The people of St. James the Great Church are on track to worship again in the building where the church began its life. They will worship again in the church space in Newport Beach when the Diocese of Los Angeles again recognizes St. James as a mission.
A statement released Nov. 9 by the diocese offers early details of the agreement. It is followed by a longer reflection by the Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor, Bishop Coadjutor of Los Angeles.
Making All Things New
St. James the Great Episcopal Church
and the Redeemer Center for Diocesan Ministries
—The church’s sudden closing hurt the people of St. James. Their leaders countenanced hurtful statements and tactics. This cycle of hurt strained relationships in the diocese. We will end the cycle by sharing our narratives openly and honestly, using reconciliation in relationship to rediscover our unity and purpose as a diocesan family in Christ.
—The diocese will continue to engage in discernment about mission and ministry in south Orange County. The diocese has no plans to sell the church. The diocese reserves the right to make whatever decisions about its resources that it may think best for the glory of God and in service of God’s people.
—While this reconciliation and discernment work goes on, the people of St. James should be able to worship in the church and experience renewal and inspiration from the celebration of Holy Eucharist and service to God’s people in community. St. James pledges to participate fully in the work of diocesan reconciliation and discernment and abide by their outcomes.
—The diocese will use a portion of the facility as the Redeemer Center for Diocesan Ministries. Tenancy will be at the bishop’s discretion. The bishop will oversee its work, and those leading its justice, outreach, service, or spirituality ministries will report to the bishop.
—Once St. James has been granted mission status, it will be invited to resume use of the church. Once Bishop Taylor, by the grace of God, is diocesan bishop, he intends to name Canon Voorhees as vicar. All understand that vicars and bishop’s wardens serve at the discretion of their bishops and that bishops, as rectors of mission churches, oversee all their operations, mission, and ministry. Once formed and seated, the St. James Bishop’s Committee and wardens will enter into a standard letter of agreement with the vicar, requiring the signature of the bishop.
Until this preparatory work is complete, the diocese may reopen the church for weekly celebrations of Holy Eucharist by supply clergy. Bishop Taylor and Canon Voorhees will be among those on the rota.
The diocese and St. James will diligently observe all canonical and diocesan requirements and procedures governing mission churches. St. James understands that the proposed 2018 Mission Share Fund budget for mission churches is fully obligated for the sake of communities where the need is great. The diocese will do all it can to assist St. James in restarting.
—St. James will stop using communications strategists and social media to advocate in connection with its relationship to the diocese. The diocese and St. James hereby repudiate all past and future anonymous correspondence sent on their behalves. If those responsible for Save St. James The Great wish it to persist as a non-profit organization, they will change its name and devote it to a religious or charitable purpose.
The Rev. Dr. Rachel Anne Nyback
The Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor
The Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees