Dear Friends in Christ,
Last Thursday, November 17, 2022, we officially listed the Bishop’s Close and Elk Rock Garden on RMLS. Since becoming your Bishop in February 2021, I have heard many of you encouraging us to relocate to an area that reflects the mission and ministry of the diocese in these times. I also know the building and garden have a special place in the hearts of many in our diocese, making the decision to sell the Bishop’s Close and Elk Rock Garden sobering and one we did not make lightly. The work of the relocation committee preceded my arrival, and I have been able to build on the thoughtful and thorough work they have done to bring us to this decision. Earlier this fall, I met with members of the Kerr Family to discuss our vision for the diocese and the need to move to a new location. Their gracious and understanding support for this move has eased the sense of loss that accompanies this transition.
The sale of the Bishop’s Close is essential in order that the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon can move forward with its mission and ministry. As some of you know, a sale of the property in 2020 was imminent but, ultimately, did not close. There are several key reasons why we have decided to list the property once again.
- The cost of maintaining and operating the whole property is very expensive.
- The physical layout of the Bishop’s Close is not equipped to be an efficient and collaborative workspace for the diocesan staff.
- A desire to locate the diocesan office in a ministry area that reflects the mission of the church today.
- A desire to have more accessible and well-equipped meeting space for the diocese that would allow for large groups to meet, provide ample parking, and is accessible by public transportation.
The Bishop’s Close and Elk Rock Garden has housed the diocesan staff since it was donated to the diocese in 1957 by the Kerr family. This gift was—and continues to be—the most significant gift our diocese has received from one family. Over the decades, the diocese has maintained the building as an office and meeting space, built a chapel, and opened the private Elk Rock Garden to those interested in enjoying its beauty throughout the seasons. In 1994, the diocese gave the Kerr family a right of first offer should the diocese opt to sell the property. Members of the Kerr family have been in conversation with us regarding this current listing, and we have every hope that the sale will benefit all concerned.
I ask your prayers as we begin the journey of this transition. We will do our best to keep you updated throughout this process.