Category : TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

(LA Times) L.A. Episcopal diocese is going ahead with sale of Newport’s St. James church site

[Bp John] Taylor, however, wrote that the panelists and their advising attorneys “evidently did not take fully into account the existence of a binding contract, nor all the ways the dispute begs for wider reconciliation.”

Parishioner Walter Stahr, who has been active in the congregation’s allegations of misconduct against Bruno and the effort to reclaim the building, said diocese leaders did not say when escrow would close on the property when they met Monday with him and St. James pastor Cindy Evans Voorhees. The sale price also has not been disclosed.

“They assured us that if St. James the Great wishes to continue as an Episcopal congregation, they will support us — just not in our building,” Stahr told his fellow parishioners in a statement Monday. “I know how devastating this will be for many of you, but the story is not over.”

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Posted in Law & Legal Issues, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

(AI) Despite win against Bruno, St James Newport Beach learns they will lose their church

We understand that the Hearing Panel’s ruling, which awaits the possibility of Bishop Bruno’s appeal, calls on us to return the congregation to the building. The four concurring Hearing Panel members and the attorneys who advised them evidently did not take fully into account the existence of a binding contract nor all the ways the dispute begs for wider reconciliation. (One panel member dissented and supported Bishop Bruno.)

Their advocacy bespeaks a commendable pastoral connection with the people of St. James. As recently as the filing of the church attorney’s brief after the hearings in Pasadena in March, those conducting the proceeding against Bishop Bruno made it clear that he could avoid being sanctioned if he would relent on his intention to sell the property. This is not to understate the significance of the panel’s findings against Bishop Bruno. But we trust that from the painful experience of the Diocese of Los Angeles, The Episcopal Church will learn lessons about how, in disciplinary settings, to differentiate between actions by a respondent which deserve sanction and a complainant’s wish to reverse an operational decision.

We share the panel’s profound concern for the people of St. James. Bishop Bruno asked them to start a new congregation, and under the leadership of the Rev. Canon Cindy Voorhees, they accepted the challenge. They praised, worshipped, and served, as they continue to do. We are not here to relitigate Bishop Bruno’s actions or the Hearing Panel’s verdict. In all likelihood, after 40 years of ordination, including many moments of courage and vision, he will lose the right to say Holy Eucharist and to baptize, confirm, and bless for three years. It is also outside the realm of Bishop Curry’s charge to assess how long it would have taken St. James to achieve sustainability. Suffice it to say that it was making good progress and that losing its church building was a disappointment and shock….

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Parishes

Phil Ashey takes an in depth dive into the recent TEC Bp Jon Bruno decision and what it tells us: Questions about the corruption of a diocese

The Hearing Panel stated unequivocally that prior review and approval of the sale of church property by the Standing Committee “is a crucial part of the fabric and polity of the Church.” (Report at 57). And yet the specific findings recited in the Hearing Panel’s Report show that the Standing Committee did little, if anything, to investigate the legal ownership of St. James, to review any legal documentation for the sale, and to refer to its own minutes in doing so. If they had, they presumably would have discovered that the only properties transferred to Corp Sole were back in 2009, and did not include St. James. They would have discovered that a purported May 2014 quitclaim deed by the Diocese to Corp Sole was without any review by the Standing Committee. If they had followed Bishop Glasspool’s advice and consulted with another diocesan chancellor, they might have intervened and halted the sale. Nevertheless, they did not

These detailed findings in the Hearing Panel’s Report are troubling in the extreme, to say the least. Viewed as a whole, the findings strongly suggest that corruption and greed were systemic. They were not limited to Bishop Bruno himself. Key staff and leaders at the highest levels appear from the Report to have been complicit. The Standing Committee appears to have failed to properly review, let alone check, these problematic actions. Both laity and clergy close to the bishop were apparently involved.

How could the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles end up with so many people in positions of leadership who had lost their moral compass?

If the statement of the Diocesan spokesman and its webpage are any signs, the absence of conviction, humility and repentance is not promising.

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

The Living Church article on the panel draft decision about Bishop Jon Bruno

In a scathing rebuke of the Bishop of Los Angeles, a disciplinary hearing panel of the Episcopal Church has voted to suspend the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno from ministry for three years….

