Los Angeles diocese elects Diane Jardine Bruce as first woman bishop suffragan

Convention poised to elect second bishop suffragan
December 3, 2009

The Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce became the first woman elected a bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles on Dec. 4, pending the required consents.

Bruce, 53, rector for nine years of St. Clements by-the-Sea Church in San Clemente, California, in the Los Angeles diocese, was elected on the third ballot.

She was elected in the first of two elections for bishops suffragan planned during "Faith and Our Future," the 114th annual diocesan convention held Dec. 4-5 at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, California. Balloting for the second election, which had originally been scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5, commenced shortly after Bruce was elected.

Bruce received 134 clergy votes and 237 votes from the laity. The ballot required 132 votes in the clergy order and 202 in the lay order. The results of all the ballots are available here. Bruce was elected from a field of six candidates, three of whom were from the Los Angeles diocese. Two candidates were openly gay.

"I am humbled and honored," said Bruce, a native of Pequannock, New Jersey.

"Diane is a skilled pastor and a proven leader," said Los Angeles diocesan Bishop Jon Bruno. "Her gifts and expertise are major assets in this diocese and the wider church and I am delighted with the opportunity for us to continue to serve together in new ways."

Bruce had served three years as associate rector of Church of the Messiah before being called to St. Clements in 2000.

She earned a master of divinity degree at the Episcopal Theological School in Claremont (ETSC), California, also known as Bloy House, in 1997 and a bachelor's degree in linguistics in 1979 from the University of California at Berkeley, California.

She is currently a doctoral student at the Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, with an emphasis on alternative liturgies and their effect on church growth.

For 18 years prior to ordination she was employed by Wells Fargo Bank in various capacities, including as a vice president for compensation management and analysis and assistant vice president in commercial banking credit services and operations.

A popular preacher and well-known priest in the Los Angeles diocese, Bruce has served as president of the diocesan standing committee and as a deputy to General Convention 2009 in Anaheim. She speaks Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese. During her tenure at St. Clement's she helped to develop a stronger Spanish-speaking congregation and co-founded a Tae Kwon Do program for at-risk youth in the neighborhood.

A former Roman Catholic, she joined the Episcopal Church in 1986. Bruno designated her an honorary Canon of the Cathedral of St. Paul in 2003.

She is married to Gregory Stephen Bruce. They have two adult children and reside in Irvine, California.

The convention continues its two-day agenda, during which it will elect another bishop suffragan from a slate of the remaining five candidates nominated.

Bruno had called for the elections at the diocese's 2008 convention when announcing the 2010 retirements of Bishop Suffragan Chester Talton and Bishop Assistant Sergio Carranza, after 19 and seven years service, respectively, to the diocese.

Talton was elected bishop suffragan by the diocese in 1990 and began ministry in 1991. Carranza, the retired bishop of the Diocese of Mexico, was appointed bishop assistant by Bruno and began ministry in Los Angeles in 2003.

With 70,000 members in 148 congregations, the Diocese of Los Angeles includes all of Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and part of Riverside County.

The Diocese of Los Angeles is one of 110 dioceses that form the Episcopal Church, located in 16 nations and territories and part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Under the canons of the Episcopal Church (III.11.4(a)) that apply after all episcopal elections, a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to Bruce's ordination within 120 days from the day after notice of her election is sent to them.

Bruce's ordination and consecration is scheduled for May 15, 2010.

The other candidates were:
• The Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool, 55, canon to the bishops in the Baltimore-based Diocese of Maryland;
• The Rev. Zelda Kennedy, 62, senior associate for pastoral care and spiritual growth, All Saints Church, Pasadena, California (Diocese of Los Angeles);
• The Rev. John L. Kirkley, 42, rector of St. John the Evangelist, in San Francisco in the Diocese of California;
• The Rev. Silvestre Romero, 40, rector of St. Philip's Church in San Jose, in the Diocese of El Camino Real; and
• The Rev. Martir Vasquez, 45, vicar, St. George's Church in Hawthorne, California in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

More information about all nominees is available here.

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