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Report from Deputy Rev. John Talbert

Sunday, June 23

Greetings from General Convention 81 in Louisville, KY!

(And I don’t hesitate to begin my report with exclamation points!!) I am legit excited to be here! Perhaps that is because I’m a first-time deputy; maybe it is because I have an unrealistic optimism about being able to step in right away and make a big difference for the future of the church… but regardless – being only the first day of legislation, I have not been dissuaded thus-far.

In our short time in Louisville, the greatest experience has been getting to meet and hear stories of deputies that have come from all the different dioceses of The Episcopal Church. I haven’t yet met someone from all 111 dioceses across our nine provinces, but there is still time. I have, however, enjoyed the conversation and company of some amazing contributors to our diverse church: our executive director of Forward Movement; the The Episcopal Church director of reconciliation, justice, and creation care; the president of the House of Deputies; and even a four-time Jeopardy Champion!

Admittedly, I wouldn’t have imagined having the opportunity to gather with such great minds when I was first elected a deputy during the Central Gulf Coast's diocesan convention back in 2022. But I’ll clue you in on how you too could make it happen… say “Yes!” "Yes" to making new friends, "Yes" to going to gatherings with people I didn’t know, or a spontaneous, or just stopping in the lobby instead of going straight to your room to see who else is around. (I’d like to note, all these things are always difficult on some level for us introverts!) But I am glad that I did. This whole gathering is full of individuals who love Jesus, love their Church, and are ready to put in the hard work to help guide our work together to reflect the Love that God has for us. All of the deputies, alternates, and bishops with us in Louisville are incredibly bright, passionate, and ready to do the hard work of proliferating their joy of being a part of a faithful community.  

However, of all the new friends I have made thus far, the nearly 50 deputies that make up the General Convention Under 40 Caucus are among my favorites. I was welcomed to join the caucus at our Province IV Synod gathering at Kanuga this past May. There I met Rob Coulston, a campus minister from Lexington, Kentucky. Rob told me about this group of young deputies and encouraged me to join their Discord server and caucus meetings. Although I am 41 now, I was glad to learn that I only had to be elected as a deputy before my 40th birthday – so I was in!

GC81 Under 40 Caucus

Over the past few months, I’ve been amazed by the organization and communication I’ve found with these new friends, and last night I was blessed to gather with them in person for our first official meeting. We listened to each other’s testimony, shared our thoughts on candidates for the House of Deputies leadership and planned a handful of gatherings throughout the coming week.  This growing group of leaders in our church gives me immense hope for our future. But what it really affirms for me is that even our youngest generations are more than capable of stepping up in our church governance. The next time you see 18-to-40-year-olds in the pews next to you, please encourage them, raise them up, and then send them to the diocesan convention! The greater church is ready to welcome them with loving arms, just as I have been. Together in Love!

Please continue to pray for all of us here in Louisville as we make a home together in the House of Deputies and deliberate the call of the Episcopal church. I look forward to sharing more with you soon and being back with you in the Central Gulf Coast in a few weeks.


Deputy John Talbert


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