We have reported several times over the past year on the continuing situation in the Diocese of Los Angeles where the community of St James the Great was locked out of the church building pending the sale of property by authority of the Bishop.
Bishop Jon Bruno is facing a church trial over the matter, and the Diocese is expected to consider a special report on how it uses “Corp Sole” to hold and manage church properties at its upcoming Convention.
Now, the community of St James is petitioning the panel which will hear Bishop Bruno’s case to issue an interim order unlocking the doors of the church and letting the congregation back in. A press release states
Attorney Walter Stahr, writing on behalf of the congregation, cites the church law – or canon – governing the disciplinary process, which states in part that a Hearing Panel can at any time issue an order that includes “any terms which promote healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation …”
“We cannot think of an Interim Order that would do more to promote justice and reconciliation and healing than a simple order by this Hearing Panel directing Bishop Bruno to let the St. James the Great congregation back into its church,” Stahr wrote.
The full motion to the Hearing Panel gives the history of the congregation and its current situation. Download the pdf: StJamesMotion.
The petitioners believe that
Bishop Bruno may disagree with some of the foregoing, but he cannot disagree with two central points. First, he has locked a faithful Episcopal congregation out of its Episcopal church. Second, he has no current agreement to sell the church in question nor any immediate prospect of such an agreement. These two facts alone, in our view, should lead the Hearing Panel to order Bishop Bruno to allow the congregation back into St. James the Great. An interim order to end the lockout is well within the Hearing Panel’s authority, under Title IV, and it would further the purposes of Title IV, including justice and reconciliation.
The press release notes that under the provisions of Title IV, once the motion is filed with the Hearing Panel, the bishop has 15 days to file a response, after which the panel is required to schedule a hearing on the motion.
Featured image from the website of St James the Great