[The Episcopal News] The Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles since 2010, has accepted the nomination of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri to become its bishop provisional, beginning Dec. 1, 2021, both dioceses announced today.
Bruce – who has strengthened Southland ministries of multicultural new community and guided congregations to greater stewardship and neighborhood outreach – has been selected to serve the Kansas City-based diocese’s 9,000 Episcopalians in 47 congregations following the upcoming Sept. 14 resignation of current Bishop Diocesan Martin Scott Field.
West Missouri’s diocesan convention is expected to ratify Bruce’s nomination Nov. 6. Meanwhile, she will combine sabbatical and vacation leave bracketing her participation in L.A.’s diocesan convention Nov. 13-14 and Oct. 28 clergy post-pandemic welcome-home gathering at St. Paul’s Commons in Echo Park, also continuing her churchwide roles as secretary of the House of Bishops and trustee of the Church Pension Group.
“On behalf of the whole diocese, I offer congratulations and blessings to Bishop Bruce as she prepares for the next season of her ministry, serving and loving the people of our sibling diocese in West Missouri,” said Los Angeles Bishop Diocesan John Harvey Taylor. “Called to the diaconate and priesthood in our diocese, the first woman elected bishop in Los Angeles, Diane is forever one of us. Her contributions to our common life have been legion, especially in New Community ministry and stewardship. There is no denying that we will miss her greatly, especially her upbeat, loving spirit. And yet we trust in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. And we’re proud that her gifts and experience will now enliven mission and ministry in West Missouri.”
“It has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve as the seventh bishop suffragan here in the Diocese of Los Angeles these 11-plus years,” said Bruce, who joined Taylor and diocesan Canon to the Ordinary Melissa McCarthy in a leadership triad following the 2017 retirement of the late Bishop J. Jon Bruno.
“Working first with Bishop Bruno, and now with Bishop Taylor and Canon McCarthy has allowed me – and us – to share our gifts and skills with all of you in the diocese. We have complimented each other well, and the result is an increase in all levels and kinds of mission and ministry being exercised throughout the diocese, which is such a great blessing to us all.
“You may wonder why I am leaving now,” added Bruce, 65. “The answer is simple: an opportunity presented itself to me to exercise my gifts and skills in a new place in the few years I have left before I fully retire. I am excited to begin a new role as bishop provisional, which is a bishop diocesan but without tenure. Through prayerful discernment, it became very clear that West Missouri is a place where I am being called by the Spirit – and so I have said ‘yes!’
“I know the future of the Diocese of Los Angeles is in the best of hands,” Bruce said. “Please hold me and the Diocese of West Missouri in your prayers, as I will be praying for all of you.”
“In the weeks ahead,” Taylor added, “working closely with Canon McCarthy and Treasurer Andy Tomat and the Joint Budget Committee, we’ll exchange ideas about how to build on Bishop Bruce’s legacy and make sure that we don’t lose momentum in those ministries where she has played such a vital leadership role.”
McCarthy joined in expressing her appreciation for Bruce and her ministries. “I am both so sad to see Bishop Bruce go and, at the same time, so excited for this new season in her ministry,” McCarthy said. “Bishop Bruce has been a kind and compassionate, loving and gentle pastor to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles for many years. She has an amazing way of zeroing in on where the need is and attending to that need in beautiful ways. This will serve her and the Diocese of West Missouri well as they begin their ministry together. We will miss Bishop Bruce’s wonderful sense of humor, her joy and enthusiasm, and the wisdom she brings to all she does. I’m just happy to know that she will be back someday!“
A statement from West Missouri’s Standing Committee, released by its president, the Rev. Jonathan E. Frazier, affirms the match of Bruce’s skills with diocesan priorities. “We believe that Bishop Bruce best represents the needs expressed at our diocesan convention last year when it was agreed that the Diocese of West Missouri needs a bishop provisional who will have the skill, stamina, and ability to help the leadership of the diocese, both lay and clergy, take a good and honest look at where we have come from and where we are as the Episcopal Church in West Missouri. We identified the importance of being open to calling a woman and/or a member of a minority. Strengths in the areas of facilitation of healing, trust-building, and growth; conversations about the viability of the diocese; and ‘systems work’ were noted to be important. Pastoral care, warmth, and accessibility were also named as desirable characteristics of the bishop provisional.”
Prior to her 2009 election as L.A.’s seventh bishop suffragan, Bruce was rector, starting in 2000, of the bilingual South Orange County parish of St. Clement’s by-the-Sea, San Clemente. Previously she was associate rector of the Church of the Messiah, Santa Ana.
Before ordination to the priesthood by L.A. Bishop Frederick H. Borsch in 1998, Bruce served Wells Fargo Bank as vice president specializing in compensation management and analysis, having joined Wells Fargo (then Crocker Bank) in 1980.
Bruce speaks Spanish, Mandarin and some Cantonese as well as English. She holds a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in divinity from the Claremont School of Theology. She earned doctoral degree in ministry from Seabury-Western Seminary in 2011 and received an honorary doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 2021.
A native of Pequannock, N.J., Bruce is married to G. Stephen (Steve) Bruce, a computer software engineer. They have two adult children — a son, Max, and a daughter, Jardine, both married – and one grandson.
Founded in 1889, the Diocese of West Missouri serves a diverse mix of communities ranging from the urban areas of Kansas City and Springfield to suburbs, small towns, and rural areas. West Missouri is one of four sponsoring dioceses of the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry founded in 2013 to support leadership formation and to strengthen bonds of community and mutual mission. Its programs also serve members of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.