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St. James Newport Beach: The Pious Language of Greed

St. James Newport Beach: The Pious Language of Greed
Memo to Rev. Cindy Voorhees: "You're screwed"


By David W. Virtue, DD
August 16, 2017

No so-called Christian institution in modern history has managed to elevate greed to sanctimonious levels of episcobabble as The Episcopal Church is doing in its pending sale of St. James the Great Newport Beach in the name of the god mammon. (It will soon be known as St. James the Sold).

Mostly when the Episcopal Church goes after a property, its priest, parishioners and prayer books it does so in the name of "mission".

Mission is never fully defined, (it certainly has nothing to do with evangelism, discipleship or church growth); at its heart it means a lot of vacuous talk about saving the world for God, endless talk of racism, unnumbered social justice issues from UN resolutions to transgenderism and sodomy, while grabbing, or holding on to properties they believe are theirs for future generations -- generations that are currently dwindling, and in time will cease to exist, never to see the inside of an Episcopal Church. The future of the Episcopal Church beyond the next twenty years is about as viable as Anthony Scaramucci being invited by the next president of the United States to be his Director of Communications.

But the greedy fingers of the new bishop of Los Angeles John Taylor immediately took over, unctuously proclaiming, in prayerful discernment, of course, that the diocese's hearts was opened to a variety of possibilities for reconciliation in Christ and healing for St. James and our whole community, BUT, because Bishop Bruno had entered into a binding contract to sell the property they have no recourse but to sell the property.

But as canon lawyer Allan Haley notes, "as the title to St. James is still held by Bruno's corporation sole, then only he can sign the deed that would transfer title to the developer. The same goes for the proceeds from the sale: since the seller is the corp sole, the money will be paid into the corp sole, and will come out to the Diocese only if Bruno signs a check." That's a card he might play to get out of ecclesiastical jail.

As the diocese is in financial straits, so a source told VOL, then $15 million or whatever the sale price is (and remember that Bruno spent over $10 million in legal fees in this and other property situations,) then very clearly it is the will of God that the property be sold as soon as possible, and the Rev. Cindy Voorhees and her small tribe of leftover Episcopalians can go pound sand.

The convoluted history of this parish has been ably documented by Mr. Haley whose story about all this can be viewed here. http://tinyurl.com/y9rvx624

The back and forth of the St. James story would make a movie of intrigue, duplicity, lies and yes, just plain greed. Bruno, it turns out, is the Episcopal Church's version of Wall Street's Gordon Gekko, but with a creed, "Blessed are the litigious for they shall enrich lawyers."

The complicated machinations of property ownership, corp sole etc. will in time be sorted out, but Bruno has the corp sole up his sleeve till the new bishop is fully inducted into the diocesan hall of revisionist infamy.

Meantime Bruno has been given a three-year get out of ecclesiastical jail card and kicked to the curb for bullying and deviant behavior over a piece of real estate.

Now you should know that this parish was once in the hands of two godly priests, one Richard Crocker and David Anderson, (the latter went on to become a bishop in the ACNA) having discerned that he and many others had no future in a morally and theologically bankrupt church.

On hearing the latest news, Bishop Anderson wrote VOL and said; "I am heartbroken. When I first knew Bruno, he seemed a different man. I took him with me to an ERM Evergreen Conference Center in CO for a clergy (charismatic) renewal week. Things seemed to go very well.

"Then later he drank the kool-aid.

"The church is a beautiful building but for the diocese it is a reminder of us, not Cindy Voorhees. They are reminded of us and they want to scrape the sand clean and erase our historical presence from the landscape. I find no joy in Cindy Voorhees and her congregation being treated as badly as we were....and they have nowhere to go...they are stuck in the Episcopal Church that betrayed them because they can't join us without repenting from deviant theology, and so they are stuck in the hell that cut them off at the knees.

"Now the church building that we loved, and that they too loved will be smashed and carted away. It's a tragedy in so many directions. But in the larger picture the price we are paying in losing property all across North America is a pittance compared to what our brother and sister Christians are paying in Isis Iraq and Syria, and in almost every Muslim country, where they remain faithful and endure the most horrendous of prices."

The prayer of Samson does however come to mind, Anderson said.

It is irony heaped upon irony that at one point in this saga a Hearing Panel reached a definite and clear conclusion, (always after prayerful consideration of course), strongly recommending to the Diocese of Los Angeles that as a matter of justice it immediately suspend its efforts to sell the St. James property, that it restore the congregation and vicar to the church building and that it reassign St. James the Great appropriate mission status.

That was never going to happen. Justice be damned.

The die has now been cast, the property will be sold, the few Episcopalians scattered to the four winds and a large check will sit in the diocese's bank account to be spent on sodomite inclusion, anti-racism training for non-existent aging Episcopal racists, and a Jesus Movement that nobody knows what the hell to do with. Bruno, like Stacy Sauls and Douglas Hahn, (both the latter bishops got the heave-ho for different reasons,) will lick his wounds and then disappear, never to be heard from again.

Perhaps that's the silver lining in this whole tawdry affair.


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