According to Title IV 14.5 of the church’s canons, the presiding bishop is charged with reviewing this sentence and then pronouncing it or lessening it.

In a 4-1 decision, the panel wrote that “the scope and severity of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct … have unjustly and unnecessarily disturbed the ministry of a mission of the Church. St. James the Great is a casualty of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct.”

Neva Rae Fox, public affairs officer for the Episcopal Church, said late that evening, “This document is marked as a draft, and that is what it is. We will offer no comments as the Hearing Panel’s work continues.”

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

(OC Register) Episcopal panel recommends suspension for L.A. Bishop J. Jon Bruno, return of Newport Beach church to locked-out congregants

A panel of officials from the national Episcopal Church issued its recommendation on misconduct charges against J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, on Friday, July 21, nearly ending a two-year battle during which he tried to sell the St. James the Great church in Newport Beach and displaced its congregants.

Panel members voted 4-1 to suspend Bruno for three years, restore the congregation and halt efforts to sell the 40,000-square-foot building and surrounding property at 3209 Via Lido, which includes a rose garden where the ashes of 12 former parishioners are buried.

The decision comes after panel members presided over a three-day disciplinary hearing in March.

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

(OC Register) TEC Los Angeles Diocese denies family’s request to hold funeral at Newport Beach church in middle of dispute

The daughters of a long-time member of a displaced local congregation say they are disappointed by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles’ decision to reject their request to hold their mother’s funeral service at their former church home.

Nancy Knight, who has been a member of St. James the Great Episcopal since 1956, died of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease April 7, her daughter Ellen Knight Gordon said Monday. She was 86.

The family told their pastor, the Rev. Cindy Voorhees, that they wanted to honor Knight’s wishes by holding her service at the church, where she had served as a volunteer for about 60 years. Three weeks after they made that request, the family heard from the diocese through an email: “This is not going to work.”

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

TEC's Bishop Bruno blocks Newport Beach congregation from attending convention

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Parishes, Theology

A S Haley on the recent developments with the Canonical Charges vs TEC Bp of Los Angeles Jon Bruno

Comes now Bishop Bruno, he of the forkèd tongue, and for a response to the charges files a motion to dismiss the Title IV proceedings against him in their entirety. His reasons stated are twofold:

(1) The complainants violated the confidentiality provisions of Title IV by disclosing the substance of their charges, and of ECUSA’s responses to them; and

(2) [Now get this] The complainants violated Canon IV.19.2 by resorting to a proceeding in the secular civil courts before filing their charges against +Bruno under Title IV.

Note that while +Bruno is technically correct that the earlier stages of the Title IV proceedings against him were confidential, the violation of that confidentiality by the Complainant (i.e., the members of St. James the Great) does not furnish canonical grounds for a dismissal of the charges. Under the Canon he cites (IV.13.9[a]), it is only misconduct “that the Hearing Panel deems to be disruptive, dilatory or otherwise contrary to the integrity of the proceedings” on the part of the Respondent (i.e., Bishop Bruno) or the Church Attorney that can provide grounds for the imposition of sanctions — which, by the way, do not include the dismissal of all charges, as +Bruno requests.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

TEC Bishop Jon Bruno's hearing date set for June 20

A hearing date of 20 June 2016 has been set for the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, to answer charges of misconduct brought by St James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, California. On 6 July 2015 members of the Orange County congregation filed a complaint under Title IV alleging “140 canon violations” by their bishop including: “negligent, grossly negligent, reckless or intentional misrepresentation”, “conduct unbecoming” a bishop, and unlawful sale or conversion of consecrated property.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Parishes, Theology

(AI) No conciliation in the bishop Jon Bruno/St James the Great affair

The misconduct complaint filed against the Bishop of Los Angeles by members of St James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach has been handed back to the national church’s disciplinary panel for bishops after the parties were unable to reach an amicable resolution.

