Sunday, he will sit in the pews at St. James and remember the feel of
the padded kneelers, the skin of his grandmother's hands and how she
talked to the priests even outside the church doors, for the last time.
The 54-year-old redbrick building, located at Via Lido and Lafayette
Avenue, will be deconsecrated at a 5 p.m. ceremony Sunday.
By next Christmas, the city's first Episcopalian church will be torn
down and replaced with a larger facility to accommodate the growing
parish, which has now reached 560 families. The building now fits only
The project is part of a larger remodeling of the parish's buildings,
which include a new hall, day school and administration building that
opened four years ago. The congregation has grown about 20% since these
buildings opened, leaving little room for new parishioners, especially
The new church will cost about $3.4 million, but about $1.8 million
has already been raised, church leaders said. Congregants will attend
services at what used to be a bank across the street until the new church
For Dale, 50, this means the end of a lifelong tradition but the
beginning of a fresh batch of memories.
As a young boy living in Beverly Hills, he visited Frick every summer
in Newport Beach and attended St. James on the weekends. Now a local
resident, he has been an active member of the church since 1976.
Cousins were baptized there and late grandparents were given their
memorial services in the nave, including Frick.
"The life of the church at St. James has been profoundly impactful on
my life," he said. "I can picture and visualize so many things."
Betsy Shelton, a Newport Beach resident and member of St. James for
four years, remembers one particular service about the Holy Eucharist a
year ago. The message moved her.
"It just really took it to a more personal level," Shelton said. "I
really felt that I truly was in the presence of the Lord, at his table,
rather than just going through a particular liturgy and type of service."
When she thinks of St. James, she also smells the ocean. The church,
which Shelton describes as an "elegant, classic lady," is a bit musty at
times, with the smell of sea breeze flowing through the windows.
"So it just has a really comfortable feeling to it," she said.
For Dale, the church has the fragrance of incense.
"When we pray, the prayers are lifted to God in a sense," he said.
"The incense fills the church, and these are lasting memories for me."
WHAT: St. James Episcopal Church deconsecration
WHEN: 5 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: St. James, 3209 Via Lido, Newport Beach
CALL: (949) 675-0210