[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has received notice of written objections, on procedural grounds, to the May 14 election of the Rev. Charlie Holt as bishop coadjutor in the Diocese of Florida, according to a June 3 statement from the Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley, the church’s bishop for pastoral development.
On May 25, the Diocese of Florida announced it had received a formal objection signed by 37 clergy and lay deputies to the diocese’s special election convention claiming that last-minute changes to the voting process violated diocesan canons and that technical problem disrupted the vote, rendering Holt’s election invalid.
The presiding bishop received the written notice on May 27, within the 10-day period in which the diocese was required to send the complaint it received from the delegates, said Ousley, who noted that this completes the second step in the five-step election objection process, which must be completed before the usual process of obtaining consent from bishops and standing committees across the church can begin.
Given the time required for the entire process, Holt can no longer be consecrated on Oct. 8, as the diocese had originally scheduled. If he does eventually receive the required consents, his consecration would likely take place in January 2023, Ousley said.
“This is a vital canonical process with which we will be fully cooperative,” Tyler Holder, the diocese’s communications director, told Episcopal News Service on June 3. “We believe in the election’s validity with the highest degree of confidence, but we value the input of those who have objected. We look forward to hearing the results of the review and understand that it will delay the originally planned consecration.”
The third step, the statement said, is for Curry to submit the complaint to the churchwide Court of Review, which then has 30 days to investigate and write a report. Church canons do not specify a time period in which the presiding bishop must submit the complaint to the court after receiving it.
“Bishop Curry is mindful of the 30-day deadline imposed on the Court of Review to conduct its work thoroughly and transparently and assemble its report; he is likewise mindful of how crucial this process is for the Episcopal Diocese of Florida and the wider church,” Ousley said.
“Because some members of the Court of Review are also deputies and bishops preparing for the 80th General Convention and Lambeth Conference, Bishop Curry has determined — in consultation with the president of the Court of Review and leadership of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida — that he will transmit the written objections to the Court of Review on July 1,” according to the statement.
The Court of Review’s mandate is not necessary to issue rulings on the canonical validity of election procedures, Ousley recently told Episcopal News Service, but to write a report that is then sent to all diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction. Then, within 120 days, a majority of each group must issue consent before a bishop-elect can be consecrated.
In almost all cases, the consent process is a formality, but Holt’s election is facing a separate challenge in that area. Some Episcopalians have voiced objections to Holt’s election on social media, citing Holt’s views on same-sex marriage and statements that they view as intolerant or insulting to LGBTQ+ people and Black people, and some have said they are writing to their bishops and standing committees to encourage them not to consent to the election.
Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect date for Bishop-elect Charlie Holt’s planned consecration.
– Egan Millard is an assistant editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at email@example.com.