Embattled parish issues statement following diocesan convention
December 15, 2015
Dear members of the L.A. Diocese, Clergy and Lay Delegates to Diocesan Convention, Bishops, and Friends:
Thank you everyone, near and far, for your outpouring of support for us leading up to, during, and after Diocesan Convention. It was truly an amazing experience with very positive results that we would like to share with you, along with some new information we have received.
We are enormously encouraged by developments from the Convention, most notably:
• The agreement by the Bishop to make available the audits of Corp Sole, both now and at every future convention.
• Nearly half of delegates voted in favor of the resolution to stop the sale of the building at St. James the Great.
• The support for greater transparency on the ownership of numerous church operations by Corp Sole, and the related risks that these properties could be sold without consulting existing congregations, as the Bishop has sole discretion on their future. A complete list of active church properties and title documents currently in Corp Sole is available at: http://www.
• There will now be a serious study by experienced and knowledgeable past Standing Committee presidents (both clergy and lay) regarding the circumstances and situation of so many churches, missions, and institutions being owned by Corp Sole.
With all of these positive outcomes, some unfortunate communication did occur during the convention.
- During Bishop Bruno’s speech, statements were made about the refusal by the church leadership to accept offers by the Bishop to go back into the building.Not only are these statements misleading, the details of the presentment process and the failed conciliation are confidential under the canons of our church. We remain respectful of the presentment process even in the face of these misleading statements.
- While Bishop Bruno claims the sale of St. James the Great’s Newport Beach property will go to support new ministries, we know from the Bishop’s attorneys that the sale was necessary to facilitate other commercial property transactions and that forthcoming publication of the audits of Corp Sole will show that it has sufficient resources without the sale of St. James the Great.
- Despite repeated claims to the contrary, there are virtually no penalties and little cost under the purchase agreement with the developer to cancel the sale.
Although the congregation of St. James the Great has been locked out of its building by the Bishop for almost six months, we remain hopeful and steadfast, and continue to pray for a prompt and permanent return to our beloved home.
Our congregation is enormously grateful for the widespread interest and support in the L.A. Diocese, The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the U.S., and the entire Anglican Communion in this matter, and for their expressed concerns and prayers for us.
We would also like to thank you all for supporting our purpose of transparency. You are welcome to visit our website at www.savesaintjamesthegreat.orgwhere you will find the most up-to-date information about us. We will also continue to respond to your email communications and outpouring of support on social media.
We close with a warm and sincere invitation. We will hold our Christmas Eve service outside, at 7 p.m. in Lido Park, across from the closed and unsold St. James the Great church. It will be our pleasure to host you and have you join our vibrant, growing, faithful Episcopal congregation in our community as we celebrate our Savior’s birth.
May God’s Peace be among you this Advent and Christmastide,
The Congregation of St. James the Great
Newport Beach, CA