Celebrating 150 years of the Reformed Episcopal Church
Historic Downtown Charleston, South Carolina
Come Celebrate with Us!
June 7-9, 2023
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
A full schedule will be released shortly.
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
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.
A Historic City for a Historic Celebration
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 anniversary presentation and a musical celebration 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.
The cost for General Council will be $475. This includes a registration cost which helps cover our expenses and fees of worship, travel, hotel service charges, A/V equipment, registration system & credit card fees, coffee stations during the day, honorariums, and all the other aspects of hosting General Council (almost $50k total). This charge also includes our meals together. Specifically, this will include a private hot breakfast buffet each morning (Wed-Fri), lunches on both Wednesday and Thursday, and the Banquet dinner on Wednesday evening. For those residents of the Charleston-area who may not need breakfast (or for those staying at the hotel who don't want to eat breakfast), you will have the ability to opt out of the breakfast package which would reduce your cost by $100.
There will be options for those who need to purchase a ticket only for the Women's Day lunch & meeting, or for other meals. The costs will be explained during the registration process.
The cost of the optional harbor dinner cruise on Thursday evening is $90, if selected.
Registrations must be made by April 30th
To register for General Council, you will need to do two things:
2. Book your hotel room directly (if needed). We do not do this for you! See Hotel section below.
3. Pastors- you have an additional step. A parish certification form must be completed. See section below.
We have contracted with 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.
We were able to contract a block of 80 rooms each night from Tuesday, June 6th arrival through Friday, June 9th departure. Thirty rooms have also been blocked for Friday night for those who wish to stay until Saturday. Once the block is filled, the hotel will consider opening more rooms to us if there is still availability. However, there will be no guarantee. In every case we will try to help accommodate your stay at the Francis Marion, but once availability is gone, you will have to arrange your stay somewhere else. You will want to book your rooms as soon as possible.
The hotel rooms will cost $169 per night plus taxes for a traditional room which features either one queen bed or two double beds. A deluxe king room or deluxe two double-bed room (each room is about 100 sq. ft. bigger than a traditional room) are available for $209 per night. We want to be forthright in letting you know that while the hotel has been renovated and every room has in-room vanity areas for the ladies, the bathrooms in each room are quite small (space for one person at a time). The hotel had to work within the constraints of the historic design of the structure. This being said, the location of the hotel and the discounted rates more than makes up for the small bathrooms. A quick search of the same hotel or other local hotels in downtown Charleston for the same dates as General Council are currently charging around $350 per room, with some as high as $500 or more.
Additionally, the group room rate is extended by courtesy of the hotel from Sunday check-in (June 4) through Saturday check-out (June 10), subject to availability. This may help if you plan on scheduling an extra day or two before General Council to enjoy Charleston. These extended days are not guaranteed. They are first-come first-serve and subject to the availability of the hotel at the time of your booking. Again – book early!
Hotel Reservations must be made by April 30thYou can use the big blue button below to reserve your room(s). It should automatically apply our group code and show you availability. If you prefer to call the hotel, you can use the phone number below and tell them the group code (EPISCOPAL23).
Council will begin first thing on Wednesday morning. It is recommended that you arrange your travel and arrive for check-in on Tuesday afternoon/evening. We plan to adjourn Council no later than 1pm on Friday. You may arrange your choice of travel knowing that information.
The Francis Marion Hotel
387 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Group Code: EPISCOPAL23
Book a Room
If you are a pastor, please read this!!
Every parish in the Reformed Episcopal Church must submit a parish certification form, regardless of whether the pastor or other representatives General Council or not. This is our way of obtaining pertinent statiscal information, and certifying those individuals duly elected by their parish to represent and vote on the parish's behalf. This form is due by April 30th. If it is not completed, your parish will be reported to your Diocesan Bishop for follow-up, and any representatives from your parish attending General Council will be classified as Observers and not entitled to any voting priviledges. Please use the blue button below to complete this certification. The opening page of the form will explain what is needed so you can gather that information in advance.
Be sure to hit the submission button after completing the final page of the parish certification form. You should receive a confirmation page displayed on the screen once you submit it. If you do not see a thank you message for submitting the form, then you didn't actually submit it.
Parish Certification Form
Report & Journal
The report packet for General Council 2023 as well as the Journal of the previous Council (2021) will be available electronically. They will be emailed two weeks prior to General Council to each registrant at the email address provided during registration. These same pdf files will be avialble for download on this website in this section. Most people will download these reports to their devices and/or print their own personal copy in advance of General Council.
We do NOT print reports and distribute reports at General Council. If you prefer to pay an addition $35 during registration to cover supplies, labor, and postage then you can choose to have a 3-ring binder with the reports and journal shipped to you 2 weeks prior to council.
Committee Reports are due to the office Canon Jason by May 15th and will be formatted and compiled that week. They should be emailed and posted on the website no later than May 24th.
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.
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.