TITLE IV

Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry has issued a Further Partial Restriction of Ministry to Bishop Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

Signed today by the Presiding Bishop, the Further Partial Restriction is effective immediately and is intended to protect the integrity of the Church's disciplinary process until it is concluded and also allow the Diocese of Los Angeles under its new leadership to move forward even as the disciplinary process with Bishop Bruno continues, as explained by the Presiding Bishop.

The Further Partial Restriction is intended to chart a way forward that clarifies and respects the appropriate role and authority of the Bishop Coadjutor and Standing Committee as well as the Hearing Panel and the Title IV process.

“It is my hope that this action will help to facilitate positive steps toward resolution and reconciliation,” the Presiding Bishop said.

The Further Partial Restriction removes Bishop Bruno’s jurisdiction over all matters related to the St. James real and personal property, the congregation, and the vicar. 

Acknowledging that Bishop Bruno is not in a position to exercise pastoral oversight of St James, it transfers pastoral oversight and jurisdiction to the Bishop Coadjutor, with the Standing Committee functioning in its standard canonical capacity. 

Over all, “The purpose of this is to create space for the Bishop Coadjutor and the Standing Committee to, a) exercise their respective ministries of healing and reconciliation within the diocese, and, b) seek to resolve the conflict over and determine the disposition of all matters related to the property, congregation and Vicar, which is the proper domain of their respective authority and responsibility as leaders of the Diocese,”

The Further Partial Restriction expands the "Partial Restriction on the Ministry of a Bishop" imposed by the Presiding Bishop on June 29. (See here.)

The text of the Further Partial Restriction follows:

 

Further Partial Restriction on the Ministry of The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno,

Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles
 

On June 28, 2017, I issued a Partial Restriction on the Ministry of the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, arising out of actions by Bishop Bruno that in my view may threaten the good order and welfare of the Church. As explained in that order, I had learned that, earlier this year, Bishop Bruno entered into a contract for sale of property (the “St. James property”), that has an important role in a disciplinary matter now pending under the Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church, in which Bishop Bruno is the Respondent. According to Bishop Bruno’s submissions in that disciplinary matter, the contract for sale of the St. James property set the closing date as July 3, 2017.

Bishop Bruno’s actions and intentions regarding an earlier attempted sale of the St. James property are currently under review in the pending disciplinary matter. I continue to be 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, continues to have the potential to undermine the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process. I noted that the secrecy with which the recent sales contract was undertaken has added to the potential for undermining the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process.

The Title IV Hearing Panel with jurisdiction over this matter has now issued its proposed Order. My review of the order and the factual findings that undergird it, as well as my independent understanding of the deeply impaired relationships among the respective parties, have led me to have additional concerns about Bishop Bruno’s exercising any aspect of his episcopal authority over the St. James congregation, its “Vicar,” or St. James’ real and personal property, during the pendency of this matter in the Title IV process. In my opinion, any exercise of more general authority by Bishop Bruno over the St. James congregation while the Title IV matter is pending, including through a likely prolonged appeal process when any suspension or other disciplinary order would not be in effect, may threaten the good order and welfare of the Church.

Therefore, as set out more specifically below, I have determined to restrict Bishop Bruno’s entire authority over the St. James congregation until the Title IV proceeding is finally resolved, thereby removing him from all diocesan processes and decisions involving St. James.  The purpose of this is to create space for the Bishop Coadjutor and the Standing Committee to, a) exercise their respective ministries of healing and reconciliation within the diocese, and, b) seek to resolve the conflict over and determine the disposition of all matters related to the property, congregation and Vicar, which is the proper domain of their respective authority and responsibility as leaders of the Diocese. With this restriction in place, I urge the diocesan leadership to press forward vigorously toward reconciliation for the sake of the ministry of the Gospel.

