Bishop Seabury building sold to Stedfast Baptist congregation

Groton - The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut has sold the former Bishop Seabury Church on North Road to another religious organization.

The diocese sold the building on Aug. 15 for an undisclosed amount to Stedfast Baptist Church, according to an Episcopal diocesan news release.

Stedfast was looking to relocate from 1041 Poquonnock Road to a larger facility, the news release says.

The sale price was not disclosed, and town land records don't show a conveyance tax on a dollar value because both seller and buyer are nonprofit organizations.

But the release said the diocese plans to use proceeds from the sale "to support a new missionary program."

Last winter, representatives of social service agencies, church groups, municipal offices and neighborhoods gathered to talk to church leaders about possible future uses for the building. The diocese considered options including housing for wounded veterans, a community center and a soup kitchen.

"In the end, it was decided that the best option would be to sell the building to another Christian community and use the proceeds to support a new missionary program of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut," the release says.

Bishop Seabury Church moved to the North Road site from Fort Street in 1966. The church vacated the premises in 2012 following a disagreement with the Episcopal diocese. In 2007, the Rev. Ronald Gauss led his parish away from diocesan supervision over several disagreements, including the Episcopal Church's ordination in 2003 of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire, and the election of a woman as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. in 2006.

In 2010, a state Superior Court judge ruled that the Connecticut diocese owns the 6.5-acre church site and its contents.

- Deborah Straszheim


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