Diocese of Florida releases video answering questions about bishop elections

By ENS staff
Posted Sep 16, 2022

[Episcopal News Service] The Diocese of Florida Standing Committee released a video on Sept. 16 offering answers to the “many questions” it said it had received regarding the decision to hold a new election for bishop coadjutor after objections were raised about the initial election process.

The Jacksonville-based diocese had declared the Rev. Charlie Holt the winner of its May 14 election, but afterward, its decision to allow clergy to attend and vote online while lay delegates had to attend in person prompted objections from some of the delegates. The churchwide Court of Review later concluded that the last-minute process changes were “fundamentally unfair to the delegates of the convention and the candidates.”

A new strictly in-person election now is scheduled for Nov. 19 at Camp Weed in Live Oak. The new candidate slate lists three of the five priests who were on the ballot in May for the diocese’s first attempt at an election. The candidates are Holt, the Rev. Miguel Rosada and the Rev. Beth Tjoflat.

The 16-minute video that the diocese released Sept. 16 features the Rev. Joe Gibbes, standing committee president, answering several questions posed by Jackie Jones, a member of the standing committee.

“There have been a lot of questions and rumors and lots of things swirling around the upcoming election, how we reached that decision as a standing committee, and a lot of other things,” Gibbes said. Among the questions Gibbes sought to answer was why the diocese didn’t delay the May 14 convention when concerns were raised beforehand.

Diocesan leaders sincerely believed that the convention’s online component was in the best interest of the diocese, its members and the delegates who were participating in the election, Gibbes said. “In retrospect, it was a mistake. … The provision of the online option was our decision as a standing committee, and we accept that responsibility. I, as the president, accept that responsibility.”

Gibbes also invited people to email any additional questions to standingcommittee@diocesefl.org.

In the Sept. 16 message, the standing committee also offered specifics on additional candidate nominations by petition, with the process opening at 8 a.m. on Sept. 20 and continuing until 5 p.m. on Oct. 3.