History of The Deputies of Color
Over the past many General Conventions, it has become the practice of the Episcopal Church Center, through the offices of the Ethnic Missioners, to offer deputies of color the opportunity to gather in the spring of the General Convention year. This practice has proven to be effective in orientating the new participants to the General Convention process as well as enable all participants to build community and better relationships.
These pre-Conferences have had four specific goals, namely:
Orient deputies of color who are new to the General Convention to the otherwise complicated processes and proceedings of the General Convention;
Build collegiality and community by establishing mentoring relationships and organizing ethnic caucuses, and working on legislative priorities across these ethnic caucuses so that all voices are heard at General Convention;
Promote an ongoing program that builds solidarity and enhance the participation of deputies and bishops of color in the General Convention and the total life and work of the Episcopal Church around the three pillars of the Jesus Movement; and
Finally, each year presents an important message for the Episcopal Church. We want to especially allow the time for critical reflection on our daily lives. As we gather each year for daily worship, we stay grounded in hearing God's call for the Church's mission.
These two-day Conferences provide orientation, learning opportunities for deputies to the General Convention who have identified themselves as “persons of color.” In part sponsored by the Office of the General Convention and the Ethnic Ministries of The Episcopal Church, this Conference brings new deputies together with seasoned deputies for orientation to the processes and structure in the General Convention which promotes fuller participation, interaction, mentoring relationships and creates caucuses and collegiality.
In light of the demographic shift resulting in the increase of communities of color in the Episcopal Church, it is imperative that we enable, empower and equip deputies of color to exercise greater leadership in the total life and work of the Church and our common mission to the changing world. The role of the Ethnic Missioners of The Episcopal Church is facilitation and assistance and much of the leadership has been done by the Deputies of Color themselves.