Hearing Panel to recommend suspension of ministry for Bruno


A Draft decision from the Hearing Panel reviewing complaints of Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles handling of the sale of church property in Newport Beach suggests that Bishop Bruno will have his ministry suspended for three years, but stops short of deposition.

A) Bishop Bruno is suspended for three years.  During the period of his suspension Bishop Bruno will refrain from the exercise of the gifts of the ministry conferred by ordination (Canon IV.2, definition of “Sentence”) and not exercise any authority over the real or personal property or temporal affairs of the Church (Canon IV.19.7)

B) The Hearing panel declines to depose Bishop Bruno

C) The Hearing Panel is not aware of any evidence supporting a need for forensic accounting.  IF the Church Attorney possesses such evidence he should present it to the appropriate authorities.

D) After thorough and detailed consideration of the facts, positions, contentions, testimony and documents, the Hearing Panel has concluded that the scope and severity of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct, as described above, have unjustly and unnecessarily disturbed the ministry of the Church.  St James the Great is a casualty of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct acting as Diocesan and Corp Sole.  While it is beyond the authority and ability of the Hearing Panel to fully assess what might have happened if St James the Great had been allowed to continue its ministry in its church facility, there is ample evidence of its viability and promise to convince the Hearing Panel that St James the Great was robbed of a reasonable chance to succeed as a sustainable community of faith.

The panel essentially affirmed that Diocesan bishops do hold authority over property but also affirmed that the Standing Committee has a crucial role in all issues of property.

“While Canon IV.14.6 would allow the Hearing Panel to take action for the benefit of St James the Great, the Hearing Panel has concluded that Title IV disciplinary actions are not designed to address the complexities of the specific diocesan property issues that are before it.  The Hearing Panel believes that bishops do and should have authority over mission property and that Standing Committee review and approval is a crucial part of the fabric and polity of the church.  But more importantly, the Hearing Panel is convinced that the Diocese of Los Angeles, particularly its Standing Committee with the supportive leadership of its newly ordained Coadjutor, must consciously choose to take part in a process of self-examination and truth-telling around these unfortunate and tragic events.”

Though the panel, however, stopped short of directing the diocese to restore St James the Great congregation to the disputed property.  Believing that true reconciliation could not be achieved that way.  It did strongly recommend that it do so.

“The Hearing Panel strongly recommends to the Diocese of Los Angeles that as a matter of justice it immediately suspend its efforts to sell the St James property, that it restore the congregation and vicar to the church building and that it reassign St James the Great appropriate mission status” [bolded in original].

Though unsigned, the Draft has the names of four members of the panel; The Rt Rev Herman Hollerith, IV, The Rt Rev Nicholas Knisely, The Rev Erik Larsen, and Ms. Deborah Stokes.

Bishop Smith of North Dakota, the fifth member of the panel has offered a dissent.  In that dissent, while recognizing the shortcomings of using a Corp Sole, the Standing Committee’s neglect of its canonical duties, and Bishop Bruno’s mixed signals to the congregation; Smith holds to the belief that Bruno acted wholly within his rights as Bishop Diocesan and that adjudication of property disputes belongs solely within the authority of the diocese.

“It is my understanding that in the Episcopal Church, resolution of property disputes properly resides within local diocesan entities, notably the Bishop and Standing Committee, and should not be adjudicated through the disciplinary process.”

One of his most significant complaints is that both Bishop Bruno and Save St James the Great resorted to the secular courts in this dispute.  Suggesting even that the effort to reclaim the property from the breakaway group in the first place was inappropriate.  After quoting 1Corinthians 6:1, 7-8; he writes;

“Both parties have ignored this scriptural wisdom: the Bishop, when he resorted to the secular court against the
Anglicans who attempted to depart with the property; and the congregation of St. James the Great, under the guise of “Save St. James the Great,” when it filed a civil complaint against the Bishop to stop the sale of the property. Christian reconciliation becomes an elusive goal under these circumstances.”

