The long-locked St. James church in Newport Beach will reopen next weekend.
According to a statement Thursday from the bishop’s office of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the church will hold services at 10 a.m. April 8, with Bishop John Taylor presiding.
St. James was embroiled in emotional legal and ecclesiastical tumult for nearly three years as then-Bishop J. Jon Bruno tried to sell the property to developers in 2015 and 2017.
In a letter to the St. James congregation and its priest, the Rev. Canon Cindy Voorhees, Taylor and the Rev. Abel Lopez, president of the diocesan governing body, said the congregation now has the organizational rank of “mission station” on a trial basis. It will regain use of the church facility at 3209 Via Lido, though a portion of it also will function as a broader Redeemer Center for Diocesan Ministries.
The facility, previously known as St. James the Great Episcopal Church, is now called St. James Episcopal Church.
“In the weeks and months ahead, we invite you and your congregation to a time of prayerful discernment about whether — in view of prior events at the Via Lido property as well as those of 2013-17 — it may be in the interests of the congregation and diocesan community for the bishop to designate a different name,” the letter reads.
In October, the diocese announced that the second planned sale of the church property had been canceled and that the building, locked since the first sale attempt, would be reopened to worshippers.
Bruno faced a string of ecclesiastical disciplinary orders related to his attempts to sell the property. He stepped down late last year as he approached the church’s mandatory retirement age.
In November, local Episcopal leaders pledged a path toward reconciliation.