Welcome to St. Bede’s Church. We are a congregation of the Episcopal Church located in the City and Diocese of Los Angeles. St. Bede’s is the parish that serves the communities of Venice, Playa Vista, Mar Vista, Ocean Park. We also have parishioners from Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, Westchester, Santa Monica, Culver City & West Los Angeles.
St. Bede’s is an inclusive Christian community, and we welcome all visitors and newcomers to worship with us at any of our services. Whether you are simply visiting or looking for a church home, you are welcome here for as long as you are with us.
If you are new to the Episcopal Church, the Eucharist (Communion) is the central focus of our worship. We invite anyone who feels drawn to join us in the service or at the Table to do so. You can also remain in your seat if you are unsure about participating.
If you are interested in becoming a member of St. Bede’s, please speak with the clergy. Please do not hesitate to contact the Rector (pastor) or other clergy if you have special needs such as baptism, confirmation, or marriage, or if you wish to consult a priest.
St. Bede’s is comprised of about 135 households with about 225 baptized members. The parish is comprised of 1/3 families (married or partnered), 1/3 singles (widowed, divorced or never-married), and 1/3 “church singles” (married or partnered, but the other person not involved in the parish).
The parish has Sunday services of Eucharist at 8 & 10 a.m. The early service is a said service with no music. At the later service, St. Bede’s Choir and its Music Director, Frank Basile, offer an invaluable ministry of praise and music. A time of fellowship follows each service in the Parish Hall. On Sundays at 6, the service of Evening Prayer is offered, usually in the chapel. It is a relaxed, meditative service using a variety of styles. Four Sundays a year, the Friends of Music at St. Bede’s offers a Choral Evensong. Each Wednesday evening, the Holy Eucharist or Evening Prayer is celebrated in the Chapel at 7 p.m. Special schedules are published for Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Holy Week & Easter Day.
On Sundays, there is a nursery for children 0-3 at 9:50 a.m. The Church School Program for children ages 9-12 has either regular classes or the atriums of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at 10 a.m. from the end of September through the end of June. The Youth Group (teenagers) meets monthly on the 2nd Sunday of the month. A Rector’s Forum is held monthly – usually on the 1st Sunday of the month – at 9 a.m. from October through May. A introduction to the Episcopal Church (“Via Media”) is held in two 8-week sessions – one in the fall and one in Lent. This is also preparation for confirmation or reception and meets weekly at Noon.
On Tuesdays at 9 a.m., meeting weekly except in July & August, the Breakfast & Bible Class begins the day with a breakfast provided by one of the members. Following the meal, the class studies the lessons for the upcoming Sunday and uses a shortened form of Morning Prayer for its worship. On Wednesdays following the 7 p.m. service, an adult forum presents classes on a variety of topics. Recent classes have studied both the Old & New Testaments, the theology of the Anglican poets, the Narnia Chronicles & C. S. Lewis, the theology of St. Paul, and is working its way through the New Church’s Teaching Series.
St. Bede’s has two women’s groups. The St. John’s Guild – open to all parishioners & their friends – meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at Noon, except in July & August, beginning with a pot-luck luncheon. SJG hosts speakers and other informational programs as well as sponsoring bake sales and other parish events. The Sisters of Bede meets on the 1st Monday (2nd if the earlier week is a holiday) each month beginning with a pot-luck supper. The SoB’s host the Annual Party of Parties and coordinate the events which follow that all year. They also sponsor the breakfast on Easter Day and other special events. The Brothers of Bede is a men’s group which meet on the 2nd Sunday each month between the services at 9 a.m. They sponsor the Homecoming BBQ, the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper and other events during the year.
St. Bede’s is committed to outreach. The parish contributes its fair-share to the Diocesan Mission Share Fund. Each month, on the 1st Wednesday, a group of parishioners prepares and serves lunches at the outpatient AIDS Clinic at the Los Angeles County-USC Hospital. On the 1st Sunday each month, St. Bede’s collects food for the food shelf at the St. Joseph Center in Venice. St. Bede’s has a long relationship with the Neighborhood Youth Association, an Episcopal institution working with at-risk children in Venice & Mar Vista. We provide two scholarships annually for young people who are attending college after having been part of the NYA program. The NYA uses the Parish Hall for several events during the year and several parishioners are after-school tutors at the NYA.
The Very Rev. Canon James Newman is the 3rd Rector of St. Bede’s and has served since 1990. He is the Dean of the West Los Angeles Deanery and a member of the Los Angeles Diocese’s deputation to the General Convention. He has attended every General Convention since 1979 in various capacities, including service as a deputy in 1985 and 1988. He has also worked at the national church levels on projects involving liturgy and music, college chaplaincies and social justice issues. He has served as a college chaplain in Minnesota and the Diocese of Los Angeles, and has been a member of the diocesan Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee. Formerly he served congregations in the Diocese of Minnesota, where he was also a member of the Standing Committee and chaired the Liturgy Commission. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1978 and the priesthood in 1979 by Bishop Robert Anderson, who at that time was Bishop of Minnesota. Newman was named an honorary Canon of the Cathedral Center of St. Paul in 2003 by Bishop J. Jon Bruno.
St. Bede’s was formed in 1966 after the merger of the Church of the Good Shepherd (Venice) and St. John’s Mission (West Los Angeles). Both churches needed new buildings and more space. The Rev. John Donnell led the merged churches as they met in the West Los Angeles Masonic Temple for several years. Following Donnell’s retirement, the Rev. Joseph Reeves was elected to be the 1st Rector of St. Bedes. Following a year-long construction, the new St. Bede’s opened in the fall of 1967. Fr. Reeves served until 1985. He was succeeded by John Adams (interim, 1985-86), Michael Carr (Rector, 1986-89), John Adams (interim, 1989-90), and James Newman (Rector, 1990-). The worship space and parish hall underwent extensive renovation in a major campaign – the 2nd Century Fund (1999-2006).
About the Episcopal Church
What do we believe?
Episcopalians maintain three sources as critical to understanding God and the world:
We believe that God and God’s people speak to us through the Bible and that it contains the wisdom needed for a good life. And most important of all, the Bible proclaims to us the Good News of Jesus Christ. Scripture is sacred and authoritative, but not infallible. We balance what we learn from scripture with traditions and reason.
This includes the prayer and theological reflection by a multiplicity of voices throughout Church history. We believe that God has continued speaking through the generations and the traditions that have been established through the life of the Church have authority in our lives.
While reason is commonly understood today to be an aloof, non-emotional consideration of clear ‘facts,’ since the time of 16th Century theologian Richard Hooker, Anglicans have used the term in a more holistic way, entailing both the operations of the mind and the heart. Anglican reason must include a combination of logic, and the subjective, basic sense of ‘rightness’ which each of us posses. Reason, which includes our own personal experience of God and God’s work in the world, is the third-leg of what is known as the Anglican Three-Legged Stool, a metaphor that is used to describe how Anglicans take into consideration of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, each one informing the other two, to discern truth, make decisions, and find authority.
What is the Church?
The Church is not a building where people go to worship God. The Church is the people of God-all of God’s people. God’s people work in the world to show others God’s love for all people. Some-deacons, priests, and bishops-are chosen to be leaders in the Church. They undergo special training and are “ordained” (a public affirmation of their chosenness). We are all called to do God’s work every day in everything we do. Our baptism affirms that we are part of God’s great family that we call the Church.
What is the Book of Common Prayer?
You will find the Book of Common Prayer in any Episcopal Church anywhere in the world. The BCP contains language for the many different ways that Episcopalians worship God. Some of the worship services can be used every day, like Morning Prayer or the Holy Eucharist. Other worship services are for designated occasions, like weddings or funerals. It also contains numerous prayers for a wide variety of needs and situations.-From Robert Hamm Grindrod, trans., Episcopalians, 2002.