[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] Applications are now accepted for high school students who want to participate in the General Convention Official Youth Presence (GCOYP) at the Episcopal Church 79th General Convention to be held Thursday, July 5, to Friday, July 13, 2018 at The Austin Convention Center, Austin, Texas (Diocese of Texas).
“Each General Convention, we look forward to welcoming the members of the Official Youth Presence to the House of Deputies,” said the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, House of Deputies president. “The perspectives and experiences of high school students are critical to our legislative deliberations and make our debates more lively.”
“General Convention resolutions dating back to 1982 provide for an Official Youth Presence,” noted Bronwyn Clark Skov, Episcopal Church director for formation, youth, and young adult ministries, whose office, together with the General Convention Office and Jennings, coordinates the application and discernment process for teens who want to become members of the OYP. “Under the current Rules of Order of the House of Deputies, members of the OYP are granted seat and voice in that house.”
Skov explained that no more than two high school youth from each of the Episcopal Church’s nine provinces will be selected.
To be eligible to apply, candidates must meet the following criteria:
- Be an active member and communicant in good standing of an Episcopal Church congregation
- Be at least 16 years old and no older than 19 during General Convention 2018.
- Be a current high school student enrolled in 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade during the 2017/18 school year
- Be capable of traveling alone by plane or train to and from the meetings in the United States with no escort
- Be available to travel to the mandatory orientation and training from April 5 – April 8, 2018 in Austin. This weekend will include community building, worship and training on the legislative process.
- Be available to be present at General Convention in Austin from July 2 – 13, 2018.
The Episcopal Church budget covers travel, lodging and meals for OYP participants attending the orientation weekend and General Convention.
Deadline for applications and nominations is November 1. All applicants must identify a non-family member nominator who can complete an on-line essay nomination form by November 1.
Applications will be reviewed by a committee that includes House of Deputies Vice-President Byron Rushing of Massachusetts, Deputy Ariana Gonzalez Bonillas of Arizona, members of the Youth Ministry Network Leadership Council and the Formation Department staff.
Nominators may be contacted in early January and applicants will be notified of their status in February. The Official Youth Presence team will be announced in March.
Questions should be directed to Skov at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-242-1421.
The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years to consider the legislative business of the church. General Convention is the bicameral governing body of the Church, comprised of the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 109 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members. Between Conventions, the General Convention continues to work through its committees and commissions. The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church carries out the programs and policies adopted by General Convention.