News and Views

New Episcopal Parsonage

Posted by Melissa Lauber on

The Baltimore-Washington Conference recently closed on a new house that will serve as its episcopal residence.

The purchase comes after mold and a variety of other issues were discovered last spring in the previous parsonage in Clarksville, which was home to Bishop LaTrelle Easterling and her family.

In June, members of the Annual Conference instructed the Board of Trustees to do remediation on the house to ensure it was safe to live in and then sell it. They also approved purchasing a new residence in keeping with new denominational standards.

The Trustees, led by the board’s president, John Strawbridge, researched 30 homes  near the Conference Mission Center in Fulton. The new parsonage costs just over $1 million.

“This cost is comparable to other homes in the area,” Strawbridge said, “and we are grateful for the efforts of our agent, Jan Hayden, in negotiating the purchase below the asking price.” 

The new residence has a similar layout and functionality of the current residence with the advantage of newer energy efficient construction and enhanced safety measures like a fire sprinkler system. Strawbridge added, “We get a lot of visitors from other conferences and other countries to Baltimore-Washington. As a hosting location, this property represents our conference well and should serve us for many years.”

The previous residence is being placed on the market and is expected to sell for over $900,000. Extensive testing was completed to ensure it is safe for occupancy.

Conference leaders say that the former residence served the conference well for 23 years and proved to be a good investment. The new home is similarly situated and is also a sound investment, Strawbridge said. 

As a stewardship measure, the Council on Finance and Administration voted to fund the purchase of the new home with reserves restricted for use at the Episcopal Residence, and supplemental funding from an unrestricted Trustee reserve fund, which will be reimbursed by the sale of the old residence. Strawbridge said he is thankful for CFA’s plan. “We are saving a significant amount of money by not having to seek a bank loan. This plan gives us more security and control.”

New denominational standards require that episcopal residences have a bathroom and bedroom that are accessible on the first floor. The BWC’s new parsonage for the bishop’s family meets that standard.

The current residence was purchased in 1996. The May, Schol, Matthews and Easterling families lived there.