Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, who was sanctioned in August by a national panel for misconduct and ordered suspended for three years, will soon say goodbye to Southern California congregations during specially planned events in Laguna Hills, Riverside, Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles.
The farewell sessions will begin Saturday, Sept. 30 in Orange County and culminate Saturday, Nov. 4 with a gala Bishop’s Dinner fundraiser at St. John’s Cathedral in Los Angeles. Tickets for the dinner are $250 per person and church officials say proceeds will benefit 44 mission congregations.
Bruno will retire Dec. 1 when he hands over the reins to his successor, the Rev. John Taylor.
Bruno was in the center of controversy when he evicted members of the St. James the Great congregation in Newport Beach in June 2015 after determining that the church was no longer financially viable. Bruno then entered into an agreement with a developer to build luxury condominiums on the property, but that deal fell through.
The congregation has remained locked out for more than two years and has been meeting in a community room at Newport Beach city hall.
Attorneys for the St. James congregation filed misconduct charges against the bishop. A national church panel, after a three-day hearing in March, found Bruno guilty of conduct unbecoming a clergy member and ordered him suspended for three years. Bruno appealed the suspension Sept. 7.
However, on Aug. 1, the Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, stripped Bruno of all authority over the St. James property and conferred that authority on Taylor, the incoming bishop. Further, this month, the Disciplinary Board of Bishops has maintained sanctions on Bruno saying he should end his ministry Jan. 1 even as his appeal is being considered.
St. James issued a statement saying congregants or church leadership did not request this most recent action, but believe “it is necessary to the integrity of…