Title IV Hearing
The National Episcopal Church has just concluded a three day hearing about Bishop Bruno's actions in attempting to sell a property in Newport Beach. Having sat through all of the testimony throughout the three days, praying without ceasing, listening, watching, praying more, I returned again and again to this writing that our bishop coadjutor, John Taylor wrote before the first day. I publish it here as I believe it speaks strongly to what kind of bishop John Taylor desires to be, one that is collaborative, a listener, a prayer, and a relationship builder. While the three day hearing is finished, there are still closing arguments to be written and deliberations to be held. Please continue to keep the diocese and Bishop Jon Bruno in your prayers.
The following is Bishop-elect John Taylor's post:
A bishop who understands that the church needs money to glorify God through its mission and ministry and who, when he retires, wants to leave his diocese in the strongest financial position possible. A congregation and priest who want to continue to worship and glorify God in a building they love. Each, in their way, is right. Their seemingly irreconcilable wishes are at the core of the disciplinary action mounted against the Rt. Rev. J Jon Bruno over his 2015 attempt to sell the property in Newport Beach once called St. James Episcopal Church, then St. James Anglican Church, then St. James the Great Episcopal Church.
After months of controversy and hearings, the proceedings have reached an advanced stage. The national Episcopal Church has appointed a five-member hearing panel – three bishops, one priest, and one layperson – who will convene a public hearing this Tuesday through Thursday, March 28-30, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 180 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. The public is welcome, though seating is undoubtedly limited.
Literally no one who will be there on Tuesday really wants to be. Everyone knows that we could have made holier use of the energy, passion, and money we have poured into this dispute. No one thinks it makes the church look good. No one (I pray) really wants anyone to be hurt, anyone’s vocation to be marred or ended.
But here we are, anyway. And God is here, too. As with all our times, especially the direst and darkest, this moment is bathed in the empowering majesty of the Holy Spirit. The risen Christ is whispering in our ear, as he always does. He says the darkness will never overcome the light. He says Judge not. Listen. Understand. Empathize. Forgive. Reconcile. Love. Love will find a way, as love always does, as only love can.
There are at least three things you can do to help. First, read the briefs submitted by-- I won’t say "both sides." The briefs written by good people who are working hard for people they love and outcomes they desire. You can find the briefs at this link: www.ladiocese.org/hearin
Second, for the rest of the week, pray this prayer provided by our sisters and brothers at Stillpoint: The Center for Christian Spirituality (http://stillpointca.org):
"O God, our times are in your hand. Look with favor, we pray, on the Diocese of Los Angeles. Give us all we need to remain steadfast in our faith in you and true to our calling to follow Jesus the Christ in all our undertakings. In this time of trial, may you show us the way toward greater and deeper service to you. We pray in the name of Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep. Amen."
And if you can, come to the Courtyard in Pasadena to see your church at work, promoting, to the best of its ability, clarity, justice, reconciliation (always available, always straining to burst into life), and love. All Saints Church in Pasadena (132 N. Euclid Ave., a 12-minute walk from the hotel) will offer its chapel for prayers and silent mediation from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. (All are welcome at the daily Holy Eucharist service in the chapel at 12:10 p.m.) It's also an alternative gathering space if the hearing venue is full.