hall and/or have health concerns. From 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM, sign in will be open to all voting members, especially those who plan on participating in the Convention Hall.
- There will be no Eucharist. Instead we will have a brief time of devotions and prayer to begin our day.
- There will be no singing in our prayer and worship.
- No drinks will be provided at the Convention Center. Boxed lunches will be available at the Convention Center for all delegates, clergy, and staff beginning at 11:30 AM. All lunches are only to be consumed outside of the Convention Center.
As a reminder, these precautions will remain in place:
- All delegates, clergy, and Convention staff are required to be fully masked at all times.
- No eating or drinking will be allowed in the Convention Hall.
- There will be increased space between chairs and tables on the Convention floor.
I would like to underscore again, 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 Center in-person, we recommend that you invite an alternate delegate to represent your parish (consistent with your parish bylaws). Recall also that our diocesan Constitution only requires clergy to attend the regular Annual Convention.
Dear Companions in Christ, these are difficult and trying times, and we are all exhausted by the vicissitudes and challenges of living in the wake of COVID-19. Your Convention Planning Committee appreciates hearing from you and has tried to respond appropriately. We are committed to ensuring as safe a Convention as possible by allowing for a variety of venue options based upon one’s comfort level with COVID-19 safety precautions. At the same time, we believe that in the fullness of the incarnation of Jesus our Savior, being together in-person to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit is of great value. Whatever choice you make, either to participate in the Convention or not; and/or to be present in the Convention Hall, Cathedral, or some other location, your choices will be fully supported and respected. May we, prayerfully and with a generous spirit, come together in unity and charity to elect the XVI Bishop Diocesan of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.
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.