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A complaint of misconduct has been filed against the Rt Revd J Jon Bruno, Bishop Diocesan of Los Angeles

A complaint of misconduct has been filed against the Rt Revd J Jon Bruno, Bishop Diocesan of Los Angeles

St James the Great
The Newport Beach property

Episcopalians formerly associated with the Church of St James the Great, Newport Beach CA, a mission of the Diocese of Los Angeles which has been recently disbanded by the Rt Revd J Jon Bruno, bishop diocesan of Los Angeles, have filed charges against Bishop Bruno under Title IV. The charges were filed with the Rt Revd F. Clay Matthews, bishop for Pastoral Development in the office of the Presiding Bishop. The papers charge Bishop Bruno with 140 canonical violations.

You may read the full presentment of the charges here.

Bishop Bruno and the Standing Committee of Dio Los Angeles had responded earlier to accusations by the former members over the last few weeks. You may read both responses here.

Photo of Bishop Bruno from Dio Los Angeles website.

Photo of the Newport Beach property from here.

Posted by David Allen

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James Pratt

I do not wish to comment directly about St James, because I do not know the relevant facts.

But this is one (perhaps extreme) instance of a much larger issue, a disconnect between parishes/missions and the diocesan administration.

At the parish level, there is often a nearsightedness, that looks only at local needs (and which all too often, especially in dying or declining congregations, focuses on the building). The diocese can provide the “big picture”, how the congregation fits into the wider mission of the church.

Unfortunately, the diocese can also become too focused on finances, property values and other easily quantifiable metrics, while ignoring the realities of mission on the ground in a particular place.

What results is usually the two sides talking past each other, increasing hard feelings, and ultimately a decision that is imposed from above. I have seen this in the closing of two neighboring parishes in recent years. How can dioceses and congregations work together to come up with solutions that advance the kingdom, rather than create animosity and division?

Ann Fontaine

Sadly – I have seen this too often among leaders. May not be the case in L.A. but seems as though it might be.

Adam Wood

I don’t know enough to make a judgement about the wisdom (or lack thereof) of selling the property, or anything germane to the issue itself.

However, if I may say so: The bishop makes himself look like a dissembling politician when he begins his statement about the sale by trying to somehow place it in a momentous historic context, as if there’s some clear line to draw between marriage equality, Charleston, Michael Curry, and closing down a parish. It kinda read like the institutional Episcopalian version of an out-of-touch youth pastor peppering his statements with random teen slang.

Perhaps closing was the right decision. Perhaps not. I truly have no idea, and don’t wish to pretend I do.

What I do know is that bishops (along with the rest of us, for sure) need to find more honest and authentic ways to communicate with each other. We should take our conversational cues from Christ, and from our regular experience as friends and family, rather than from politicians and corporate CEOs.

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