Bp. Taylor: Contract Stands

The Rt. Rev. John H. Taylor, Bishop Coadjutor of Los Angeles, writes about the future of St. James the Great:

The Standing Committee and I wish it were possible to achieve a settlement in which all could receive everything they sought. Unfortunately, in the short term, this cannot be the case. And yet we continue to believe that healing and reconciliation are possible for our whole community.

First, for the people of St. James. Our greatest regret concerns the opportunities that were missed all along the line that would have enabled the congregation of St. James the Great to fulfill its gospel mission without being dependent on being within the walls of the facility on Via Lido. The responsibility for these missed opportunities is shared by both sides. Whatever happens with the contracted sale, we prayerfully and earnestly urge the congregation to discern about what might be possible instead of what is not. I look forward to being part of that discernment to the extent the community may wish. I quickly accepted Canon Voorhees’ invitation to visit the congregation when she extended it recently. I offered a number of dates. I look forward to the blessings of worshiping with the congregation and sharing fellowship at their convenience.

The sales contract itself offers one way forward. Although it contains a nondisclosure agreement, we have received permission to describe some of the details. Bishop Bruno entered into an agreement with Burnham-Ward Properties/Burnham USA, a major commercial property owner in Newport Beach. Burnham has longstanding ties to the community. It plans to preserve the worship space so it may continue to be used by churches and other community organizations, including St. James if it wishes. We were encouraged to learn of preliminary conversations some weeks ago between Burnham and a congregation representative about the possible use of the space by St. James.

When by the grace of God I succeed Bishop Bruno on his retirement, I pledge to do all I can pastorally, logistically, and financially to support the St. James congregation should it wish to remain together and reapply for mission status. Their purpose and drive these last two years demonstrated that they love their church building and also that they don’t need it to be the church, to remain in unity, and to praise God and serve God’s people.

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