John Jay and Bishop Bruno

I have re-read, in the past few days, my first book, a biography of John Jay, first published in 2005.   A new paperback edition will be published soon, so that the book will be “in print” when I am out promoting the Stanton book.  I noticed some small errors, but overall I was pleased with the book; it reads pretty well.  And I was impressed again with Jay; what an upright, serious, diligent, modest man.

I have also spent much of my time working on issues relating to Bishop Bruno.  It has been a busy few weeks.  On June 17, the Hearing Panel issued an order prohibiting Bishop Bruno from selling the St. James property until the panel finishes its work and issues its decision.  Bishop Bruno appealed that order to the Disciplinary Board.  Early this week, the Church Attorney filed his opposition to the bishop’s appeal, arguing that the hearing panel’s order was a perfectly proper attempt to preserve the “status quo ante” during the case.  Then the Church Attorney filed a short brief arguing that, in light of Bishop Bruno’s contempt for the disciplinary process, the right remedy was deposition, meaning the end of his ministry.  Then yesterday the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, issued an order restricting Bishop Bruno’s ministry, prohibiting him from selling the church.  Curry’s order was major news, the front page of this morning’s Orange County Register.

For me, these issues have blended together a bit.  The title of one of the chapters of the Jay book is “from resistance to revolution.”  Is the St. James congregation engaged in resistance, within the Episcopal Church?  Or is the right answer revolution, to declare ourselves independent of the Episcopal Church?  Jay was a reluctant revolutionary; he wanted to remain a citizen of the British Empire; but he finally concluded that the only way to protect his traditional British rights was as an independent American.

And, later in life, Jay was deeply involved in the formation of the Episcopal church.  It was a difficult problem; how to have an American church that was in some way tied to the British church but not subservient?  There is a letter from Jay to Adams, in this effort, that is “precisely on point”:  Jay tells Adams that he “did not consider bishops as very important to our salvation.”  Amen.