It should be noted that Bishop Smith is a member of the Communion Partners, which has largely sought to put forth the minority opinion that the church is a confederation of otherwise independent dioceses rather than a single unity organized into separate diocesan jurisdictions.


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27 Responses to "Hearing Panel to recommend suspension of ministry for Bruno"
  1. "Title IV disciplinary actions are not designed to address the complexities of the specific diocesan property issues that are before it. The Hearing Panel believes that bishops do and should have authority over mission property and that Standing Committee review and approval is a crucial part of the fabric and polity of the church."

    A prudent conclusion.

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  2. This decision represents some semblance of, but not complete, justice. I expect that ++Michael will adopt its ruling and pronounce sentence accordingly. Justice will NOT be complete, however, until Saint James is restored to its building. In this situation, healing=justice.

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  3. Professor Seitz, while I understand your legal analysis, you appear to assume that the Standing Committee was both informed of the Bishop's actions to sell church property and that it both "reviewed and approved" Jon Bruno's plans. None of those assumptions were confirmed during the 3 day hearing nor any of the many attempts at mediation and reconciliation prior to that hearing. The Standing Committee is made up of people hand-selected by Mr. Bruno, who were intimidated by him and kept in the dark. Moreover, the only reason St. James the Great is considered as a "mission church" is because after the Anglican's lost their battle to keep the church, and it was returned to the Episcopal church, Mr. Bruno re-opened it and recruited Rev. Voorhies to re-build the congregation. St. James Episcopal Church has been around since the 1940s. My parents jointed the church in 1956 when they first moved to Newport Beach. My siblings and I were all baptized their in the 1950s and 60s and our parents were both very active members. My grandparents moved from Boston to Newport Beach in the 60s and also became active members. My sister and I were married there. My grandparents' memorial services were held at St. James. St. James actively supported St. Michael's Episcopal Church in CDM when it was first opened as a mission church. At that time, my dad was on the vestry at St. James, and very involved in the formation of St. Michael's. I remember going to a church picnic there when I was a child. So to call St. James, with it's long history in Newport Beach, while accurate, is very misleading. I'm just grateful that it finally appears that our congregation will finally be able to move back into our church -- which has sat vacant for 2 years -- and my mom's remains can be interred in the columbarium which she helped design.

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  4. "The Hearing Panel is not aware of any evidence supporting a need for forensic accounting." There is no evidence because Mr. Bruno has never turned over any books and records. Mr. Bruno promised to open up the books to auditors at the December 2015 convention, but then immediately changed his mind. Hopefully, the new bishop will request an audit.

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  5. "you appear to assume that the Standing Committee was both informed of the Bishop's actions" etc, etc.

    I assume nothing of the kind. My point is in agreement with the majority on the Hearing Panel and also Bishop Smith who dissented. Title IV does not have the remit many people are assuming, and now Panel members themselves acknowledge it. If TEC wants that kind of hierarchy they will need something stronger than Title IV and they will need to get Bishops to vote it into place.

    As for the situation on the ground in LA, it sounds like a real mess. You have my condolences.

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    • R.E. Seitz above, it's clear The Episcopal Church has no interest in that kind of hierarchy, a Roman magisterium.

      What it does have is a hierarchy where, among other things, churches cannot leave dioceses, dioceses cannot leave The Episcopal Church and missions do not have the same standing as parishes.

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  6. Jon R. Evans says:
    I have known Bishop Bruno since he was a Seminarian at VTS in 1974 when I visited campus to show vestments.
    Our business relationship developed into a personal one but never crossed any lines. The Bishop Bruno that I dealt with drove a hard bargain and always showed good stewardship of his money or the institution that he was negociating for. The Jon Bruno that I was and am proud to call a friend has always been loyal and true.
    I lived in California for many years operating J.R. Evans & Company until I sold the company 11 years ago and moved to Australia.
    The issue that seems to be left in the dust is the fight that he put up for the good of the Episcopal Church in winning the case to stop "Breakaway" congregations from leaving with church property. Other Diocese have been able to sight this president that could not have afforded the legal actions.
    The real issue is perhaps the power base of "Corporate Sole Dioceses" to much power in the hands of the Bishop. But With this structure in place it is hard to question the actions of the presider.
    What should come out of a case like this is a review of the corporate sole structure and better ways to set up a Diocese and not to punish someone who is devoted to the Church and Diocese.

