From Wednesday through Friday, June 7-9, 2023, we will gather in historic Charleston, SC for the 57th General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church. This Council will be our first time gathering in-person as a General Council since 2017, and we can’t wait to see so many friends that we haven’t seen in nearly 6 years.
This Council will also be especially meaningful and significant to us as a denomination. We will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Reformed Episcopal Church, which officially occurs on December 2, 2023. Praise God for the preservation and faithfulness of the Reformed Episcopal Church for so long!
General Overall Activities
Click Here to see the full schedule
Wednesday, June 7
Breakfast (@ hotel)
Holy Communion (@ Cathedral)
Lunch & Women of the Church Mtg (@ hotel)
Formal Banquet Dinner
Thursday, June 8
Breakfast (@ hotel)
Morning Prayer (@ St. John's)
Lunch (@ hotel)
Adjourn early (4:30p)
Optional Harbor Cruise Dinner (6:30pm)
Friday, June 9
Breakfast (@ hotel)
Morning Prayer (@ hotel)
Adjourn Council by (1pm)
NO GROUP LUNCH
Note: The Diocese of Mid-America IS NOT having a Synod meeting in conjunction with General Council. The Diocese will have a one-day Zoom Synod in October.
Arrangements have been made for us to stay and meet at the historic Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston. Named after the Revolutionary War hero, Francis Marion, this hotel opened in 1924 as one one of the largest and grandest hotels in the Carolinas. Sitting at the corner of Calhoun and King Streets, the hotel overlooks Marion Square and is within walking distance of the ACNA Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, St. John's REC, and many other historic sites and wonderful businesses (including King's Leaf Cigar Lounge next door - for those interested).
We have also made arrangements to have our opening Eucharist service on Wednesday morning, June 7th at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul (ACNA). Archbishop Foley Beach will be with us for this service. On Thursday morning, we will worship at our own St. John’s REC, home parish of Bishop Willie Hill, Ordinary of the Diocese of the Southeast.
As you stroll the streets of Charleston, you will also notice many of the ornamental wrought iron doors, gates, and fences. Many of these were handcrafted by our own Reformed Episcopalian, the late Mr. Philip Simmons. St. John's REC has a dedicated garden in tribute to Mr. Simmons. Here's a video if you want to learn more: SouthCarolinaETV
Overall, this should be a wonderful time of fellowship, gathering, celebrating, and learning! We pray that you will able to join us for this special council.
The Context and Vision of Bishop George David Cummins
We are honored to have the Primus of the Free Church of England, the Most Rev. Dr. John Fenwick, as our special General Council speaker. As we celebrate our denomination’s anniversary and rich history, it is most appropriate that Bishop Sutton invited Bishop Fenwick to provide two teaching sessions on the context and vision of Bishop George David Cummins, the founding bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church. Bishop Fenwick is a scholar and an author. He’s written books on the history of the Free Church of England including the background of the Reformed Episcopal Church in America and Britain. He’s also lectured at our seminaries.
Special Times of Celebration and Fellowship
Banquet Dinner (Wed) - On Wednesday evening, June 7th, we will enjoy a formal banquet dinner at the hotel featuring a special presentation led by our sponsoring Diocese of this Council, the Diocese of the Southeast!
Harbor Cruise Dinner (Thu) - On Thursday evening, June 8th, we have arranged a special private-chartered cruise dinner on the Charleston Princess. Imagine dining while enjoying the lights of the Charleston skyline as we cruise through the waters of Charleston Harbor. The cruise dinner is optional and the cost will be extra, but the experience is worth it!! Note: Space will be limited.
Registration for General Council is now closed
Please DO NOT SHOW UP IN JUNE without having registered and expect to receive meals or a seat at Council business sessions.
Final arrangments and numbers have already been sent to the hotel and meal vendors. The badges for Council have already been submitted and are in printing. If you didn't register and would like to check on any possible availability, you must email Canon Jason Grote (J2Grote@rechurch.org). Again, do not show up to General Council without registering expecting us to have available meals for you. If all you are wanting to attend is just the worship service on Wednesday or Thursday mornings, you do not need to register. We will have extra bulletins printed. You can simply show up to the Cathedral of St. Luke & St. Paul (Wednesday) or St. John's (Thursday).
The General Council Hotel is now full
Both our original contract of rooms and our extra addition of rooms have been reserved. The hotel no longer has any rooms during our stay and the reservation window has closed for our group rate.