Accordingly, in order to further protect the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process and the ministry of the Diocese regarding all persons with a genuine interest in the pending disciplinary matter, and thereby continue to protect the good order and welfare of the Church, I hereby, pursuant to Canons IV.7(3), (4), and IV.17(2), place the following additional partial restriction on the exercise of Bishop Bruno’s ministry until the pending Title IV matter has been finally resolved:

During the period of the restriction, Bishop Bruno, acting individually, or as Bishop Diocesan, or as Corporate Sole, or in any other capacity, is forbidden from exercising any episcopal authority or jurisdiction, secular, temporal, pastoral, or ecclesiastical, regarding in any manner any of the St. James real or personal property, the congregation that formerly worshipped in that property, as well as those who have since joined as members, and the Rev. Cynthia E. Voorhees, commonly referred to as the “Vicar” of the congregation.

This restriction is effective immediately. This document shall be served upon Bishop Bruno today and shall inform him of his right to have any objections to this restriction heard pursuant to Canon IV.7.

 

(The Most Rev.) Michael Bruce Curry

XXVII Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

 

 

Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry has issued a Further Partial Restriction of Ministry to Bishop Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles. Signed today by the Presiding Bishop, the Further Partial Restriction is effective immediately and

Today, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate, the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, has placed a "Partial Restriction on the Ministry of a Bishop" on the Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

Signed by the Presiding Bishop, the Partial Restriction is effective immediately and is a temporary measure only, to protect the integrity of the Church's disciplinary process, until it is concluded. This partial and temporary restriction does not “express any opinion about the merits of the pending Title IV proceeding.”

The text of the Partial Restriction follows:

 

Partial Restriction on the Ministry of a Bishop

 

In recent days, I have learned of actions that, in my view, may threaten the good order and welfare of the Church.  I have learned that, earlier this year, the Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, entered into a contract for sale of property (the “St. James property”) that is central to a disciplinary matter now pending under Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church, in which Bishop Bruno is the Respondent. According to Bishop Bruno’s submissions in that disciplinary matter, the contract for sale of the St. James property sets the closing date as July 3, 2017. 

Bishop Bruno’s actions and intentions regarding an earlier attempted sale of the St. James property are currently under review in the pending disciplinary matter. 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. The secrecy with which the recent sales contract was undertaken adds to the potential for undermining the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process.

Accordingly, in order to protect the integrity of the Church’s disciplinary process and, thereby, the good order and welfare of the Church, and pursuant to Canons IV.7(3), (4), and IV.17(2), I hereby place the following partial restriction on the exercise of his ministry until the pending Title IV matter has been finally resolved: 

 

During the period of the restriction, the Bishop, acting individually, or as Bishop Diocesan, or as Corporate Sole, or in any other capacity, 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.

 

This restriction is effective immediately. Nothing in this restriction is intended to express any opinion about the merits of the pending Title IV proceeding.

This document shall be served upon Bishop Bruno today and shall inform him of his right to have any objections to this restriction heard pursuant to Canon IV.7. 

 

(The Most Rev.) Michael Bruce Curry

XXVII Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

 

Today, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate, the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, has placed a "Partial Restriction on the Ministry of a Bishop" on the Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles. Signed by the Presiding Bishop, the

The office of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has released information concerning Heather Cook of the Diocese of Maryland.  

Pursuant to Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop and Bishop Cook have reached an Accord.  Under the terms of the Accord, Bishop Cook will receive a Sentence of Deposition, pursuant to which she shall be “deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority of God’s word and sacraments conferred at ordination.” 

As such, Cook will no longer function as an ordained person in The Episcopal Church.

The Accord resolves all ecclesiastical disciplinary matters involving Cook. 

This Accord is separate from any resolution of employment matters involving Cook and the Diocese of Maryland as well as from criminal matters pending in the secular courts.

