To unite with one another and the broader Episcopal Church, we must contend together to move beyond the things that divide us and set a new course in Christian discipleship, congregational renewal, and community outreach. If I receive the required consents to become your Bishop, I pledge the following for my part:
1) On Same-Gender Marriage: Marriage in parishes will be a matter of conscience and context, decided by the leadership at each parish. Parishes and Rectors in the Diocese of Florida that choose to offer same-gender marriages will be free to do so in accordance with the parameters of the approved liturgies and canons of the Episcopal Church. The pastoral conscience of clergy will be respected across theological difference. No one, progressive or traditional, will be forced, coerced or manipulated to hold or change a matter of conscience. We minister in vastly different contexts. Effective evangelism in various parishes is very different. Pastoral care and episcopal oversight of all congregations shall remain with your bishop, and generous pastoral support shall be provided to any clergy and congregations who may request it in keeping with the spirit and intent of 2018 GC Resolution B012.
2) On Deployment and Discernment: In keeping with the anti-discrimination canons of the Episcopal church, potential ordinands and candidates for employment will be welcomed into discernment and calling processes based on their gifts and call to ministry without discrimination. We seek ministers who proclaim a life-changing gospel. Ordination will not be dependent on sexual orientation or political perspective but only on the church’s canonical process of discernment of the mystery of God’s call to sacred orders.
3) On Unity and Equality: One of the great gifts of The Episcopal Church is that we have found a way to spread our tent wide enough and make our doors broad enough so that people with diverging views on topics that divide the culture can be truly united and mutually flourish, as one Body in Jesus Christ. Any inequality of or discrimination against People of Color (POC), LGBTQ+ persons, or any other group in this diocese will be addressed and corrected. All sacraments should be accessible to all people consistent within the parameters of our agreed Christian and Episcopal doctrine and order. Opportunities for participation in ministry, leadership, and the full life of the diocese will be open to all. “All are welcome” should be understood to be the hospitality of all our congregations and ministries.
After the retirement of Bishop Samuel Johnson Howard, I would welcome the opportunity to implement these policies utilizing a collegial process. I am excited to begin a new era in the Diocese of Florida, while also remembering to thank and celebrate Bishop Howard and his many years of faithful service to Jesus Christ and the Episcopal Church.