Dear beloved members of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida,
What a gift and honor to have been entrusted twice with your election to serve as your next bishop. The love and kindness you have shared with me and my family over the past year have been a tremendous blessing.
We will always remember the gifts you have given us, no matter what else.
Your unwavering support has been the wind under our wings. My love for all of you has only grown stronger throughout this year.
Let us know that God is still in charge of the church. Despite the chaotic nature of church politics and clashes of individual interests, the Lord’s purposes will always prevail. The history of God’s people in the Bible demonstrates a consistent pattern in which even the decisions and deeds of us all, with our limited, flawed, and even sometimes wicked motives, are used to carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation.
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according
to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Our devotion to the Lord and his body, the Church, must remain unwavering. Our faith is not in temporal outcomes, but in Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God.
Please join me as I pray in hope for the future of the Diocese of Florida. Our hope is that these current struggles will not lead you to abandon it. Over thirty years ago, I joined the Episcopal Church with a missionary mindset and heart, which remains my passion. We are a wonderful denomination with a rich history of leadership in the United States and the world. The church faces many challenges, but it is worth fighting for. Brokenness unto repentance leads to spiritual renewal and reform because resurrection always follows the cross for those who believe.
Let us become more devoted disciples of Jesus Christ by persevering through these difficulties with deep humility and firm resolve. I am grateful for the 20-year service of Bishop Samuel Johnson Howard to the Diocese of Florida. Let us now support the Standing Committee as they will soon assume the role of Ecclesiastical Authority of the diocese. They deserve our gratitude, prayers, and support.
For our part, Brooke and I plan on staying and supporting our diocese, if you will have us, as there is much work to do, and this is our home.
Faithfully yours in Christ Jesus our Lord,