California churches find haven with Ugandan bishops.
Three Episcopal parishes in California, St. James in Newport Beach, All Saints in Long Beach and St. David's in North Hollywood abruptly split with their Los Angeles bishop and declared themselves under the jurisdiction of Bishop Evans Kisekka of Luweero, Uganda.
The churches said they could no longer remain in the U.S. church after it approved an openly gay bishop last summer, and could not stay under the control of Los Angeles Bishop Jon Bruno after he presided at a gay union ceremony.
"It is after much deliberation that we came to this conclusion, but it is our only recourse if we are to stay true to the historic faith and teachings of the church," said the Rev. Praveen Bunyan, pastor of St. James.
Bruno has since told the clergy from the breakaway churches that they may not act as priests in his diocese, and threatened to remove them from the ministry "should they not change their minds."
He has also vowed to mount a legal challenge to maintain control of the churches' property. St. James' and All Saints' leaders said, "The diocese of Los Angeles has no claim against any of the property owned by these churches."
Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, the top leader of the 8 million-member Ugandan church, said the clergy now take orders from him and that Bruno "has no jurisdiction over them and we will not recognize his actions." The Anglican Church of Uganda formally cut ties with the U.S. church last November.
Under normal rules in the Episcopal church and the wider Anglican Communion, a bishop from outside a local diocese may not control a church, and clergy from outside the diocese need the local bishop's approval in order to serve.
St. James is the former church of the Rev. David Anderson, the president of the American Anglican Council, who has led conservatives in the U.S. church in protesting the pro-gay policies of the denomination.
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|Publication:||National Catholic Reporter|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Sep 3, 2004|
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