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Bonnie Anderson on the make-up of Standing Committees and Commissions

[Episcopal News Service]  During the months following General Convention, appointments were made by the Presiding Bishop-elect and President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson to the 18 standing commissions and committees. Anderson speaks about changes in their composition which, she says, should reflect the broad diversity of The Episcopal Church.

An audio stream of Anderson's message is available here

The full text follows:

The General Convention considered and subsequently concurred Resolution A104 calling for, among other things, changes in the composition of the Standing Commissions and Committees.

In addition, Resolution A110 charged Executive Council with the review of all Committees of Council and determining which committees shall be continued as Committees of Executive Council and which shall be assigned to a Standing Commission of the Church. These findings will be reported to the Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church and, in turn, reported, likely with recommendations, to the 76th General Convention.

During the months following General Convention, appointments were made by the Presiding Bishop-elect and myself, to the 18 standing commissions and committees. On Monday, September 25, the membership lists for commissions and committees will be available here

It is important to me that the Standing Committees and Commissions reflect the broad diversity of The Episcopal Church. I would like to give you the demographics of the appointments that I made with some overall demographics of the Standing Committees and Commissions that will serve the church during the 2007-2009 triennium. After you have had a chance to see the committee composition on the website, I invite your comments.

Eighteen Standing Committees and Commissions have recently been appointed. The total number of members is 239. Of that number, I appointed 121. Ninety-four dioceses have persons serving on the committees and commissions. Every province is represented. The demographics are:

• One hundred thirty five males
• One hundred four females
• There are 61 persons of color serving
• and 30 persons born in or after 1970.
• I appointed 40 persons of color, 58 males, 63 females and 22 persons born in or after 1970.

The names for appointment consideration were drawn largely from over 500 recommendations that I received. In some cases, I solicited recommendations for persons willing to serve so that the committee or commission composition could reflect our diversity.

Why does this make a difference? The Committees and Commissions are charged with specific work by General Convention. They are given resolutions that have been concurred, as well as resolutions that were submitted, but not considered by General Convention. The Blue Book Report, which comes out prior to General Convention and contains all the "A" resolutions -- the resolutions that carry work forward from the previous General Convention, or create new ministries and work as a result of the findings of the Committee or Commission -- "drive" the work of General Convention to a large degree. The Committees and Commissions demonstrate our polity as a bicameral system of governance and, along with the Executive Council and the General Convention Officers and the Officers of the DFMS, are the legitimate authority to carry on the work of the Church between General Conventions.

As President of the House of Deputies, I serve as a member ex officio of all the Committees and Commissions. The canon also allows for my appointment of a representative to serve in my stead on a Committee or Commission, with voice but no vote, if I am unable to attend when the Committee or Commission meets. I have taken that opportunity to appoint special representatives to 12 of the 18 Committees and Commissions. It will be their responsibility to serve the group on my behalf, providing their expertise, creativity and support and to communicate with me and with each other about ways in which we may be helpful and ways in which the Committees and Commissions may collaborate in their work.

Notices of Committee and Commission meetings and meeting agenda will be posted on the website prior to their gatherings. Minutes will be posted following the meetings.

It is my pleasure to serve you as President of the House of Deputies. You are always encouraged to contact me with your ideas, comments and suggestions.