The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno appears to have adopted a scorched earth in dealing with complaints of bullying and dishonesty levelled against him by ignoring a request for the national church that he not prejudice the proceedings. Though all parties had been charged to “enter into this process in good faith,” the bishop’s attorneys have not relented in their legal campaign, and have sought to depose a Girl Scout leader whose troop had planted an herb garden at the parish, and the daughter of a woman whose ashes are interned at the church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(AI) Witness tampering and intimidation charges brought against TEC Bishop Bruno

The Bishop of Los Angeles has retaliated against clergy and lay members of St James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, Cal., for having brought misconduct charges against him under the Episcopal Church’s Title IV disciplinary canons, alleges the Save St James the Great coalition.

According to a supplement filed last week to the complaint, (printed below) attorneys for the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno have harrassed witnesses and members of the parish who had brought charges against him. Bishop Bruno is accused of trying to depose the husband of parish vicar the Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees and seeking legal sanctions for his alleged non-cooperation with his attorney’s demands, and have threatened to bring civil legal charges against those who signed the complaint, accusing them of “malicious prosecution.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Parishes, Theology

(Anglican Ink) Misconduct complaint filed against Bishop Jon Bruno

The Bishop of Los Angeles urged members of St James the Great Episcopal Church to trust him, because he was their bishop and his word was his bond. However, members of the Newport Beach, Cal., parish have now filed a complaint under the Episcopal Church’s disciplinary canons against the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno alleging fraud, lying, abuse of authority, corruption and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.

On 6 July 2015 members of the Orange County congregation, who have been locked out of their church since the beginning of July on the orders of the bishop, filed a complaint under Title IV alleging “140 canon violations” by their bishop.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology

A.S. Haley–Sweet Poetic Justice for TEC Bishop of LA

And now — enter God’s poetic justice. It seems that Bishop Bruno, who is as quick as any Episcopal Church diocesan to recognize a Dennis Canon interest in property when he comes across one, forgot about an earlier reversionary interest in the St. James parish property. It turns out that the original developer of the area, Griffith Company, donated in 1945 the land on which the beautiful St. James building was erected, to the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, upon “the condition, covenant and restriction” that

The property conveyed shall be used for church purposes exclusively and no building other than a church and appurtenances shall be erected, placed or maintained thereon. The foregoing restriction shall be binding upon the [Bishop], his successors and assigns. Upon the breach of the foregoing condition, the title to said property … shall become at once divested from the [Bishop], his successors and assigns, and shall revert and revest in the grantor [Griffith Company], its successors or assigns.

Thus if Bishop Bruno carries out his plans to sell the property to the current developer, the only thing that developer could do with the property is maintain the existing church building on it (or build a brand-new one). And thus there is no way a developer would pay $15 million for land that is so encumbered.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes

(OC Register) Newport Beach Episcopal church to be sold

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is nearing the end of negotiations to sell St. James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach to real estate developers.

Bishop J. Jon Bruno announced the sale to congregants Sunday, Diocese spokesman Robert Williams said. The sale of the church could bring in roughly $15 million — twice the appraised value of the site, Williams said.

Services at the church will likely continue into the fall, Williams said. No information on where congregants will be moved or whether the congregation may reopen at a different site was available on Monday, he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology

(World Mag.) Jamie Dean on many departing parishes departing TEC–Tidings of discomfort and joy

A scorched earth policy. That’s how Anglicans who have left The Episcopal Church (TEC) and its endorsement of unbiblical beliefs and actions often describe TEC’s response. From depressed Binghamton, N.Y., to affluent Newport Beach, Calif., TEC leaders have fought dozens of court battles to force congregations leaving the denomination to forfeit the buildings they, their parents, and their grandparents paid for.

[This policy]… is evident…at St. James Anglican Church, which for more than half a century owned property in Newport Beach: The 300-member congregation now meets in a fluorescent-lit room with exposed pipes and concrete walls. It’s a humble setting for an affluent congregation accustomed to soft lighting and stained glass, but a fitting one this month for celebrating the birth of a Savior in a barnyard stable””and that’s one of the providential results of the scorched earth policy.

St. James lost its building even though the church had a written agreement with its diocese that seemed to ensure the congregation’s ownership of the building””but when it was time to part, the diocese and TEC sued the congregation, and a judge cited an Episcopal Church canon declaring that all church property belongs to the diocese and the denomination.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology