Florida Bishop John Howard announces retirement plans

Posted Feb 10, 2021

[Episcopal News Service] Florida Bishop John Howard has announced plans to retire in fall 2023 and has called for the election of a bishop coadjutor.

Howard made the announcement Jan. 30 during Florida’s Diocesan Convention. He has led the Jacksonville-based diocese since 2004 and will reach the church’s mandatory retirement age of 72 in 2023.

“The 178th convention of The Episcopal Diocese of Florida offers gratitude to God for the leadership of God’s servant Samuel Johnson Howard as its Eighth Bishop Diocesan,” the Standing Committee said in its resolution initiating the search for a bishop coadjutor, who would be installed as bishop diocesan after Howard retires.

The search committee is scheduled to begin accepting nominations for bishop coadjutor by this fall, with an election in summer 2022 and consecration by Nov. 5, 2022.

Howard, who previously served as vicar of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York, is known as one of the more theologically conservative bishops in The Episcopal Church. Leading up to the 79th General Convention in 2018, he was one of eight bishops who refused to allow same-sex couples to marry using church-approved trial rites.

Howard opposed but ultimately accepted General Convention’s compromise resolution that year, which was intended to accommodate couples without requiring Howard and other conservative bishops to act contrary to their theological beliefs about marriage. In most cases, those bishops chose to delegate pastoral oversight to other bishops.