The Right Reverend J. Jon Bruno visited St. George’s Episcopal Church in La Cañada on Sunday and presided over the worship service.
This was the bishop’s annual visit to the church, where he called Rev. Amy Pringle, “one of the best” rectors.
On a typical Sunday, the children of St. George’s begin each service in the church with their families; they are given a blessing then sent off to Sunday School. But this Sunday with the bishop in attendance, the children got a little history lesson before their school.
“See this cross that I wear? It’s called a Celtic cross,” explained Bruno.
The children learned about the Episcopal Celtic cross, the mitre (hat) and the crosier he carried. The crosier is like a shepherd’s staff with a closed hook.
“See this staff? What does it remind you of?” Bruno asked the children. “It is like one shepherds use.”
He explained the hook would be used to capture sheep and pull them back to the flock.
“But I had this hook closed because no one should be dragged to Jesus, they should come willingly,” he said.
After the service, Bruno enjoyed a potluck brunch and spoke to the congregation about the legal battle with St. Luke’s of the Mountains in La Crescenta, who in 2006 joined three other California churches that had previously separated from the Episcopal Diocese.
St. Luke’s chose to go with the leadership of the Anglican Province of Uganda in the Diocese of Luweero. Since its departure, St. Luke’s and the Episcopal Diocese have been in a legal battle as to who has the rights to the church property.
In early January, the California Supreme Court upheld an earlier court decision that the property and buildings do not belong to the three breakaway churches. St. Luke’s congregation is still waiting for oral argument in their case but the decision concerning the three other churches will most likely affect the ruling on the La Crescenta church.
Many of the congregation that wished to remain Episcopalian moved to other churches including St. George’s. Bruno told them to be patient and explained the January ruling.
He said he has always been confident that the church property would return to the Diocese and when it does the congregation will welcome those who wish to remain with open arms.
Bruno also told the congregation of the good the Episcopal Church is doing within the community and around the world.
He said that through the Hands in Healing Diocese project, the Episcopal community outreach programs like a gang diversion in Los Angeles are helping the community.
“The Holy Family Adoption Agencies is now Episcopalian,” he said, “and it is thriving.”
He told the congregation that it is important to support each other as a community and to give even to those in need, even during difficult economic times.
“We live a little more simply, so others can simply live.”