AUGUSTA — St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and related church-owned properties are for sale, a move that could displace the city’s food bank, a warming shelter and a pantry that provides soap and toiletries to the needy.

Also for sale is a historic home the church used as a rectory.

And the adjacent St. Mark’s Home, which provided housing for decades after it was donated to the church in 1871 to serve as a home for poor and indigent women, will be given away by church officials, along with a roughly $340,000 endowment. That’s if an organization comes forward with a solid plan to take over the facility and continue its mission of helping people in need.

The proposed sale is expected to force the food and clothing banks, and the essential pantry and warming center, to move. Depending on who or what type of entity puts in a bid to buy the property, the sale could reshape a prominent parcel between the city’s downtown and a large west side residential neighborhood.

Augusta resident Joseph Riddick, senior warden of the church, said the 40-member St. Mark’s congregation, while now able to pay to maintain the buildings, won’t be able to afford to do so long-term. Also, he and the Rev. Rebecca Grant, the church deacon, said the money they’d spend maintaining and heating the aging facilities will be better spent on the church’s focus of helping needy people in the community.

“This is a building. It’s a wonderful building, but our ministry is people,” Riddick said, standing in the high-ceilinged St. Mark’s Church, beneath its rows of elaborate stained-glass windows and among its wooden pews. “We’re transitioning to a facility for our congregation that we can afford. And the money we use to maintain this campus, we’ll take that money and help people, help those in need. St. Mark’s Church continues and our ministries are going to continue, just in a different place.”


St. Mark’s parishioners already moved their regular Sunday services last year, holding joint services with Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.

The ministry still offers, and plans to continue doing so up until the sale, Addie’s Attic Clothing Bank and Everyday Basics Essentials Pantry, which provides the needy with toiletries and other items, at the St. Mark’s parish hall at 9 Summer St., next to the church that stands between Pleasant and Summer streets.

Riddick said those services will continue after the sale, and the church is working with partners to try to find new locations for them.


The Augusta Food Bank, which each month provides free food for some 400 Augusta and Manchester households, or around 1,100 people, from the St. Mark’s parish hall, also will continue to provide food despite the potential sale of the building.

“We will not interrupt our services,” said Sarah Miller, executive director of the 35-year-old Augusta Food Bank. “They may be provided in a different space, but we’re dedicated to serving our clients.”


In March, local resident and businessman Norman Pomerleau donated a parcel of land at 161 Mount Vernon Ave. as the future site of the food bank.

However, with a need to raise money to build a new warehouse and food distribution center, the new location probably won’t be ready by the time the St. Mark’s parish hall is sold. Miller said it will move to temporary quarters if that’s the case.

She said food bank officials already had planned to move out of St. Mark’s, but the new building and fundraising for it are only in the planning stages.

“We’ll keep doing what we do every day in the meantime, and we’ll get a plan B and plan C in the works,” Miller said. “We’ve known for about a year there was uncertainty about how long this would last. It is not a surprise.”

The Augusta Community Warming Center, run by the United Way of Kennebec Valley with help from multiple other organizations, which provided a safe, warm place for local residents to spend time during the day during the coldest months of the year, just moved to the parish hall last year. It probably will have to find a new location if the church is successful in its efforts to sell off the property.

Riddick encouraged any potential new owners, if they plan to use the property in a way other than how it is being used now, to contact the city to see if that planned use is allowed. Both the church and the rectory are on the National Register of Historic Places.



The church is seeking an organization to take over the St. Mark’s Home building at the corner of Pleasant and Winthrop streets and commit to a mission of using it to help people in need. A $340,000 endowment for that purpose comes with it.

Riddick said the home is old but was well-maintained and has undergone many updates. He said it is in “move-in” condition.

Riddick said multiple organizations have expressed interest in taking on St. Mark’s Home, even before a request for proposals for all the properties was released last week.

“We’ve had a number of organizations interested in just the home, and some interested in the entire property,” Riddick said. “So we know there is interest in the property. The preference is somebody would buy the church and use it for worship. I’d love to see that. But we have to be realists in 2016.”

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