Florida Standing Committee stands behind Bishop-elect Holt while citing situation’s ‘complexity and fragility’

The Rev. Charlie Holt in a video introduces himself to members of the Diocese of Florida. Photo/Diocese of Florida

By David Paulsen Episcopal News Service

The Diocese of Florida Standing Committee released a statement on Feb. 28 indicating it was taking time to “make our case” that the Rev. Charlie Holt should be the diocese’s next bishop while lamenting what it called a “media storm” that followed “the purportedly accidental leak” of an investigation into Holt’s November election by the churchwide Court of Review.

The intense focus on Florida’s election of a bishop coadjutor — its second such election, after the churchwide Court of Review found procedural problems with the May 2022 election — has “amplified the complexity and fragility of the situation considerably,” the standing committee said. “Many voices from around the church are involved at this point.”

The statement did not cite specifics, though it came on the same day that the Deputies of Color, an umbrella group of the House of Deputies representing its four ethnic caucuses, released a letter to all bishops and standing committees in the church urging them to withhold consent to Holt’s election. Majorities from both groups are needed for an election to be affirmed, under Episcopal Church Canons.

The update from the standing committee also follows a report by Episcopal News Service on Feb. 24 that confirmed and revealed new details about allegations of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in the diocese. Several gay and lesbian priests have said they were expected to remain celibate to serve in the diocese, allegations that cast doubt on the integrity of the November election, according to the Court of Review. It also found fault in how the diocese assigned eligibility to lay delegates.

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