The decision was presented by the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention and Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Arrangements, to the Executive Council currently meeting at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD (Diocese of Maryland).
“The Standing Committee was blessed by having three outstanding finalist cities, each with the enthusiastic support of their bishops and the other leadership of their dioceses,” Barlowe explained. “Austin emerged as the best site for 2018 because of a convergence of factors, including superb facilities that have achieved a LEED Gold environmental rating; a walkable location, close to all hotels and the vibrant music venues and restaurants of downtown; and the fact that the Austin Convention Center was by far the most economical choice for the church.”
Concurrently, Bishop Andrew Doyle of the Diocese of Texas announced the selection.
Bishop Doyle noted: “The diocesan Executive Board voted unanimously and enthusiastically to place the Diocese of Texas name up for consideration when they were given the opportunity last year. The final decision gives us a unique opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the broader Church. We hope to share what we are learning on the forefront of God’s mission with our wider church family. We also look forward to hearing about the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of mission that others in the Episcopal Church have experienced. As General Convention is a global event with representatives from across the world it will be a unique experience for Texas.”
He added, “We are thrilled to welcome deputies and bishops, exhibitors and visitors to
Austin, the live music capital of the world and a singularly unique city in the hill country of Texas. We stand with open arms to share our Southern hospitality, our talented musicians, barbecue, bats and wild flowers with the broader Church.”
In his report to the Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance, and Administration for Mission, Barlowe acknowledged that the site selection committee wrestled with a concern that the Diocese of Texas has not in recent years met its full financial asking from The Episcopal Church to the budget passed by General Convention. “This concern was addressed in conversations between the Bishop of Texas, the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies and myself,” he said. “We heard a clear commitment from Bishop Doyle and the leadership he invited to meet with us of their desire to participate fully in the Episcopal Church and its consequent financial and other obligations.”
As required by canon, the decision received approval from the majority of the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies, the Presidents of the Provinces, and the Executive Council.