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St. James Episcopal Names New Rector

The Rev. Gregory Kimura is the new rector at St. James Episcopal Church, the senior warden of the church has announced.
Kimura will officially start at St. James, located at 1325 Monterey Road, on March 23, and will lead the church’s celebrations for Holy Week and Easter.
Kimura, a fourth generation Japanese American and Alaskan, is the canon vice-dean at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, overseeing clergy, music, finance and business operations of the Cathedral and community pre-school.
He has post-graduate degrees from Harvard and Cambridge universities.
Kimura was ordained as a priest at age 25 and led the last church in the Episcopal Diocese of Alaska to move from mission status to full parish. Over his years in Alaska, he served as a parish priest, interfaith chaplain, professor and department chair at Alaska Pacific University.
He moved to Southern California in 2011 to become president/CEO of the Japanese American National Museum. After five years there, he returned to the church and served as adjunct clergy at St. Cross Episcopal Church in Hermosa Beach and record of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ojai. He also started the church’s first Spanish language service, which grew to become the largest Sunday service.
Kimura, while at Ojai, was on the board of the local homeless shelter and social service agency and volunteered as a chaplain for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. He was also a member of the Upper Ojai Search and Rescue team, where he was certified in first aid, swift water rescue and backcountry and mountain rescue.
While he was at St. Andrew’s, he started Laundry Love Ojai, which received the 2019 community award from Ojai Rotary.
The Rev. Michelle Baker-Wright has been priest in charge of the church since the retirement of the Rev. Canon Anne Tumilty in 2022.
“Thank you for your patience as we have gone through this transition,” said Lucy Jones, senior warden, in a statement to the congregation. “I truly believe that God has been with us in this process and that Rev. Kimura will lead St. James into a hopeful, spirit-filled future.”
St. James Episcopal Church’s present building at Fremont and Mission was dedicated in 1907 and the beautiful stained glass windows which decorate it were done locally by Judson Studios. The Rose Window at the rear of the church was installed in 1907 and the rest were done between 1950 and 1963.

First published in the March 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

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