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Bishop Jon Bruno, bishop diocesan to the See of Los Angeles, faces Title IV hearing this coming week

Bishop Jon Bruno, bishop diocesan to the See of Los Angeles, faces Title IV hearing this coming week

The Newport Beach property

The final stage of the disciplinary process of the Episcopal Church against the Rt Revd Jon Bruno, bishop diocesan of the Diocese of Los Angeles, begins this Tuesday, 28 MAR. The hearing runs through Wednesday & Thursday. The hearing is regarding charges of misconduct, brought against Bishop Bruno by the members of the former mission church, St James the Great in Newport Beach. The folks from St James the Great filed charges against Bishop Bruno in a final attempt to prevent the sale of the building in which the mission congregation met. Bishop Bruno had dissolved the mission of St James the Great in preparation to sell the building, which he controls as one of the properties of the bishop’s Corporation Sole of Dio LA.

The hearing will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott – Old Pasadena at 180 N. Fair Oaks Ave. in Pasadena. The hearing is slated to begin at 9 am o’clock each of the three mornings. The hearing is open to the public. The hearing panel is to determine whether Bishop Bruno violated Church canons and/or engaged in conduct unbecoming a bishop, by dissolving the mission congregation and subsequently locking the former parishioners out of the building, preparatory to his attempt to sell the building.


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James Pratt

David raises a good point about “redeployment of assets”.

We are not a congregational church; recent litigation in both the US and Canada has for the most part affirmed that a parish is not in complete control of its property, but that it belongs to the diocese and wider church.

Problems arise when it might be desireable to close one parish, sell the property, and use the proceeds to establish a new parish in a rapidly growing suburb, or among an underserved inner-city ethnic group. Unfortunately, such decisions rarely, if ever, go over well. While the bishop/diocese may clearly see the need and advantages, the people of the affected parish see only a heavy hand and a lack of compassion or a willingness to work with them for a turnaround. Has any diocese actually come up with a process that works?

John Chilton

Background from October when the Hearing Panel decided the allegations merited a disciplinary hearing:

ENS story about this week’s disciplinary hearing explains these kinds of hearings:

James Newman

There have been issues with Corp Sole in the Diocese of LA for decades. The canon that was violated (among others) was Title II. Canon 6. Section 3.

The Bishop did not ask the permission of the Standing Committee before entering into a contract to sell the property to a developer to erect luxury condos.

The Rev. Canon James Newman

I am sure that the Corp Sole moneys would have eventually been used tor mission and ministry. No one is suggesting that the bishop did this for personal gain. The two issues in my mind are the break in pastoral leadership where the Bishop called a congregation together and then pulled the rug out from it. The second is the belief, I believe erroneous, that if a property is held in Corp Sole that it may be disposed of outside of the rules laid down in the Canons of the Church.

Eric Bonetti

Does the presiding bishop have the ability to issue a pastoral directive ordering the return of the property? It would be a shame if the parties to this dispute cannot resolve the matter through internal church processes and structures.

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