Developer bows out of purchase of controversial Episcopal church property in Newport Beach – Orange County Register

A Newport Beach firm has pulled out of an agreement to purchase prime Via Lido real estate which was formerly home to the St. James the Great Episcopal Church congregation.

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles made the announcement on its website late Tuesday, Oct. 10, saying Burnham Ward Properties will no longer buy the Via Lido property and that it will be preserved as a “bishop’s chapel,” or worship space, under the authority of incoming bishop the Rev. John Taylor.

Taylor, who will take over from retiring bishop J. Jon Bruno Dec. 1, said Wednesday he intends to open the lines of communication between the diocese and St. James congregants who were evicted by Bruno in June 2015 after he sold the property to a local developer.

The exiled 100-plus congregation has remained locked out of the property even though that original sale fell through. They have been meeting for Sunday services in a community room at Newport Beach Civic Center.

Taylor said the first step for St. James would be to return to the diocese and officially become a “mission church.”

“We would like to help them pastorally, logistically and financially to make that happen,” he said.

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