In Do-Over Election, Florida again elects Charlie Holt as Next Bishop

In a do-over election in the Diocese of Florida, the electing convention has once again chosen the Rev Charlie Holt to be the next diocesan bishop.

Holt was elected on the first ballot, just squeaking by; receiving the minimum number of clergy votes required to elect. There were 111 clergy present and 132 lay delegates; the votes needed for election were 56 clergy votes and 67 lay. Holt received the required 56 clergy votes and 79 lay votes.

Since the previous election, Holt had joined the diocesan staff as the presumed bishop-elect. The other candidates were also in the first election, the Rev. Miguel Rosada of St. Luke’s/San Lucas Episcopal Church in Jacksonville and the Rev. Beth Tjoflat of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Jacksonville.

The next step before Holt can be consecrated is to receive consents from the majority of other diocesan bishops and standing committees in the Episcopal Church. The dioceses have 120 days to forward their approvals. The current bishop, the Rt Rev John Howard has indicated he plans to retire in late 2023.

Some concerns had been raised questioning Holt’s commitment to abide by the church’s decisions regarding marriage equality and the full inclusion of LGBT+ persons in the life of the church. It is rare for a bishop-elect to not receive the necessary consents, but not unheard of. The last bishop-elect to not receive the needed consents was the Rev Thew Forrester who had been elected in the diocese of Northern Michigan, but did not receive the needed consents due to concerns about his commitment to the core beliefs of the Christian faith and his open embrace of Zen Buddhism. No bishop-elect has failed to receive consents based on their opposition to or less-than-enthusiastic embrace of full-inclusion.

In his letter to the diocese giving thanks for his election and calling for unity in the diocese, Holt wrote;

“Now is time to reassure that we all still love one another. I am so grateful for my colleagues and partners in the Gospel, Miguel Rosada and Beth Tjoflat who stood for election with me. I have grown to love and appreciate them as not only co-presbyters but as friends.

 My prayer for our diocese is that we would find our gathering place in the gracious arms of Jesus who reaches out to all of us with his unconditional love and pulls us in toward one another by wrapping us in the royal clothing of his holy and renewing Spirit. Beloved, let us love one another. You are redeemed children of God, brothers and sisters in the family of God, co-heirs with Christ, and the kingdom of God belongs to you.

In that singular identity, mysteriously we are empowered with that same Crucified love of Jesus that we might become instruments of grace to a world that desperately needs it. It is for us to reach forth our hands in love to gather in the people of the world to Him.

 

Chastened after the validity of the previous election was called into question, the standing committee of the diocese led an open and transparent process and offered  their thanks to the diocese and to those who worked to ensure a successful election in a letter to the diocese.

“We are pleased that we were able to successfully host an election this Saturday in accordance with our Canons and name a Bishop Coadjutor Elect through the voice of our clergy and lay delegates. We congratulate the Rev. Charlie Holt for being selected as our Bishop Coadjutor Elect.

 We also thank each delegate for investing their time and resources to attend the election and respect all of their differing perspectives and opinions. We hope the guidance from Mr. Tim Wynn, our independent parliamentarian, and The Very Rev. Timothy Kimbrough, Professor of Canon Law at Duke University, among others, provided you with the clarity and confidence it gave us in our procedural processes.

Both have verified the election’s procedural validity, per our Canons and Robert’s Rules of Order.”

 

image: election results form first ballot [Diocese of Florida]

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