You will need to consider other hotels. You may choose to stay outside of the downtown area (where the hotels are cheaper than other downtown hotels) and rent a car to travel to the Francis Marion hotel each day. You may also look at other hotels in the general walking distance of the Francis Marion (although they will probably be much more expensive than the Francis Marion). Some hotels that are closest to the Francis Marion Hotel are:
The Embassy Suites Charleston Historic District (Hilton)
The Hampton Inn Charleston Historic District (Hilton)
We will be staying and hosting our event at the Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston. The hotel is located about 12 miles from the Charleston airport (CHS). There is no shuttle than runs between them. You will have to arrange your own transportation to/from the airport and hotel. Taxis and Ubers are available in the area. Here is a link to the Charleston Airport Taxi web page for more information (cost for a taxi is $30 to Francis Marion Hotel). You can also rent a vehicle, but there is a parking cost at the hotel of approximately $20-$30 per night. Local residents driving to the hotel will be able to park at the hotel for a daily or hourly fee.
The Francis Marion Hotel
387 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
The report packet for General Council 2023 as well as the Journal of the previous Council (2021) are available electronically on this site. They will also be emailed prior to General Council to each registrant at the email address provided during registration. Most people will download these reports to their devices and/or print their own personal copy in advance of General Council.
You should read through the current report packet PRIOR to General Council. This will allow us to file many reports and move efficiently through our business. You do not need to print these reports, but you should have them available on your electronic devices during the business sessions.
We do NOT print reports and distribute reports at General Council. If you opted to purchase a printed copy during registration, it will be shipped to you so that you receive them 2 weeks prior to council.
The report packet is formatted such that you can print it double-sided and have each new report start on a fresh page. The blank pages you see are intentional. The page numbering system corresponds to the Order of Business and allows for late reports to be added to the packet without needing to reprint them. You can simply insert them where needed.57th GC Reports (Reports for this General Council)
56th GC Journal
If you have any questions or problems about registration, please contact the Very Rev. Canon Jason R. Grote at J2Grote@rechurch.org
This section will continue to be updated. Please check back for additional details.
Will Clergy vest?
All clergymen and Deaconesses are invited to vest and process for the opening Communion service on Wednesday morning. Bishops will wear rochet/chimere and red stole. Other clergy will wear Cassock/Surplice and red stole. Deaconesses will wear blue cassocks. Only participating clergy will vest on Thursday and Friday.
When Should I arrive?
Council will begin at 9am on Wednesday morning. You should plan to arrive on Tuesday afternoon/evening, June 6th for check-in at the hotel.
When Should I leave?
Council will officially end by 1pm on Friday, June 9th. There will NOT be a group lunch on Friday. You are free to either travel home that afternoon/evening or you can choose to extend your stay. Rooms on Friday night at the Francis Marion will be the same price, however the space may be limited. Reservations for Friday night will be based on hotel availability. If you leave on Friday and are flying, please account for a 20 minute ride back to the airport in your timing. It is recommended that you do not take any flights earlier than 4pm to be on the safe side.
Transportation to/from hotel and airport?
The hotel is approximately 12 miles from the Charleston Airport. You may rent a car and park in the city garage attached to the hotel. Valet parking is roughly $30 per night or $20 self-park. Taxis are available at the airport and the cost is $30. Uber or Lyft is also an option. Here is a link to the Charleston Airport Taxi web page for more information.
Why is Council so expensive?
The cost of General Council extends beyond just the cost of our group meals. We have to cover about $45,000-$50,000 worth of 'behind-the-scenes' costs for the registration system, credit card fees, sponsored travel, worship expenses, printing expenses, registration items, honorariums, coffee-break stations each day, audio-visual costs, hotel meeting space, planning trips/meetings, etc. This equates to a shared price of about $175 per registered person. In addition, the pricing of group meals is such that we need to cover the actual cost that the hotel charges along with a 22% hotel service charge and an 11% state sales tax on top of it. So a meal of $40 actually costs $53. This is why we have chosen to forego a group meal on Thursday evening and Friday lunch, and to instead offer an optional cruise dinner on Thursday.
What is the attire for the Wednesday Banquet?
The Wednesday evening banquet dinner is a formal Sunday dress banquet. Clergy should wear their clericals. Laity should dress appropriately.
What is the attire for the Thursday Cruise Dinner?
For those who purchased a ticket for the cruise, the attire is more relaxed and casual. The weather might be a little more warm and humid on the outside decks of the boat. Clergy do NOT need to wear clericals (although they can if they really wish to).
Are there cash bars available at the dinners?
Both the Wednesday evening banquet and the Thursday cruise dinner will have cash bars available, for those who desire such. Please note that the Cruise dinner will NOT actually accept cash. They will only accept Credit Cards.