The Reverend Charlie Holt
Associate Rector of Teaching and Formation
The Church of St. John the Divine
For almost 25 years, I have served the Episcopal Church in three unique missional contexts. In Charlotte, NC, I developed a true heart for evangelism and discipleship as hundreds of people came to a new relationship with the Lord through the Alpha Course. Out of the fruit of that ministry, we planted a new church in Charlotte.
At age 30, I became rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lake Mary, FL. Lake Mary was a fast-growing rural community transitioning to become a dynamic suburb of Orlando. St. Peter’s became a hub for youth and children’s ministry. We would see 1000 children and youth on our campus in any given year.
During my 16 years there, we developed what proved to be an innovative strategy to reach our community by connecting a small group ministry with our liturgical calendar and church year. Our goal was always to have over 110% of our average Sunday attendance in small groups. At St. Peter’s, I developed a commitment to community engagement ranging from relief work to homeless ministry. As a leader in Sanford Pastor’s Connecting, a group of racially diverse ministers, we developed a unified and prayerful community response following the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
My ministry since moving to Houston four years ago has focused on developing a world-class teaching center at St. John the Divine. We have equipped a deep bench of lay teachers who effectively communicate the gospel with Biblical and theological rigor. We have also developed young adults to teach and lead a vibrant young adult group that now reaches nearly 100 young adults each week. Most exciting to me is the English as a Second Language program. Over 150 students now come to our church from over 44 countries speaking 33 different languages. This program engages 50 lay volunteers in hospitality to immigrants and visitors in the Houston area. In the last three years, we have seen many adult baptisms of new members from places like China, Russia, Japan, and Turkey.
In every context, my core has been to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
Dear People of the Diocese of Florida:
It is a tremendous honor to be selected to the slate to find your next Bishop Coadjutor.
The prospect of coming home and serving the great people of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida brings me tremendous joy and excitement. Born in Gainesville and raised in Jacksonville, I am a graduate of Episcopal School of Jacksonville and the University of Florida. My grandmother was a member of St. Paul’s, Federal Point.
To borrow a page from my old bishop, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, my aim in serving as Bishop would be to work together to “make disciples who make a difference.” My focus would be to rally around the Great Commission and Great Commandment work Jesus called the church to fulfill.
The first work of a bishop is to build personal relationships of sincere love with the clergy and laity of the diocese. But beyond that there is much exciting work to do together. Shifting population patterns, recovering through COVID, and changing expectations of people for the church will challenge us all - but what challenges us, changes us.
In the strong foundation laid down by generations of faithful Christian witnesses, the Diocese of Florida has a wonderful legacy in its cathedral, missions, college and prison chaplaincies, diverse parishes, Episcopal schools, and Camp Weed and Cerveny Conference Center. Vibrant population growth makes the region a seedbed for new missions, church plants, and schools. The local colleges and universities are training grounds for new clergy, missionaries, lay leaders. The small towns and major cities each provide unique contexts to proclaim the Good News in word and deed. Let us raise up generations of Christian disciples together for the sake of the Gospel!
At the heart of it all, though, is the cross and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The Lord would have us lose ourselves in him so that he might redeem and renew our faith. Living water and abundant life are always available when the people of God seek the way, the truth, and the life.
I look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for us all as we seek to discern the mind of Christ under the direction of the Holy Spirit.