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  7. Dear Mr John Chilton,

    What you wish to be true is of course clear enough: a non-hierarchy of some kind in which dioceses are not historically what has obtained in TEC. But this is precisely what has been exposed as a faulty logic, and by the Title IV committee itself in this case. I believe Bishop Smith says it very well, but then, even on the main points, the Hearing Panel is in agreement with him. This isn't a matter of Dioceses being able to leave or not--which is of course moot in LA--it is about trying to create a new polity and not being exactly sure how to do that if it comes to a diocese wishing to assert its diocesan canons and integrity as a diocese. The Hearing Panel admits there is a distinct limit to their role vis-a-vis Dioceses. For someone like yourself this remains a neuralgic point when it comes to the conservative dioceses, but in this case, the diocese in question is LA. It will be interesting to see what the next chapters are.

    "...churches cannot leave dioceses, dioceses cannot leave The Episcopal Church" -- as for this point, no one has said the C/C make the first possible in any obvious way, but as for the second, TX, SC and Illinois most resoundingly have said No to your opinion.

    But again, this is not at issue in the Diocese of LA and of course everyone knows that. And the conservative dioceses no longer represent any threat to the comité.

    This brief response may end up somewhere unintended, but it is addressed to a point you singularly appear to be making about the diocesan character of TEC in places as different as LA and TX/ILL/SC et al.

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    • What the polity that The Episcopal Church has adopted for itself, and what the courts on occasion foist upon it are two different things. For the most part TEC has won.

      Losing in court does not prove your point. And even if it did there is, for example, Virginia where the diocese appeared to have lost until it didn't. Likewise, you can't count, for example, South Carolina -- the case heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court has yet to be decided, presumably because the court regrets where it ended up in the case of Pawley's Island and hasn't figured out a way yet to save face.

      I'm very much aware that you and your friends claim the polity of the church is different from what it is.

      Perhaps we can agree that one day the Supreme Court of the United States will revisit its decision in Jones v. Wolf and tell us what our polity is. I doubt though they'd want to tell a church it determine what it's polity is. Our polity is intrinsic to our faith which is decidedly not congregational. I'd like to see you apply your view of polity in any other province in the Anglican Communion; the dissonance with Anglicanism is apparent.

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  8. So where was the continuing St James parish during the time that the break-away, so-called Anglicans held the property? You speak of this continuing history, and yet I'm not aware of it. I think from what we've seen, that the majority of folks deserted TEC and left with the break-away group. So the parish died, ceased to exist. Making the mission congregation started by Bishop Bruno a new plant in the recovered building, not a continuation of anything.

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  9. Mr John Chilton, the problem is that the polity TEC has adopted cannot accomplish what many want it to be able to do.

    As for Virginia, obviously this was not a diocesan case but a parish case. To lump these together only obscures the point about diocesan polity arguments, which have held the day in the most recent rulings quite handily. After Illinois one isn't surprised that the Booth Beers active presence has all but vanished. TEC was trounced.

    The supreme court warned at the time of Wolf that TEC would need its own constitutional alterations clariying the "supremo" or else the courts could not defer to it. That judgment is still in force.

    The challenge TEC has is that clarifying this would not be an easy next step; Bishops would not defer to the idea. Diocesan canons remain. If LA has clarified anything it is the limits of a move to cloud diocesan structures. What will be the knock-on effect? And this is not a conservative diocese but a fully liberal one.