 

 

 

 

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The office of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has released information concerning Heather Cook of the Diocese of Maryland.   Pursuant to Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop and Bishop

 

Concerning the Diocese of South Carolina:

  • In the matter concerning the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, information is being reviewed by the Title IV Disciplinary Board.  Bishop Dorsey Henderson is President of the Title IV Disciplinary Board.
  • Information was presented from communicants within the Diocese of South Carolina. 
  • The information was not brought forward by the Presiding Bishop’s office, or by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church.  Therefore, the matter is not being handled by the Presiding Bishop’s office or anyone in the employ of the Episcopal Church Center. 
  • All information has been presented to the Disciplinary Board under the Episcopal Church Title IV disciplinary canons (laws of the church). 
  • In situations as this, the “church attorney” is an attorney who is retained by the Disciplinary Board to investigate cases brought to the Disciplinary Board. The “church attorney” is not the chancellor to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. 
  • As a matter of law and a matter of respect to those involved, the Disciplinary Board operates confidentially and will continue to do so. As such, it would not be appropriate to discuss the details of the case in public. 
  • Bishop Henderson has been in conversation with Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina. 
  • The Disciplinary Board is comprised of Episcopal Church bishops, clergy and laity.
  Concerning the Diocese of South Carolina: In the matter concerning the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, information is being reviewed by the Title IV Disciplinary Board.  Bishop Dorsey Henderson is President of the Title IV Disciplinary Board

“We exhort Charles, our brother in Christ, in the strongest possible terms, to tender his immediate and unconditional resignation as the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.”
September 21, 2010

The House of Bishop of The Episcopal Church, meeting in Phoenix, AZ, approved the following resolution:

Grace to you and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.  As the bishops of The Episcopal Church, bound by solemn vows to share in the governance of the whole church, guard its unity, and defend those who have no helper, we are committed to safeguarding the dignity of every person entrusted to our care. We are devoted especially to the care of the young, the weak, and those most vulnerable among us. Because of the depth of these commitments, long held among us, we are profoundly troubled by the outcome of the disciplinary action against the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, The Right Reverend Charles E. Bennison, Jr.

In a lengthy judicial process Bishop Bennison was found guilty on two counts of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy during a lengthy judicial process. Subsequently, the Court of Review reversed one count, upheld one count, but vacated the sentence because the statute of limitations had expired. We respect the decision of the Court of Review and we share their disappointment and find the ultimate resolution of this matter unsatisfactory and morally repugnant. The wholly inadequate response of our brother bishop to the sexual assault upon a minor is an inexcusable violation of his ordination vows. We note here two excerpts from the decisions of the ecclesiastical court:

The tragedy of this conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy is exacerbated by the fact that, during the trial of the case, Appellant testified that, upon reflection on his failure to act, he concludes that his actions were “just about right.” They were not just about right. They were totally wrong. Appellant’s testimony on this subject revealed impaired judgment with regard to the conduct that is the subject of the First Offence and that is clearly and unequivocally conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.  (Court of Review, page 25).

… we find that Appellant committed conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.  Because the statute of limitations has run on that offense, we have no choice under the canons of the Church but to reverse the judgment of the Trial Court finding that Appellant is guilty of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy . . . (Court of Review, page 38).

The bishops of this church stand in unequivocal solidarity with anyone who has been sexually abused or mistreated by a member of our clergy or by any member of our church. We apologize, out of the depths of God’s compassion for every human being, to the woman who has been victimized by Bishop Bennison’s lack of responsible action, and to all those who have in any way been hurt by our church. We are deeply sorry and we are committed to consistent discipline for those who bring shame upon the Body of Christ by sinful, demeaning, and selfish behavior that takes from another human being their God-given dignity.

As the House of Bishops, we have come to the conclusion that Bishop Bennison’s capacity to exercise the ministry of pastoral oversight is irretrievably damaged. Therefore, we exhort Charles, our brother in Christ, in the strongest possible terms, to tender his immediate and unconditional resignation as the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. For the sake of the wholeness and unity of the body of Christ, in the Diocese of Pennsylvania and in the church, we implore our brother to take this action without further delay.

This matter has weighed heavily upon the hearts of every member of the House of Bishops and it has been held in prayer not only among us, but by the good and faithful clergy and people of our church. We will continue to pray for Charles, his family, and every person who has been hurt by the church. We pledge to continue to seek God’s guidance and we resolve to lead our church with compassion, justice, and mercy.

“We exhort Charles, our brother in Christ, in the strongest possible terms, to tender his immediate and unconditional resignation as the Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.” September 21, 2010 The House of Bishop of The Episcopal Church, meeting