July 12, 2021
Dear Fellow Parishioners,
What a glorious time in the history of St. John the Evangelist! We have begun to write the next chapter in that history with the dedication of the new church on July 4th, 2021.
The purpose of this note is to bring you up to date on the status of our efforts to sell the old church campus. The best place to begin is where the previous story ended. That was a recap of our effort to sell the Maple Avenue campus from 2015 to 2019. We had a number of showings of the property, none of which produced an offer to buy it. Subsequently, we decided to list with a local real estate firm and to change our approach to marketing in order to make the property more visible and competitive in the local market. It is important to note here that up until this time, the church building and the annex were the primary focus for sale. The school building was generally viewed as a negative asset by many of the prospective buyers.
In the Spring of 2019, Old Dominion Realty (Commercial) listed the property. There were a number of shows but no offers. Then, as 2020 began, we found ourselves in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic and all the starts, stops and disruptions that would entail.
In the Spring of 2020, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, a man came into the Tree Streets neighborhood, on personal business, and, on his way home, noticed the “FOR SALE” sign discreetly displayed at 300 Maple Ave. Primarily what caught his eye was that there was a school included in the offering. He was associated with the Afton Christian School and they were in the market for a new, permanent home!
Meetings were held, information exchanged and in June 2020 our agent presented us with an offer to buy the entire campus. The Diocese was informed of the offer and negotiations began, frequently interrupted by Covid. To afford the renamed Appalachian Christian School (ACS) a temporary home while negotiations were underway, we entered into a one-year lease agreement for the school building with ACS. The lease was contingent upon a good faith effort to come to a lease/purchase agreement by July, 2021. Our negotiations produced agreement on a final proposal to lease and purchase the property. In February, '21, our Finance Council voted unanimously to endorse the proposal and recommended that it be submitted to the Diocesan Finance Council. We eventually received approval of the ACS proposal to acquire the property under a lease/purchase agreement.
To quote Fr. Rolo during his introduction at the dedication, “It’s been a long slog!” However, I am pleased to report that closing documents are in preparation by the attorneys and we expect to close on or before July 31, 2021.
My thanks to Fr. Rolo, the Parish staff, members of the V9 and Building Committee and our parish family for your prayers, support and advice that brought us to this place.
Finally, a word about Appalachian Christian School. We are grateful that the property, so loved and cared over many generations, will house a Christian school, teaching Christian values and beliefs. Anecdotes from the community, students’ families, and parish staff abound about their experiences as they have come to know and work with the staff of ACS. Rest assured that ACS will be good stewards of the legacy of St. John’s entrusted to them. As we begin to live and write the next chapters of our respective histories, keep them in your prayers.
Jim Boland / Building Committee Marketing