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  10. I wonder how and why Bishop Smith is on the panel. He seems to have a complete disregard for the very canons and procedures he is charged with upholding and adjudicating. Like a juror who somehow passes voir dire though he cannot in conscience under any circumstance find thendefendent guilty. He also seems to have a deficient understanding of Episcopal church polity and a twisted view of what might prove a man not guilty. His comments and arguments are so unsophisticated and flawed as to make one wonder, well, many things! Let me see if I have it. 'The Bishop and Parish resorted to civil courts over certain issues before the ecclesiastical complaint was made therefore the Bishop is not to be held accountable in ecclesiastical court for his actions." It makes one wonder if Bishop Smith is questioning our intelligence in expecting us to go along with him or if we should question his in making such a specious argument and expecting it to sway a sentient being. It reminds me of logic class at university where they asked us to prove that the pope poops in the woods. Premise: the pope is a bear. Fact: bears poop in the woods. Therefore the pope poops in the woods. If you are allowed to start with a false premise, you can prove anything.

    While while we are at it, what would it take to bring deposition of a bishop? Being proven to be a liar a cheat, fraud, and thief as well as being an unrepentant liar, cheat, fraud, and thief is not enough?

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  11. "While while we are at it, what would it take to bring deposition of a bishop." You are not only adept at insulting Bishop Smith but equally at knowing better than the entire committee.

    The problem is that the canons and procedures you refer to have their counterparts in the Diocese of LA, and the hearing panel rightly knows that.

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    • Well of course, Father (Seitz), you have appropriately brought my rhetoric to earth. I meant no insult nor to set myself more highly than I ought. Let me try to be plainer.

      1) I feel that Pannelman Smith, in his dissent, exhibited a willful disregard for canon and procedure and favored scriptural prooftexting over scripture -- not to mention tradition, and reason. He seems to be saying that since Respondent Bruno and the Complainants both used the civil courts to seek remedies to actions on the part of, in the case of Bruno, other individuals completely and, in the case of the complainants, Bruno himself in a matter of which Standing committee was ignorant (see 91 pages of decision above) and the only body to which, in our polity, they could appeal -- in matters that were separate from and/or tangential to (at best) the complaints against the Respondent -- then, Smith reasons, because neither party followed the Pauline doctrine as expressed to the Church in Corinth, Bishop Bruno, in another matter entirely, get's a pass in the Church in America. The matters to which Smith alludes were (in one case) irrelevant to the complaints (actions by so-called 'Anglican' separatists) and in the other simply the context of the complaint, not the complaint itself. The complaint was not that he changed the locks and sold their farm, per se, but that he did so in an illegal, dishonest, secretive, and fraudulent manner and to have do so in such a manner is conduct unbecoming.

      DIGRESSION(In both cases one sought remedies of civil courts for a civil action. Each had, counter to the canons of the church, alienated the rightful person(s) responsible for the property from it. In the Bishop's case, there was no churchman to which appeal was possible and in the case of the complainants, the only person who could adjudicate was the actor in the matter himself -- yes the Bishop had charge of the property but he disposed of it secretly, without the appropriate consultation and in a manner counter to the canons of the church and his ordination vows.)

      I would argue that Bishop Smith must have some sort of agenda -- either that of a bishop supporting unfettered monarchical episcopal power, or a member of "Anglican Partners" seeking to strike a blow against the leftists rump of St. James the Great Parish. I don't know as I do not know Bishop Smith from Adam, but I'm left scratching my head for a logical hermeutic that makes logical sense out of his, apparently weak, clumsily presented, argument.

