(213) 482-2040

Leaders of the Diocese of Los Angeles and St. James the Great have determined a “way forward” for Episcopal Church ministry in Newport Beach, according to a statement released Nov. 9 by Bishop Coadjutor John Harvey Taylor; the Rev. Rachel Anne Nyback, president of the Standing Committee; and the Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees of St. James.

“The diocese will continue to engage in discernment about mission and ministry in south Orange County,” said the statement, titled Making All Things New. “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.”

The congregation of St. James will begin its new life by applying for mission status; once such status is approved, the congregation will be invited to resume use of the Newport Beach property. Bishop Taylor, after he becomes bishop diocesan at Diocesan Convention on Dec. 1, intends to name Voorhees as its vicar. A letter from Taylor about the agreement is here.)

“Until this preparatory work is complete, the diocese may reopen the church for weekly celebrations of Holy Eucharist by supply clergy,” the statement continues. “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 … The diocese will do all it can to assist St. James in restarting.”

Part of the Newport Beach property will be used for 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,” according to the statement.

The full text of the statement is below.

 

Making All Things New:
A Statement From Bishop Coadjutor John Taylor,
Standing Committee President Rachel Nyback, and Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees

The statement below describes the way forward for St. James the Great Church and the Redeemer Center for Diocesan Ministries. A further statement from Bishop Taylor is here. Information about timing and other matters will be announced as available.


Making All Things New: St. James the Great Episcopal Church
and the Redeemer Center for Diocesan Ministries

Key principles:

— 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.

Next steps:

— 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.

Signed:
The Rev. Dr. Rachel Anne Nyback [for the Standing Committee]
The Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor
The Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees