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GC Report from Deputy Joe McDaniel, Jr.

The journey to the 81st General Convention has been a long one, involving much work, including months of Zoom meetings, organizing an in-person gathering of the 250 members of the Deputies of Color, organizing campaign forums for the president of the House of Deputies Candidates and for the vice president of the House of Deputies Candidates, many hours spent drafting seven resolutions that are scheduled to be heard at General Convention.

Now that we have finally arrived in Louisville, it has been a joy being here, seeing old friends and making new ones. This is my fourth time representing the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast as a General Convention deputy. I am truly honored by the continued faith that you have repeatedly placed in me. However, this time I attend the 81st General Convention as a member of The Executive Council, and the convener of the Deputies of Color.


After the House of Deputies got administratively organized, on June 23, approving the agenda for our six days of General Convention, adopting/rejecting the Special Rules of Order that will govern our time together, we got on to the main work for which we are here, dealing with the almost three hundred resolutions that are before the House. As I said above, I drafted seven resolutions that have been placed on the calendar. My first presentation to the General Convention involved presenting testimony in support of Resolution #D014, entitled, Declare Gun Violence a National Health Crisis. The resolution was adopted. My testimony in support of the resolution on Day 1 went as follows:


“Continued debate on gun resolutions reminds me of the lesson that we learn from Bartimaeus, the power of persistent faith. For in Mark 10: 46-52, "A blind beggar named Bartimaeus was sitting beside the road. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “ Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me 'BE QUIET' many of the people yelled at him. But Jesus stopped and said call him. And they called the blind man, saying to him, 'Take heart, Get up, he is calling you.' And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus, where his sight was restored."


Well in 2015, when the General Convention last called for action on gun issues, nothing has changed, except for more killings, for example on:

  • On June 12, 2016, 49 people were shot and killed and 53 wounded in a mass shooting at Pulse Night club In Orlando, FL;

  • October 1, 2017, the highest number of fatalities from a mass shooting in the United States was recorded when Stephen Paddock attacked a crowd of concert-goers on the Las Vegas strip, killing 60 and injuring 546 others and the ensuing panic brought the total number of injured to approximately 867; and

  • On May 24, 2022, an 18-year-old man killed 19 students and two teachers and wounded 17 individuals at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, using an AR-15-style rifle. This was the second deadliest school shooting in US History.


Given the increasing number of deaths we are seeing from gun-related violence, I believe it is time to take heed of Bartimaeus’ lesson of the power of persistent faith and reassert the clarion call that gun violence in the United States is a public health crisis that requires federal government action. Again, it is time to reassert the clarion call of what is obvious, that gun violence is a national health crisis, which is the aim of the D014 resolution. I therefore urge this body to approve this resolution. Thank You.”


On Day 2, I presented testimony in opposition to C008, which sought to decrease the annual diocesan assessment from 15% to 10% by the year 2033. The resolution was defeated. My testimony went as follows:


“In Matthew 6:21 'Put your treasure where your heart is,' it is emphasized that our priorities and values are reflected in where we invest our resources. For the Episcopal Church, the annual diocesan assessment plays a crucial role in funding essential ministries, programs, and services that reflect its mission and values. By maintaining the current assessment rate of 15%, the church demonstrates its commitment to supporting these important initiatives that are at the heart of its identity and purpose.


Reducing the diocesan assessment to 10% could potentially weaken the financial support available for critical outreach programs, clergy salaries, church maintenance, and other vital activities. This reduction may impact the church’s ability to effectively carry out its mission and serve its members and communities in need. By keeping the assessment at 15%, the church can ensure that its financial resources align with its values and priorities, thus fulfilling the biblical mandate to place its treasure where its heart is.


In conclusion, maintaining the annual diocesan assessment at 15% is an expression of the Episcopal Church’s commitment to stewardship, mission, and service in alignment with the biblical principle of investing resources where one’s heart lies. This decision allows the church to continue its vital work and fulfill its calling to be a beacon of faith, hope, and love in the world.”


Day 3 has begun and I am excited because today two more of the resolutions I submitted are scheduled to be heard. Wish me luck.

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