“It’s a challenge, but it’s an exciting opportunity,” Jones said.
Between 20 and 25 visitors have attended weekly services since the changeover, Jones said.
The church hopes to build a strong group of core members before it begins holding full Sunday services at 10 a.m., rather than its current 8 a.m. Eucharist, he said.
Although the new congregation has started small, its following of energetic members interested in shaping a new parish will be important in laying a foundation for the church, he said.
“The folks here are the folks who are really going to build the congregation,” he said.
Some visitors Sunday were new to the church, but others had been regular visitors at St. Luke’s long before its members voted to break with the Episcopal Diocese because of concerns about the appointment of a gay bishop in New Hampshire.
When the congregation made its decision to split from the Episcopal Church, many members left and went to other churches, said La Crescenta resident John Breckow.
“It’s like we were picking teams in kickball and you had to make up your mind about which side you were on,” said Breckow, a 30-year member of the St. Luke’s congregation who made his decision to stop attending the church three years ago.
But when the now-Anglican group moved out of the church in October following a court order, Breckow and other former members decided to come back, he said.
Now the church is working toward establishing itself anew at an area landmark of historic proportions, he said.
Obviously it’s one of the oldest buildings in the area, he said. It’s got a lot of history in it, but it’s got a new identity.
La Cañada Flintridge resident Holly Stauffer settled on St. Luke’s as her new congregation after five years of church shopping in the area, she said.
Other church structures were inspiring in their own ways, but some were too big and others didn’t mesh with her beliefs, she said.
“I wished I could come here because I liked the way it looked, but I knew what was going on inside was not going to jive with my personality,” she said.
Now she is spearheading a set of social events through the church and hoping to help shape it for the future, she said.
“I think it’s an amazing, amazing experience to be at the ground floor,” she said.