Bishop Mike Lowry has announced a series of Episcopal Teaching sessions / conversations on the three plans put forth by the Commission on A Way Forward (COWF) and other matters related to next February's Called General Conference in St. Louis (Feb. 24-28). Each session will run approximately two hours. During the meetings, Bishop Lowry will lead those gathered through the nuances of the three proposed plans - One Church, Traditional and Connectional Conference - provide some clarity into the upcoming 2019 Called Special General Conference and engage in a Q&A-style discussion with those attending the meeting on the three proposed plans on A Way Forward as well as other matters related to GC19. Please note that this will not be a time of debating the issuesthat have resulted in the 2019 Called General Conference, rather this is a time of teaching, learning and sharing on the three plans presented by the COWF.
The 2017 Central Texas Annual Conference voted to keep the 2016 General Conference Delegation, which was elected in 2014, as the conference's delegation to the 2019 Called Special General Conference in St. Louis (Feb. 24-28). The following are the Central Texas Conference delegates and alternates to GC19. Click here to view the list of delegates and alternates.
Commission on the General Conference announces registration fees to be charged to cover more than half-a-million dollar budget gap.
The Commission on the General Conference has voted to utilize registration fees in order to make up a $700,000 budget shortfall to cover the costs of the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference—expected to be $3.7 million. The other $3,000,000 is being funded by the General Council on Finance and Administration from various funds under its supervision.
Moses Kumar, General Secretary and Treasurer of the General Council on Finance and Administration advised the Commission that it was its decision whether to cut the budget or raise income from another source to cover the difference. Unlike the regular session of General Conference, there are no significant sponsorship opportunities to offset the costs – and no additional money was apportioned by the 2016 General Conference for this purpose.
The Commission on the General Conference made the decision to charge registration fees, which it anticipates will make up the additional funding needed. “After much discussion, registration fees seemed like the best alternative,” said Duncan McMillan, Commission chair. “This was a difficult decision because we want the event to be fully accessible to all who want to participate.” McMillan said that free live streaming of the General Conference would be available.
The $3.7 million figure includes $500,000 for translation and interpretation services, $212,000 for the Daily Christian Advocate and petitions software, and $610,000 for facility expenses. The biggest expense, however, is $2.2 million for delegate expenses, including travel, housing and per diem. The Commission considered the possibility of reducing the per diem, but that would cover only a fraction of the needed funds.
The Commission has undertaken a number of cost-cutting measures, including decreasing the Commission's meeting costs, negotiating significant savings in meeting expenses and implementing efficiencies to reduce travel costs. Requiring all delegates to make housing arrangements through the business manager’s office will result in substantial sales tax savings. Many of the general agencies are also providing their services at their own cost.
The fees range up to $300, with a discount for early registration. Delegates will not be charged a registration fee, and annual conferences may bring up to three clergy reserves and three lay reserves with no registration fee.
The special session will be held February 23-26, 2019 at The Dome in America’s Center, located in St. Louis, Missouri.