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May 11, 2018

A highlight of General Convention 2018 will be The Episcopal Church Conversations (TEConversations), three innovative, inspirational and informative sessions featuring brief talks, videos and engaging interludes.

TEConversations will be part of the three Joint Sessions of General Convention, each focused on one of the three priorities of General Convention – Racial Reconciliation, Evangelism and Care of Creation.

Among the TEConversations presenters are the Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town; popular author and priest the Rev. Lauren Winner; Dr. Catherine Meeks, head of the Center for Racial Healing; Arno Michaelis, author of My Life After Hate; and more fascinating leaders and thinkers in and beyond the Episcopal Church.

“The TEConversations that have been planned use an effective modern form to address priority topics for our Church and our society,” commented the Rev. Canon Dr. Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention and chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Arrangements. “The inclusion of TEConversations is a prime example of how our joint sessions, an older legislative tool, can be remixed for the contemporary needs of our Church and its leaders.”

The 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church will be held Thursday, July 5 to Friday, July 13 at The Austin Convention Center, Austin, Texas (Diocese of Texas).


TEConversations will be presented during Joint Sessions of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies which include visitors, volunteers and others in attendance at General Convention 2018. For those not attending, the TEConversations will be livestreamed and available for viewing on the Episcopal Church website here and the General Convention website here. The TEConversations will include simultaneous Spanish interpretation.  

“The team has shaped a truly interactive festival of ideas,” explained the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care. “Deputies, bishops and guests will experience compelling talks, along with music, poetry and robust social media that extend the learning and engagement from Austin out to the whole church and beyond.”

Each TEConversations session will be 90 minutes and will include three speakers, videos, music interludes and deeper small group engagement. The speakers represent international leaders, well-known Episcopalians, and rising voices in the church.

The TEConversations will be facilitated by David Crabtree, News Anchor at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC and a deacon in the Diocese of North Carolina.

The TEConversations topics, times and speakers are:


Racial Reconciliation

Friday, July 6 from 10:30 am – noon Central


  • Arno Michaelis, a former racist skinhead who examines aspects of his past in his books, including My Life After Hate.
  • Dr. Catherine Meeks, founder of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, GA.
  • The Rev. Nancy Frausto, a “Dreamer” from the Diocese of Los Angeles who came to the United States from Mexico as a child.



Saturday, July 7 from 2:30 pm – 4 pm Central


  • The Rev. Lauren Winner, an Episcopal priest and popular author who bridges faith and culture.
  • Bishop Alan Scarfe of the Diocese of Iowa, who led revivals in every diocesan congregation in 2017.
  • The Rev. Daniel Vélez-Rivera, a church planter from the Diocese of Virginia.


Care of Creation

Tuesday, July 10 from 10:30 am – noon Central


  • Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Province of South Africa and a leader in the Anglican Communion on climate change.
  • The Rev. Stephanie Johnson, co-chair of the Episcopal Church Stewardship of Creation Advisory Council.
  • Bernadette Demientieff, leader of the Gwich’in Steering Committee and defender of Alaska’s Arctic Refuge


Attendees are encouraged to visit the Exhibit Hall during the lunch break following the Racial Reconciliation and Creation Care sessions, and preceding the Evangelism session. A number of exhibitors are planning to host speakers and content that expands the TEConversations further. Details available in June at the General Convention website.

Host a viewing

Congregations, dioceses and ministry networks can serve as a host-viewing site for the TEConversations.

“The TEConversations are a great opportunity for broad engagement and learning across the church,” said Julia Ayala Harris, a member of the TEConversations Planning Group and a member of Executive Council.  “Dioceses and congregations can host a viewing and welcome their members and communities into the conversation. We’re eager to see how far the circle of General Convention can reach.”

Hosting TEConversations is designed to be simple. Any site or individual may access a viewing link each day at the General Convention Media Hub. Off-site participants can also access the same handouts and slides shown in the convention hall, and will be able to engage the ongoing conversation via social media. To be listed as a host site, send the organization name and website, and a site contact name and email to

For more information and to sign-up contact

In the future

In addition to viewing live, the TEConversations will be available on-demand following the presentations.  

In fall 2018, the TEConversations presented at General Convention will be released as a video series on Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care, with discussion guides to facilitate multi-generational formation and education, as well as leadership development.

Planning group

Members of the TEConversations Planning Group are: Sarah Alphin, Associate for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care; the Rev. Brian Baker of the Diocese of Northern California and an Executive Council member; Julia Ayala Harris of the Diocese of Oklahoma and an Executive Council member; the Rev. Canon Michael Hunn, Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Ministry Within the Episcopal Church; the Rev. Canon Charles Robertson, Presiding Bishop's Canon for Ministry Beyond the Episcopal Church; the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care; and Jeremy Tackett, Digital Evangelist.

For more information on TEConversations contact Alphin at, 212-716-6012.

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.


Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer