The Episcopal Church Diocese of Los Angeles, which serves 80,000 parishioners in Southern California, will build a $6-million headquarters overlooking Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles.
Bishop Frederick H. Borsch, in an address prepared for delivery today at the diocese's convention at the Anaheim Hilton, said the new center will be built at the present site of a church that houses St. Athanasius and St. Paul Church, the oldest congregation in the diocese.
Borsch did not say in his address what would be done with the old wooden church on the site, but indications were that it will be torn down and replaced with a larger building.
The diocese offices must move in about two years. The present building at 1440 W. 4th St. was sold this year for about $3 million.
Although plans "are still in the formative stage," Borsch said he would like to raise the projected $6 million for the new building through contributions. "We can certainly use the $3 million (from the sale of the old building) if we need to, but I would like to keep those dollars for endowment and outreach," he said in his speech.
The existing parish, whose members include many Latinos living in the area, has been pastored since late 1985 by the Rev. Jon Bruno, an ex-collegiate and professional football player. Bruno was also recently named the stewardship officer for the diocese.
That parish was the scene earlier that year of a bitter fight in which then-Bishop Robert Rusack and some congregants were eventually able to oust the rector, the Rev. Ian Mitchell, through a court-ordered parish election. The dispute was complex, but one issue was that the parish had chosen the rector without the bishop's approval.
The site, on the east side of the lake, is a few minutes drive from downtown Los Angeles, Borsch noted. It is also about a block from Angelus Temple and the headquarters of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, both established in the 1920s by Pentecostal evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.
Borsch, who was elected bishop of the diocese in January, will unveil the plans to about 730 clergy and lay delegates after the morning Eucharist today, the last day of the two-day annual convention. The diocese encompasses Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino and part of Riverside counties.
In other written remarks, Borsch called for improved clergy salaries, more young people in parish leadership posts and an evangelism plan by next year's convention to expand church membership.