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Bishop Orders Priests to Stop Work

Two parishes that have split with the Episcopal Church over gay issues are told to halt ministry.

August 19, 2004|Larry B. Stammer | Times Staff Writer

The Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles on Wednesday ordered priests and other clergy at two breakaway Southland parishes to cease all ministry after they declared that their parishes were leaving the national Episcopal Church.

In a strongly worded pastoral letter to be read Sunday at all Episcopal parishes in the six-county Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno also said that unless the clergy at the two parishes changed their minds, they would be permanently deposed from ordained ministry.

But Janet Kawamoto, media director for the diocese, said it was unlikely that Bruno would immediately force the issue by sending other priests to serve at Sunday services. "I think he doesn't want to be that confrontational," she said.

Father Praveen Bunyan, rector of St. James Church in Newport Beach, and the Rev. William Thompson of All Saints Church in Long Beach released a statement Wednesday stating that Bruno "no longer has ecclesiastical authority" over their parishes.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday August 20, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
Episcopal churches -- Articles in the California section Wednesday and Thursday about two Episcopal parishes breaking with the national Episcopal Church and placing themselves under the jurisdiction of a conservative Anglican bishop in Uganda misspelled Bishop Evans Kisekka's surname as Koseka.

In his letter, Bruno said the two parishes had made "unfair and false" statements in accusing the national Episcopal Church and the Los Angeles diocese of departing from what the parishes called "biblical orthodoxy."

The bishop said he had kept his vows to "guard the faith, unity and discipline" of the church. "Yet I will not let the Holy Scriptures be compromised by those who seek to make their literalist and simplistic interpretation the only legitimate one," he wrote.

The two parishes split this week with the national Episcopal Church, which had ordained an openly gay priest as a bishop. The two churches have asked a conservative Anglican prelate, Bishop Evans Koseka of the Diocese of Luweero in Uganda, to take jurisdiction over them.

Bruno said he had asked the presiding bishop of the national Episcopal Church and the archbishop of Canterbury to block Koseka from exercising authority over the two parishes.

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