      2)As to the panel's awareness of local laws that might be at odds with national ones -- please enlighten me. I am aware of national canons that dictate than any diocesan canon or local bylaw that is in conflict with the national C & C are void as a result of that very fact, so would love you to enlighten me as to what specific local LA canons come to bear on leniency on a bishop that many have experienced as a thug and a bully and who has been proved a liar, cheat, fraud, and, arguably, a thief being suited to remain empowered to exercise the ministry to which he has been ordained. I asked in my original post, essentially, 'if not that then what?' If not being proved a liar, cheat, fraud, and thief, for what actions might we depose a bishop from the ministry? Perhaps only for failing to tow the line with prevailing liberal sentiments in the ECUSA? Certainly scores of priests have been deposed or forced out by bishops because of such stances. Perhaps it is that of which Bishop Smith is afraid? So far, no bishops have been pushed out because they don't ordain or marry the people they are supposed to. If so, perhaps he should be! The ECUSA is good at allowing a wide berth for conservatives when new policy is set but then over the decades to close the noose on those who continue to dissent. But then I begin to digress again.

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  12. If I may educate you out of your uninformed ignorance. the congregation of St. James the Great worshipped in a park across the street from their church for about a year, and now worships in the community room of Newport Beach City Hall. The congregation is still together, has a pastor, and has a bank account.. Do your research before putting your paws on the keyboard.

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    • Mr Lynch, I can't see to whom you are directing such a useless comment intending it to be an education for someone. No one in this thread, so far, has commented about what the disbanded mission congregation has been doing since +Bruno had the building locked.

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  13. I seriously doubt that anyone in the LA diocese considered St. James' Newport Beach to have "...died, ceased to exist." , else their arguments in civil litigation also would have died, ceased to exist during the troubled times when the schismatics claimed possession of the property.

    Speaking from my own experience in our mission church in Southern New Mexico in which the previous congregants left en masse leaving only one person and her two teenage sons and having a Bishop and Diocesan Council 100 percent supportive of our efforts to re-establish our congregation, my complete sympathies are with the current St. James' Newport Beach congregants.

    I am aware that Bishop Bruno has been supportive of gay people like me, but from what I can tell after watching the hearing online, is that he indeed has acted towards the St. James' folks in ways inconsistent with a calling to the ministry of bishop. He needs to go quietly into retirement, and let the recently ordained coadjutor assume the role of Ordinary so the reconciliation process can begin.

    My prayers are with the LA diocese as they work to disentangle this archaic Corporate Sole from the other properties it currently controls (many of which are mission congregations), and hope the diocese does the recommended soul searching / truth telling process as they recover.

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    • But there is no evidence being offered to the contrary. I haven't seen anyone offering tales of the remnant few meeting somewhere in Newport Beach as they rode out the court case for the return of the property. When the property was returned, +Bruno created a new mission congregation with a new name; the old parish was St James, the new mission was St James the Great. The vicar was tasked with building a new congregation.

      If there has been a continuation, please, someone step up and share the story of its journey.

      I also don't see any merit to your argument that there would need to be an Episcopal remnant congregation for Dio LA to pursue civil litigation to recover the property from the departed schismatics.

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  14. Brother David - I didn't say that there had to be any actual people remaining. I asserted that the congregation, admitted as a such by the LA Diocesan Convention of some previous year, continued to exist through the troubled times, unless the Bishop and/or his Standing Committee / Diocesan Council was silly enough to declare them defunct. I didn't mean to argue by analogy to my own experience in The Land of Enchantment that there had to be at least one living person as a member of that congregation.

    Reading through Canon 3 of the LA Diocese's Canons, I don't see any rule regarding the situation of this parish, which was reduced to mission status by the apostasy of the majority of their members and then was restored as a mission, unfortunately under the control of the Corporate Sole. I suppose this is why people with a higher pay grade than I sat on a Disciplinary Committee to wade through the weeds of the matter and make the determination they did that the Bishop behaved in ways unbecoming to his office of the episcopacy.

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    • Sorry, your point in paragraph 2 went over my head for some reason. I don't get what you are saying. I don't know what the diocese did regarding an institutional placeholder in the records for St James parish. If there was a placeholder, it was superseded by the new mission, which was then later closed by +Bruno when he announced the property was to be sold and encouraged the folks of St James the Great to please associate with one of the nearby parishes in the area.

