Reference Panel orders conciliation in Bruno affair

Charges of misconduct leveled against the Bishop of Los Angeles should be resolved through a negotiated settlement between the parties, the national church’s disciplinary panel for bishops has recommended.

Charges of misconduct leveled against the Bishop of Los Angeles should be resolved through a negotiated settlement between the parties, the national church’s disciplinary panel for bishops has recommended.

In a letter dated 10 August 2015, the Bishop for Pastoral Development in the Presiding Bishop’s Office, the Rt. Rev. Clayton Matthews, informed the members of the Save the St James the Great coalition that the church’s “Reference Panel” had reviewed the allegations made against the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, including:

conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy; and

failing to abide by promises and vows made when ordained

and recommended the dispute be resolved with “conciliation pursuant IV.10” of the church’s disciplinary canons.

Section 10 of Title IV states:

Sec. 1. Conciliation shall seek a resolution which promotes healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation among the Complainant, Respondent, affected Community, other persons and the Church.

Sec. 2. Where a matter is referred for conciliation, the Bishop Diocesan shall appoint a Conciliator to assist the Complainant, Respondent, other affected persons and the Church in reconciling. The Bishop Diocesan or a representative appointed by the Bishop Diocesan may participate in the conciliation.

Sec. 3. If the conciliation is successful in reaching agreement among the parties on a suitable resolution of all issues, an Accord will be prepared as provided in Canon IV.14. If conciliation cannot be achieved within a reasonable time, the Conciliator will report such to the Bishop Diocesan, and the matter will be referred back to the Reference Panel.

Sec. 4. A Conciliator shall be a person skilled in dispute resolution techniques and without conflict of interest in the matter. All communications between the Complainant and the Conciliator, the Respondent and the Conciliator and other participants in the conciliation and the Conciliator shall be confidential except as the Conciliator may have the permission of the respective person to disclose the information to the other participants in the conciliation in order to promote efforts towards conciliation.

 

If the parties are unable to reach an agreed settlement, the matter returns to the Reference Board, which may dismiss the charges, investigate them further or pass the matter onto the Presiding Bishop’s office.

 

The letter from Bishop Matthews to the Save the St James the Great coalition asks all parties, the complainants and Bishop Bruno, to refrain from actions that would jeopardize the conciliation process. “[I]t is our desire that all parties  will enter into this process in good faith,” the letter stated.

Conciliation in this case would likely see Bishop Bruno rescind the sale of the property and the parish withdraw the charges of moral turpitude leveled against the bishop, sources familiar with the proceedings tell Anglican Ink.

Reference Panel Decision Letter

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