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By David W. Virtue, DD
July 21, 2023

It was to be expected of course. The evangelically driven Charlie Holt was denied the opportunity to be the next Bishop of Florida.

He failed to obtain consents from the Standing Committees and the HOB, but no one is telling how they voted. The Florida Standing Committee, in its statement on the result, acknowledged that Holt's election was now "null and void." The standing committee will assume ecclesiastical authority in the diocese when John Howard steps down later this year after reaching 72.

The Florida Standing Committee, in its July 21 message, said that it will invite outside bishops to assist with confirmations, ordinations and other pastoral roles after Howard retires. Longer-term options, including seeking an assisting bishop, launching a new search for a diocesan bishop or electing a bishop provisional to serve for a limited time as a transitional leader.

The Diocese of Florida elected the Rev. Charlie Holt twice to succeed Bishop John Howard, but a third run at the job, saw a majority of bishops and standing committees voting to withhold their consent for fear of offending the shrill pansexualists who would have accused them of homophobia had they consented. Cowards all.

He was allegedly denied consent over "procedural concerns" and Holt's "past statements on racial and LGBTQ+ issues." That is a flat out lie.

The local Black Ministerium approved of his appointment and Holt let it be known he would not violate B012 (homosexual marriage) even though he personally disagrees with it. But tolerance is not tolerated in TEC especially on such hot button issues as LGBTQI sexualities. Anyone who holds views contrary to the new received teaching is sooner or later cancelled -- gone - in the name of inclusion and diversity.

You can be as theologically heretical as Jack Spong and get away with it, but if you are a Bishop Bill Love, someone of orthodox persuasion on faith and morals you will be handed your walking papers. You can even split the Church as Bishop Gene Robinson did and still get a pass.

Two dioceses did declare their hand. The diocese of Ohio Standing Committee issued a statement on May 10 explaining why it voted against consenting to Holt's ordination. Texas Bishop Andrew Doyle, Holt's former bishop, issued a forceful defense of Holt in a May 12 online essay that also scrutinized claims that Florida's process for granting clergy members voice and vote in the election was uniquely unfair, ENS noted.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry issued the usual canards about "holding the whole church in prayer as we move forward," and "please continue to pray for the diocese and as well as Charlie Holt and his family, blah, blah, blah."

Holt himself gave a groveling response thanking the diocese for electing and welcoming him and saying that he and his wife plan to remain in the Diocese of Florida, "if you will have us, as there is much work to do, and this is our home. 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."

VOL asked Holt for a statement about his losing the election meant he would consider moving to the Anglican Church in North America, Holt replied, "no and no."

Latest figures reveal a diocese in decline.

In 2021 the diocese had 66 parishes, with a membership of 23,075 and Communicants of 17,515. But average weekly attendance (AWA) was only 4,902, a percentage attendance of 21.2%.

Baptisms and confirmations combined came to 397. The biggest single figure was funerals which came in at 317. Plate & Pledge: $21,476,847.

The diocese will follow the trajectory of all TEC dioceses. The diocese will, within a generation be gone. Most Floridian Episcopalians are aging and dying.

ENS noted that the Diocese of Florida, one of five Episcopal dioceses in the state, has long been known as a conservative stronghold in a denomination that is increasingly progressive -- particularly on issues of LGBTQ+ inclusion. Howard was one of the last holdout Episcopal bishops to allow same-sex couples to marry in his diocese.

The diocese has drunk the Kool-Aid and their punishment will be their inevitable demise. God is never mocked. The diocese will reap what it has sown.


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