Charlie Holt

To all members of the Diocese of Florida,

We greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, with prayers that you are in the midst of a holy and edifying Lent.

We first want to thank you for your patience. As we stated in our February 28 letter to you, we have been working diligently behind the scenes to craft a response to the report of the Court of Review that is gracious and compelling. Several times we felt we were close, only to receive new information that required us to reorganize much of our work. There have been many media inquiries that required response, as well as a House of Bishops meeting to navigate.

In the midst of developing our response, we have also been working with Bishop Howard, the Rev. Holt, and Mrs. Lenora Gregory, Vice-Chair of Diocesan Council, to negotiate the terms of a Listening Process that can help us be reconciled to one another. We pray that this process will move all the people of our diocese towards restored unity and trust, whether one feels historically marginalized, recently angered by the disruptive efforts of a few, or just deeply saddened by the whole conflict and torn because they love people on both sides. This will be a long process, led by the Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves. Bishop Gray-Reeves is former bishop of the Diocese of El Camino-Real and a highly trained, skilled, and experienced mediator. You can expect to hear more about this listening process in the weeks ahead.

Below you will find links to:

We continue to believe that the election on November 19, 2022, was both canonically and procedurally sound, and thus fair and valid. We believe the Court of Review acted with bias against Bishop Howard, Fr. Charlie, and the Standing Committee. And we believe that any bishop or Standing Committee willing to read these reports with objectivity, and with a concern for procedure and good faith over political agendas, will agree on both counts. Your lay and clergy delegates showed up on November 19 and cast their votes in good faith; we are praying that the wider Church will uphold your democratic will.

This is an anxious time in our diocese. We feel it too, and deeply so. But we want to remind you that YOU are the Diocese of Florida. Your weekly worship, your daily devotions, your pastoral care, your care for the poor and incarcerated, your support of Camp Weed, your Bible Study and Reunion Groups, your work with youth, your mission trips, your literacy programs, your food pantries, your creation care, your love of God and neighbor. You, collectively, left, right and center, are the Church!

We live in a world that is addicted to indignation, fueled by consumption of the algorithmic curation of social and political media. As sisters and brothers bound together in Jesus Christ, we must recognize and move away from this impulse to indignation. Our publication of these documents will no doubt tempt some to rush to judgment and to Facebook. We implore you to resist that urge. Instead, in this Lenten season and into the season of Resurrection, we beseech you to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, and in his strength to love your neighbor as yourself. 

The future will be what it will be. Jesus will be seated at the right hand of God, reigning over all the earth, and the Holy Spirit will live in our hearts. 

You are in our prayers, Beloved. Please keep us in yours.

In Christ Alone,

The Standing Committee