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Bishop Suffragan Diane Jardine Bruce on May 13 was formally awarded a doctor of ministry degree from Seabury Western Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.

Her thesis investigated the development of alternative and emergent church liturgies and creative ministry expressions in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

“I started this D.Min. five years ago this summer and completed the three weeks each summer for three years coursework as well as a congregational study of St. Clement by-the-Sea,” her former parish in San Clemente, said Bruce, adding that she took time off for cancer treatment, her election and the death of her father.

Her research and work “has informed my episcopacy in that I understand the pressures surrounding starting a creative liturgy in a parochial context or at a venue outside of the parochial setting,” Bruce said in an email to The Episcopal News.

As part of her research, she encouraged St. Stephen’s Church in Whittier to begin an innovative “Sixth Day Service,” a liturgy which incorporates pets.

“Last summer, I ‘freed up’ clergy and laity from seven parishes to experience the creative ministry/emergent church movement at either Thad’s or the 10:15 a.m. service at All Saints Church in Beverly Hills,” Bruce added. While those clergy attended emergent church services, Bruce officiated at their churches, explaining to the congregations about alternative and emergent church liturgies.