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Florida bishop elected at second attempt

25 November 2022

19 votes were declared illegal: delegates had selected all three candidates on the ballot

EPISCOPAL NEWS SERVICE

The Revd Charlie Holt

The Revd Charlie Holt

A NEW Bishop Coadjutor of Florida has been elected at the second attempt, after the nullification of the first election and months of disputes over the process (News, 28 October).

The Revd Charlie Holt was elected at a special convention last weekend, with 56 clergy votes and 79 laity. The runner-up, the Revd Beth Tjoflat, won 31 clergy votes and 44 laity.

Nineteen votes were declared illegal: delegates had selected all three candidates on the ballot paper.

Afterwards, in a letter to the diocese, Mr Holt said: “Nothing has been easy about this bishop election process. At times it has been really hard.

“Any election, by its very nature, is a contest that unavoidably divides us into different groups with majorities and minorities as we support our desired candidate and our desired outcome. Our most recent election had particular tension. One person reflected to me that ‘Watching the election online was like watching my parents fight.’

“I am looking forward to serving you, praying with and for you, learning with you how we can be the hands of love in our communities. Let us begin with love of one another.”

He had won the first vote in May this year, but it was later declared unfair by the Court of Review of the Episcopal Church in the United States, which ruled that a clergy quorum had not been reached, and that the switch to allow online voting by clergy only, just two days before the election, was “fundamentally unfair to the delegates of the convention and its candidates” (News, 26 August).

Mr Holt withdraw his own acceptance of the result, and it was declared that there would be a new election.

His candidacy had been marred by criticism of his previously expressed views on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ people. Some Episcopalians wrote to their bishops to ask them not to consent to the election result after his first win.

For this second result to stand, a majority of diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction must consent to the election in 120 days. If that happens, Mr Holt will be consecrated Bishop Coadjutor, and will succeed Bishop John Howard as diocesan bishop when the latter retires next year.

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