July 21, 2023

Presiding Bishop Curry has informed us that the Episcopal Church’s Bishops and Standing Committees have voted not to consent to Charlie Holt’s decisive election as Bishop Coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. There are many things about the Church’s court of review and consent process that we do not understand and of which many of us cannot approve.

The reactionary rejection of Father Holt’s election troubles me. Our diverse Diocese has established, maintained, and promoted a big-tent culture in Florida open to all followers of Jesus Christ and those who seek to know Him. Deep divisions beset the Episcopal Church, but the Diocese of Florida has labored intently for twenty years to prevent another schism which would in any way resemble what we saw in 2004-2005. 

My vision of our Church is of one that is spacious enough to accommodate inquirers and worshipers of every ideology, age, race, ethnicity, origin, and orientation – one that does not superimpose a litmus test of secular politics on the sacred life of our Church or its mission.

Decisive majorities of the clergy and lay leadership within our Diocese voted twice for Charlie Holt to succeed me upon my retirement this fall. Florida Episcopalians’ clear preference for their own diocesan leader should have prevailed. We are a Diocese that takes pride in the leadership of our laity, who led two conventions in selecting Charlie Holt as their next Bishop. That leadership has, I fear, been undermined and their voice has, I fear, been disenfranchised.

I greatly admire Charlie Holt’s perseverance, patience, humility, and vision. Charlie and his wife Brooke have kept smiles on their faces and the joy of Jesus in their hearts all the while. I thank them both. I am also grateful to our Standing Committee for its faithfulness, service, and support of the Diocese and my ministry over these past twenty years.

Many of us have questions about what has happened and why. I expect to have more to say about these things shortly. For now, I am asking you to join me in prayer and reflection regarding these events and all that has led us to this place. I ask you to remain receptive to learning God’s plan for our Diocese and mindful of our relationships with Him and with one another. For now, please join me in prayer and in praise, thanking God for His grace and mercy, and praying that He will lead us as one in making good decisions for the future of our Diocese, ourselves, and all whom we love.

He will not fail us.

Yours in Jesus Christ our Lord,