      I'm surprised at the panel's decision. I can't see any of the three bishops on the panel wishing that an entity could come into their dioceses and second guess them on dealing with properties and congregations. But now they have established the precedent. I can almost feel the corporate shudder that reverberated through the HoB.

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  15. "I am aware of national canons that dictate than any diocesan canon or local bylaw that is in conflict with the national C & C are void as a result of that very fact" -- where is this, please; and how does it square with Title IV Panel's own statement that they cannot order the Diocesan in LA to forfeit his role as corporate sole in respect of property conveyance.

    In the Diocese of Dallas last convention a motion was brought forward saying something along your lines: the EDOD canons on marriage needing to be 'brought in line' with GC. It was defeated. The chancellor rightly pointed out that GC made no claim about diocesan canons on this topic, and so the motion was moot.

    It has also been argued successfully that diocesan canons are a proper framework in respect of property precisely to the degree that TEC C/C do not have any explicit statement in the matter; the 'dennis canon' the courts have ruled do not have the force being claimed by TEC. The Illinois ruling is a very good place to train your eye on the matter.

    Grace and peace.

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    • I'm enjoying the challenge of this conversation. Thank you. (On vacation actually--only time one can find for this sort of thing)

      1) as regards your question re the national canons requiring accession or subordination by diocesan canons, I seem to have been wrong in memory but right in the practice. That is to say that Article II of many Dio constitutions including LA (pointedly) states that they acceed to the national C&C:

      Ex: http://s3.amazonaws.com/dfc_attachments/public/documents/3231962/Constitution-Canons_through2016.pdf

      The Church in the Diocese accedes to the Constitution and Canons of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, known in law as the National Church otherwise known as the Episcopal Church (hereinafter called the “National Church), and recognizes the authority of the General Convention of the same.
      (AMENDED February 6, 1976)

      As to the Texan marriage canon question, I would suggest that it is consistent that a Diocese could have a marriage canon that was different than a national canon since the national canon leaves the discretion as to whom it to marry up to each priest and therefore it would not be inconsistent for local variation on this issue to exist.

      I would agree with you completely that Title IV has no business telling a diocese what to do about property issues and that that the hearing was to adjudicate in the complaint which was about the manner in which the
      Bishop acted. However, it is not unreasonable for them to urge appropriate restitution be made in the same way a confessor might assign penance that might include restitution. It does seem that Standing Committee were accessories after the fact in deceit and fraud and should receive a finger wag for claiming they knew if the
      Bishops actions which they clearly did not at the time the Bishop said they did and they affirmed.

      On a macro level I think our polity should expand for appeals above the Bishop for clerical discipline. If the Bishop Bruno affair demonstrates anything it is that investing absolute power and authority in one man is unwise as all men are flawed....and some men are more flawed than others.

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  16. "I can't see any of the three bishops on the panel wishing that an entity could come into their dioceses and second guess them on dealing with properties and congregations."

    +Smith gets it.

    It is also the case that TEC tried this via expensive litigation in several states and lost. Now +Bruno pushes back from a different end of the spectrum. There is nothing in the Constitution of TEC that grants the kind of authority some people want for the PB. +Curry may be more shrewdly advised and if so, he could provide such an anodyne 'last word' on this matter so as to quiet the matter down. Else the shudder you refer to could indeed reveberate.

    I would not that the Panel 'urged' Bruno re: property. They did not order him. In that one sense, +Smith and the +three may be closer than one thinks. It is unwise to order if you cannot bring compliance, and in CA +Bruno can only be defeated if the sale falls through -- a matter outside the Title IV ambit in any case.

    You are right to wonder what Bishops will be contemplating in respect of all this. It strikes at the very heart of the historical character of TEC. There was a rush to bring conservative dioceses into line, and it has sputtered in court. Now "what is sauce for the goose...". The conservative bishops and dioceses have been hedged about by other means and their ranks are dwindling. But in the wake is a struggle for TEC to understand what it means by dioceses with canons and bishops tout court.

