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St James celebrates final Sunday, but sale not yet finalized

St James celebrates final Sunday, but sale not yet finalized

From the Daily Pilot:

The Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees asked more than 100 parishioners gathered at St. James the Great Episcopal Church on Sunday morning what the walls of their longtime church might say if they could speak.

Voorhees wrote to the parish last week, acknowledging the end of a legal battle to keep the building and its land from being sold by the diocese.

It is with great sadness that I write this last pastoral letter. As you may have heard, the temporary restraining order the association filed this week was denied in court yesterday. There, I learned we were part of another land purchase, where St. James the Great’s proceeds are intended to complete another transaction. We were apparently a pawn in the bishop’s game of thrones all along. …

This Sunday will be our last service and I hope you will all attend to show each other the love and support you have all so richly shown me these last 19 months. After the service, the Evaluation Team will be sharing their thoughts at the coffee hour.

Peace and love to all of you. My prayers are with you always.

A letter on the Save St James website offers a picture of last Sunday’s worship, expected to be the last offered in the building.


photos via

However, all had not been quite resolved by Sunday, according to the Daily Pilot.

Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles announced in May that the church building and two nearby parking lots were being sold for about $15 million to Legacy Partners Residential, which plans to build 22 high-end townhomes on the site. The sale, which was expected to be finalized Friday, did not close, according to St. James staff.

Robert Williams, spokesman for the diocese, said the sale is still underway. “The due-diligence process on the sale is proceeding,” he wrote in an email.

The delay centers around a restriction on the land placed on the deed by its former owner, which had stipulated that the site remain a church. The diocese contends that the restriction was removed by negotiation in 1985.

“Griffith’s assertions that the use restriction has not been released and remains enforceable has created a cloud on the bishop’s title to the property and has jeopardized and interfered with the bishop’s sale on the property,” lawyers for the bishop wrote in court filings.

The bishop is asking the court to confirm his right to sell the property and for the court to levy monetary damages against the Griffith Co., according to court papers.

According to the Save St James the Great website, diocesan officials have changed the locks and sent the staff home.

An earlier report on this story can be found here.

Posted by Rosalind Hughes


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Anne Bay

I think one of the reasons this church decided to leave the Episcopal Church was over their issues with LGBT clergy and bishops, etc. Isn’t it ironic that the church sale is being finalized the same week that the Supreme Court has upheld LGBT rights, including marriage, in the U. S.

David Allen

Same building, different congregation. This isn’t the congregation that tried to leave with the property.

Dan Jarvis

hi bro David fair enough, altho all these isues are local until you add them all up …my intention was to address the big picture, as we are in GC time, sorry that I did not make that clear
blessing Dan

Dan Jarvis

how sad my heart goes out to the people, including those who worshiped there prior.

TEC is pretty good at mirroring the reign of God in several areas, but their actions and attitudes cocerning property and assets and dissenting brothers and sisters, leaves alot to be desired We may be free from biblical and dontrinal fundamentalism, but as for ekleisia tec is as legalistic as they come

I think TEC would benefit from a long and honest discussion concern heirarchy and ekleisia…. a tree is known by its fruits TEC is becoming a church that will always be sueing somebody over property. that is the fruit of our tree

TEC is progressive and as it progresses more toward mirroring the Kingdom it will become less and less orthodox. which means some folks cant continue on in that future. Heirarchical attitudes toward property is not ethical in a system that pogresses….its not ethical in a stasis system either (like in the RC church) but at least that system is consistant. I find TEC and our heirarchy lite to be very inconsistant… we want control of property without liability and responsibility for that property…I fond it worse than the unethical nature of tenant/landlord it reminds me more of Noble/serf TEC is a wonderful example of a Jesus church, except in this one regard

oh, and I am no conservative in fact I am too progressive for TEC
blessing Dan

David Allen

This issue doesn’t have anything to do with TEC. This issue doesn’t have anything to do with dissenting folks. This is a local issue. This is a congregation in the Diocese of Los Angeles. This is an issue of the local bishop diocesan, Jon Bruno, disbanding the congregation and selling the property. The law suit is against a company, the original owner and donor of the property, that supposedly agreed to remove a covenant on the property in 1985 and then failed to keep it’s word.

Bro David

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