LGBT Episcopalians, Allies Believe Prejudice Stained the Episcopal Diocese of Florida Bishop Election


The election of a bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Florida had met with opposition from LGBT activists and sympathizers inside The Episcopal Church. These individuals believe that the process of selecting a bishop was conducted. 

Stained Prejudice at Diocese of Florida Bishop Election

According to Christian Post, the Rev. Charlie Holt has been enormously controversial due to his election to the office of bishop coadjutor the previous year. His detractors assert that the electoral process was not carried out honestly. In an open letter that was published last week, the LGBTQ+ Caucus of The Episcopal Church cited a recent investigation by the Court of Review that concluded that "LGBTQ+ people and affirming clergy face an uphill battle in obtaining canonical residence, licensing, and even access to the ordination process under," said Florida Bishop Samuel J. Howard. 

As per the Episcopal News Service, in the letter, they request that bishops and standing committees around the Episcopal Church withhold Holt's consent to become a bishop. At the second election, held in November 2022, Holt has again declared the victor. These allegations, however, prompted the Court of Review to undertake a second investigation based on the evidence it obtained of a pattern of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. 

Bishop John Howard, who is retiring, granted a canonical residency for priests; its conclusions, released this week, cast doubt on the validity of any future election in the Diocese of Florida. As previously said, some concerns highlight specific points after Holt's initial election in May 2022. Some of his ideas on racial relations and same-sex marriage were scrutinized at the time.

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Electing Rev. Charlie Holt

Jacksonville reported that a Gainesville-born, Jacksonville-raised Houston pastor would become the ninth bishop of the 184-year-old Episcopal Diocese of Florida. In October, Bishop Coadjutor elects Charlie Holt will be consecrated. After Howard retires at 72, he will become the diocese's bishop. 

About 250 clergies and lay delegates from each parish attended the Special Electing Convention Saturday at St. John's Cathedral in Jacksonville, the diocese's headquarters. In the same ballot, clergy and laity had to vote 50% plus one. Holt was the diocese's first bishop in 20 years. Joseph Gibbes, the rector of the Episcopal Church of Our Savior in Mandarin, chairs the diocese's standing committee, which advises the bishop. However, according to the ENS, the Deputies of Color, which consists of the House of Deputies' four ethnic caucuses, sent a letter on Feb. 28 to the bishops and diocese's standing committees of The Episcopal Church outlining their concerns regarding the Diocese of Florida bishop coadjutor election and requesting that consent be denied for the election. 

The letter is signed by the steering committees of the four-member caucuses: Asian/Pacific Islander Caucus, Black Caucus, Indigenous Caucus, and Hispanic Caucus. It comes after a churchwide Court of Review filed an investigative report questioning the Nov. 2022 election of the Rev. Charlie Holt as Florida's next bishop, citing anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in the diocese that may have skewed the roster of clergy delegates in Holt's favor and disparities in how lay delegates were deemed eligible to vote. 

In addition, the Deputies of Color reiterated earlier concerns about Holt's suitability to serve as bishop following his initial election in May 2022. Holt later revoked his acceptance of that outcome after a prior examination by the Court of Review uncovered irregularities in the election's conduct.

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