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  17. By all means enjoy your holiday, Mr Montgomery. TEC will shuttle about and face the struggles each challenge presents. As previously. God has so many gifts to give!

    The real challenge will be settling on a common polity given the historical character of a mission field of dioceses agreeing to affiliate over time. This is an indigenous particularity that must be respected, as God was driving it, or so one hoped and prayed. So watch as dioceses and Diocesans evaluate their futures.
    in pari
    On top of this, when the dust settles we will find a church now with 1/2 its marriage and baptism rate as of 1980; one third drop in attendance and membership (only worsted by the PCUSA) since 1980; and an average age of late 50s per parish. This is not sustainable. So the present debates will soon be so much archival data.

    God's richest blessings.

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  18. Brother David,

    The draft order is accessible online at http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/files/2017/07/ens_072417_BrunoOrder.pdf

    of note, page 6 states "The Church Attorney has proven the following facts by clear and convincing

    The following enumerated facts are from pages 8-10 of the draft order that should give you the evidence you want that there was a continuing congregation during the separatists' usurpation of its property:

    6. In 2004, part of the St. James congregation disaffiliated from the
    Episcopal Church and affiliated itself with the Church of Uganda. Ex. 61 paras.

    7. On August 22, 2004, Bishop Bruno wrote to the “members of St.
    James’ Episcopal Church in Newport Beach” to let them know “how disheartened
    I am by the decision of your Rector, Wardens, and Vestry to leave the Episcopal
    Church.” Bishop Bruno stated that “the consecrated buildings of your Parish are
    not the sole possession of the congregation. They belong to the whole Episcopal
    Church and the Diocese of Los Angeles, where together we serve Christ in this
    place. Soon we hope to return these properties to those faithful Episcopalians in
    your community who will continue our common mission as a Diocese and a
    Church.” Ex. 60.

    8. On September 7, 2004, Bishop Bruno, on behalf of himself and the
    “faithful congregants and true leadership of St. James Episcopal Parish in Newport
    Beach,” filed suit against the Anglicans. Ex. 61 para 1. In the complaint, which
    Bishop Bruno swore to under penalty of perjury, he stated that “each day
    Defendants’ wrongful occupation of the Parish premises continues, Plaintiffs suffer
    irreparable harm. ..... In the same complaint, Bishop Bruno stated that
    the “faithful members of the Parish are in exile,” and that the Diocese is
    “subordinate to the Constitution, Canons, and General Convention of the Episcopal
    Church.” Ex. 61 paras 9-10, 14; Tr. 660-62.

    9. Among those who remained “faithful” to the Episcopal church were
    Dan and Betty Connolly and their daughter Kathi Liebermann. After the Anglican
    “takeover” of St. James, the Connolly family worshipped at St. Michael & All
    Angels Church. On the advice of Bishop Bruno, the Connolly family did not
    change its registration from St. James. The Connolly family and others remained
    members of the St. James Episcopal congregation. Tr. 444, 504 (“just leave your
    name there. You don’t have to become a member of St. Michael and All Angels”).

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    • It appears then that there wasn't a continuing congregation, meeting where it could find accommodation, but perhaps there may have been a St James Diaspora scattered among nearby parishes that still existed when the property was returned 10 years later.

      That is a bit different reality than the stretch lauded by Ms Gordon above.

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  19. An accounting and complete transparency must be made available to us to help with the restoration of the congregation to their church. This atrocious event has got to be corrected and the church should be in a renewed, healing spirit, given back to the congregation who are the church, even sans their property. I was ordained with Bishop Bruno and have loved him, but this catastrophe is a huge embarrassing saga. Where did love go in this fiasco real estate deal? Bishop Taylor, restore this congregation to their beloved place of service and worship and give special devotion to St. James the Great, recognizing how bravely they kept being the church inspite of our bishop's animus.
    To think of Bishop Bruno having Committee support for his manipulations also adds to the sad state of this blemish, this matter.

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