Diocese of Central Florida
Home to 88 parishes and missions, the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida serves one of the most populated regions of the South. Under the spiritual leadership of Bishop John W. Howe, the diocese serves a wide variety of parishes worshiping in traditional, contemporary and multilingual settings.
The diocese includes 15 counties, as follows: Brevard, Citrus, Hardee, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Marion, Polk, Seminole, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia.
In the early 1970s, that portion of the Diocese of Florida from Apalachicola west became a part of the newly created Central Gulf Coast Diocese, which also includes the southeast half of Alabama. Thus, it has come about that the fledgling Church of 7 congregations of 150 years ago is now comprised within five dioceses.
On December 10, 1988, John W. Howe was elected Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Central Florida and was consecrated April 15, 1989. Bishop Howe became Diocesan Bishop on January 1, 1990. On June 1, 1995, Hugo Pina-Lopez became Assistant Bishop of the Diocese and he became the Assisting Bishop on January 1, 2001. In 2009 Bishop Pina-Lopez retired and is the Bishop-in-Residence at the Canterbury Retreat & Conference Center. In 2003 John Lewis Said, retired Suffragan Bishop from Southeast Florida, moved into our Diocese and serves as an Assisting Bishop.
At the 31st Convention of the Diocese, held at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando (January 29, 2000), the delegates unanimously approved a new vision for the Diocese of Central Florida which calls for the revitalization of existing congregations and the establishment of fifteen new congregations in the first ten years of the new millenium. At the 34th Convention of the diocese, held at Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park (January 25, 2003), the diocese kicked off “From Strength to Strength” - a capital campaign to fund the new vision approved in 2000. To date this campaign has raised more than $800,000 toward the campaign goal and in addition over $5 million has been raised for various congregational campaigns.
At the 35th Annual Convention in 2004, the Diocese formally affiliated with the Network of the Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. This affiliation ended by vote of the 40th Annual Convention. Between 2004 and 2009, the Diocese welcomed four new missions, expanded Hispanic ministry in two missions and organizedHispanic worshipping communities in several parishes. In 2008, members of five congregations and their clergy leaders disaffiliated from The Episcopal Church and thereby from the Diocese of Central Florida; the remaining members of those congregations have called clergy in charge and continue in the process of mission and ministry and thediocese is renting its buildings to a sixth disaffiliating congregation. On April 15, 2008 Bishop Howe issued a Pastoral Letter which has become the basis of a new vision for the Diocese
The Diocese of Central Florida is comprised of five deaneries - Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest. At this writing, there are a total of 16 Missions and 72 Parishes.