Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire: Ian Mitchell Was Replaced by Jon Bruno

It’s always interesting to follow the various artists that grace this blog.  One of them, Ian Mitchell of American Folk Mass fame, was featured a little while ago when I discovered that the L.A. Times reported on Halloween 1985 that he had been given the boot at St. Athanasius Episcopal Church.  That took place because he was too sympathetic to the homeless and homosexuals.

The Diocese rose to the occasion and, as reported here, made the following appointment to replace him:

The Rev. J. Jon Bruno, a former policeman and professional football player, is a large man. Now, the 6-foot, 5-inch, 300-pound Episcopal priest has a job to match his size–a job that may require the spirituality of a clergyman, the street smarts of a cop and the rough-and-tumble doggedness of a defensive tackle…

“You know the old saying about ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread?’ Well, I’m no angel. So of course I have some fear and trembling about entering this situation. But I do it prayerfully. I feel compelled to respond to the need.”

Bruno proved no angel, all right: he was a major protagonist in litigation against the parishes which attempted secession in the last decade.  And, as far as being a “compromise” candidate is concerned, he oversaw the consecration of Bishop Mary Glasspool as the first openly lesbian bishop in TEC.  Even in 1985, “But others say they are pleased by Bruno’s efforts to make both camps feel comfortable, and by his assurances that such community programs as El Centro (gang outreach) will remain and that gays will be welcome. There is, however, some suspicion of Bruno because he was appointed by Rusack, whom some view as an autocrat, and because Bruno pledges his loyalty to the bishop.”

“Autocrat” bishops and presiding bishops are well entrenched in TEC these days.  As noted by this nephew of my old Bethesda Rector, Hunsdon Cary, about Bruno and Glasspool themselves:

We believe it is up to the vestry to come up with a candidate that can only be denied by a bishop(s) if there is moral turpitude or a history of the candidate that does not accord with ‘conduct unbecoming’. We believe that it is the role of the bishop and the canon to participate in an advisory capacity only when asked.

We believe that the person selected to be the Head Usher, for example, or any position of leadership, should be a person selected by fellow church members in conformance with godly principal. We believe that this person should be transparent in all areas.

We believe that Bishop Mary Glasspool, albeit a convivial, bright, articulate individual, is a non-celibate lesbian who was elevated to her current position by a Bishop no stranger to bullying; who, with Bishop Glasspool, defied the Archbishop of Canterbury; who was not above suing individual vestry members of a Newport Beach church all the while purporting to love his fellow man, while confiscating churches and property taken by church dicta without reference to established property law, courtesy of David Booth Beers.

We do not believe this kind of behavior is part of the long tradition of the Episcopal Church or of the Catholic Church tradition, from which Bishop Bruno emerged. We believe that if Bishop Bruno and Bishop Glasspool wanted to start a church or join the Unitarian Church, they should do so and leave the heirs to the tradition of the Christian Church to fulfill God’s purpose for His heirs in Christ; or at least stay out of the affairs of the individual churches.

And if liberals are mystified by conservatives’ wariness about “compromise” they should see where this has gone.  It’s just too bad the conservatives didn’t wake up sooner and over the core issues of the faith rather than wait until this one came to the surface.

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