Dear Deputies and Alternate Deputies,
News travels fast, and you may already know that I have tested positive for COVID-19. Several other members of Executive Council have tested positive as well, and so far we are all experiencing only mild symptoms. It is also possible that you’ve read that the Executive Council, at its recently concluded meeting in San Juan, approved my request for a $50,000 allocation that will allow the House of Deputies to work with a public health expert in developing protocols and procedures to keep us as safe as possible during our upcoming General Convention.
None of these developments is the occasion for this letter. Rather, I am writing to offer you as much assurance as I can that as a member of the House of Deputies, you are not going to be alone in facing the challenges that may be posed by attending our convention in Baltimore in July. Thanks to the Executive Council allocation, we will have the best public health advice available. But that step, while necessary, is not sufficient.
No matter how firm our public health footing, this convention is going to challenge each person who attends—sometimes in ways that are easy to anticipate, and sometimes in ways we cannot foresee. We are currently putting a strong support system in place to allow us to respond to whatever challenges you might face. We want to make sure that you will have access to good, on-site advice should you or someone you know become sick, and that you will receive excellent pastoral support. We are also investigating ways for deputies to provide mutual aid to one another so members of the house who need support paying for tests, masks, COVID-related travel delays and other COVID protocols will be able to have what they need. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that I do not want any deputy who becomes sick at General Convention to feel as though they will have to manage their situation by themselves.
You will, in all likelihood, receive numerous communications as we prepare for convention. Some of these may unsettle you. All I ask is that you accept my reassurance that my team and I are working on your behalf. We will do everything we can to support you and to continue to work toward sound and strict COVID protocols that will keep us all as safe as possible when we gather in Baltimore.
As we prepare for this most unusual convention, I want to hear from you with ideas, questions, and concerns. Please email my office at firstname.lastname@example.org, and look for more news soon about how we will manage this pandemic together.
The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings
President of the House of Deputies