Court of Appeal Upholds Bishop Bruno’s Sentence

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From Episcopal News Service:

An Episcopal Church court has concluded that retired Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno was properly suspended from ordained ministry for three years because of misconduct.

The Court of Review for Bishops said it made the three-year suspension retroactive to Aug. 2, 2017, the day a hearing panel originally recommended the sentence, rather than with the court’s Jan. 31 order.

… The court said in its order it found that “the majority of the factual determinations of the hearing panel are supported by substantial evidence when viewed as a whole in light of the record on appeal.” It added that the hearing panel “did not erroneously interpret or apply the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, nor did it commit a procedural error” or engage in a decision-making process that was contrary to the church’s Title IV canons on clergy discipline.

The full text of the court’s order is available here.

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JoS. S Laughon
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“Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.”

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Joseph Flanagan
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Joseph Flanagan

The facts in the case (from the link) are very disturbing. It appears that while litigating to keep St. James from a congregation that switched their affiliation to the Anglican Church of Uganda, he had Cannon Vorhees work (unpaid) to build a new Episcopal mission congregation at St James, while also shopping the property around to real estate agents without telling Vorhees. Was the bishop just using Vorhees as part of the litigation with the Anglican group as a ploy to show that TEC was still planning on using the property as a church? He allowed her to do a great deal of unpaid work to start and grow a new congregation only for her to find out that her church was for sale by a real estate agent who called (and not by the bishop). So, he fought to wrest control of the building from the Anglicans and just used Vorhees' unpaid labor when he planned to sell the building all along. Bishop Bruno appears to be cynical, deceitful and manipulative. Suspension is too mild a punishment.

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mike geibel
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mike geibel

The first attempted sale of St. James fell through before the hearing concluded. After the hearing, B+ Bruno secretly sold St. James to a 2nd developer. The new B+ Taylor announced that the 2nd sale was binding, but then the 2nd buyer withdrew due to negative publicity. Voorhees and parishioners offered to buy the church, but B+ Taylor refused, ultimately agreeing to re-open the church to seek mission status, but only if the critical websites were taken down and the members expressly recognized that the Diocese was the owner, not them. The dictatorial powers vested in Bishops are the cause of these shameful events The lesson: avoid contributing to a capital campaign for any church owned by the “corp. sole.” In these times of dwindling pledge $$$, parishioners are expendable.

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