- The Washington Times - Friday, August 27, 2004


LOS ANGELES — In the latest episode in the Episcopal Church’s debate over homosexuality, an international dispute between bishops has broken out over two breakaway parishes in California.

In a strongly worded letter read to all congregations in the Los Angeles Diocese, Bishop J. Jon Bruno ordered priests at the conservative breakaway parishes to cease all ministry and said they could be permanently deposed from ordained ministry.

The priests serve at St. James Church in Newport Beach and All Saints Church in Long Beach, which quit the Episcopal Church and joined Uganda’s Anglican Church, largely over the homosexuality issue.

This week Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, head of Uganda’s 8 million-member church, said he was defending U.S. Episcopalians who uphold “biblical orthodoxy.” Archbishop Orombi said his church would “condemn” and refuse to recognize any action Bishop Bruno takes against the California clergy because “he has no jurisdiction over them.”

Bishop Bruno said he has a duty “to protect and preserve the properties of these congregations as part of the diocese,” implying future legal action.

Leaders of the two congregations, which together have 1,647 communicant members, said decades of drift from conservatism culminated in the denomination’s acceptance of homosexual clergy, including consecration of a bishop living with his male partner. In May, Bishop Bruno led a widely publicized church blessing ceremony for a same-sex couple.

Bishop Bruno’s letter said it was “unfair and false” to accuse the denomination and diocese of forsaking orthodoxy.

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