On May 27, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry received notice of written objections, on procedural grounds, to the May 14 election of the Rev. Charlie Holt as bishop coadjutor in the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. These objections were received from delegates who voted in the diocese’s election.
The Canons of The Episcopal Church provide the following five-step mechanism for procedural objections to such elections:
- Within 10 days after the election, delegates who make up at least 10% of the number of delegates casting votes on the final ballot may file a written objection to the election process with the secretary of the diocesan convention.
- Within 10 days after receiving the written objections, the secretary of the diocesan convention must forward the written objections to the presiding bishop (as well as to the bishop diocesan, chancellor, and diocesan standing committee).
- The presiding bishop then is required to ask the Court of Review to investigate the complaint and produce a written report of its findings.
- The Court of Review has 30 days after receiving the presiding bishop’s request to submit a written report of its findings to the presiding bishop.
- The report of the Court of Review must then be sent to the standing committees and bishops exercising jurisdiction as part of the consent process (it must also be sent to the bishop diocesan, the chancellor, the standing committee, and the secretary of the diocesan convention, as well as to the objecting delegates). See Canon III.11.8(a), III.11.9(a)(1).
With the first two of five steps now accomplished, the third step is for the presiding bishop to ask the Court of Review to investigate the complaint.
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.
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.
Additionally, this timetable makes clear that the original date set for ordination and consecration—Oct. 8—will need to be postponed, likely until January of 2023.
I invite your prayers for everyone involved in this process as we discern a path forward together.
The Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley
Bishop for Pastoral Development
The Episcopal Church
image: The Rev Charles Holt (left), with the Rt Rev Samuel Johnson Howard, Bishop of Florida. Image from the Diocese of Florida.