“We are the original congregation of St. James that has been in existence since 1941; the congregation that built the buildings on Via Lido,” explained Pastor Richard Crocker, Rector of Saint James Anglican Church. “Then as a corporation we decided to withdraw from the Episcopal Church because of theological concerns. We thought we owned the buildings and we sought to keep them. But the court decided we didn’t, so two years ago we moved off the property. We weren’t exactly wandering in the wilderness, but we wandered until we found our promised land, which is our new location.”
St. James Anglican held the first service in its new home at 2995 Airway Ave. in Costa Mesa in October. The church still serves the Newport community, but the new location off Redhill makes it easily accessible to a wider community.
Pastor Crocker explained the difference between St. James Anglican and St. James the Great.
“The distinction is that St. James the Great is a new congregation that was inaugurated at our former location by Bishop Bruno and attracted a congregation,” he explained. “They also have since been pushed out of the building. We are part of the Anglican Church of North America which is a relatively new but growing part of the Anglican world, and they are still part of the Episcopal Church in the the diocese of Los Angeles.”
St. James the Great is temporarily meeting at the Gray Matter Museum of Art in Costa Mesa.
“We had a crash course in being reminded that the church is the people and not the building,” he continued. “We’d been worshipping at different temporary locations, but our church family needed a home base for our activities and our service to the community. And like a family, we have learned adaptability and flexibility. We prayed hard and we worked hard. We had to make due when buildings suddenly weren’t available on a Sunday, we’ve had to make do with much less space, and we’ve learned to be creative.”
“This has all revealed that we are a faithful congregation and we have a faithful God who has helped us and led us. We are joyous in the middle of it all. The whole thing has been a disappointing experience, but we are not sad. We have joy in the Lord. We’re here because of Jesus Christ and greater days are ahead of us than behind us.”
“We have appreciated the assistance, support, cooperation and prayer of the wider Christian community who’ve been aware of our plight. We’re thankful to Mariners Christian School and The River Church for letting us meet there. Now we’re looking forward to being involved in the community. We’ve just had a successful gift gathering for Operation Christmas Child, we’re planning increased opportunities with the military, we’re aligning ourselves with the Orange County human trafficking network, and of course we invite the community to celebrate Christmas with us.”
One of the ministries available to the community is the cancer support group called “Cancer with Compassion” which is hosting a half-day event on Saturday, Dec. 5.
“We’re excited to invite those with cancer, and those who love them, to hear about the hope and the treatments that are available,” said Rev. Cathie Young, Associate Rector of St. James and a cancer survivor. “We’ll hear from a panel of experts, we’ll hear from cancer sufferers and we’ll have the opportunity to purchase Christmas gifts from wonderful vendors. This is the first in a series of events for community outreach centered around the topic of cancer.”
For further information, visit stjamesnb.org.
Cindy can be reached at [email protected].