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US Episcopal Presiding Bishop Curry stands in way of Newport Beach sale

14 July 2017

EPISCOPAL CAFÉ

Bright spot: the East Window at St James's, Newport Beach

Bright spot: the East Window at St James's, Newport Beach

THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Most Revd Michael Curry, has placed a restriction on the ministry of the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt Revd Jon Bruno, to prevent his selling a church.

The “partial restriction” was an­­nounced on Thursday of last week, in a statement in which Bishop Curry expressed concern for “the good order and welfare of the Church”.

It follows the imposition of a sanction on Bishop Bruno by the Episcopal Church ecclesiastical dis­ciplinary panel that is considering a complaint of misconduct brought against him by parishioners of St James’s, Newport (News, 23 June). The complaint concerns Bishop Bruno’s unsuccessful attempt to sell St James’s in 2015 (News, 7 April). The sanction came after Bishop Bruno declined to deny that he had again tried to sell the church.

Last month, the Episcopal Church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops rejected an appeal by Bishop Bruno, who objected to the sanction.

In his statement, Bishop Curry said that Bishop Bruno had sub­mitted evidence showing that he had indeed entered into a contract to sell the church, with a closing date of 3 July, 2017.

”I am deeply concerned that his act of entering into a new contract for sale of the same property, while his approach to the earlier sale is still under review, has the potential to undermine the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process,” Bishop Curry said. “The secrecy with which the recent sales contract was undertaken adds to the potential for undermining the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process.”

The restriction means that Bishop Bruno is “forbidden from closing on the sale of the St James property, or otherwise selling or conveying the property, or contracting to sell the property, or in any way assisting in the sale or conveyance of the prop­erty”.

It was effective immediately. Bishop Curry said that it was not intended to “express any opinion about the merits of” the disciplinary process under way.

Last Saturday, Bishop Bruno’s intended successor, the Rt Revd John Taylor, was consecrated in Los Angeles.

Bishop Bruno turns 72, the Church’s mandatory retirement age, next year.

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