On Wednesday, December 17, following a year-long restoration, the historic Sargent House in downtown Salinas became the new home of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real.
The diocese staff said good-bye to San Pablo Apostol in Seaside, home of the diocese since its founding in 1980. Moving trucks pulled up at 7 a.m. and within a few hours the crews were busy loading furniture, supplies and equipment inside the 1896-built Sargent House. By Thursday morning, phones and computers were connected and the diocese staff began the process of setting up their new offices. While minor detail work will continue for several weeks, the El Camino Real offices are once again functioning.
The historic house on 154 Central Avenue now features a large meeting room, kitchen, and a picturesque chapel on its first floor, while the second floor is home to the offices of Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves and her staff. The house retains its historic character while vibrant interior colors point to the diocese’s exciting future.
Within a day of moving in, the Sargent House had already made a strong impression on the diocese staff.
“The house was impressive even before we moved in,” said the Rev. Canon Jesús Reyes, Canon for Congregational Growth & Development. “Now that things are coming together, it’s just amazing. It’s starting to become our house, at a different level than before. With our new central location, the whole diocese can feel a tremendous sense of pride and missionary commitment.”
Bookkeeper Jo Ann McClain was struck by the fact her new office was already quiet and peaceful, despite the constant activity of movers and contractors. She recalled her early visits to Sargent House: “As much as I knew that God wanted us to be here, the house was dark and cold. It needed love and care. After watching this restoration, I see that the house needed us to be here. It’s peaceful and quiet and filled with God.”
“I want that kitchen in my house!” said Mary Beth Powell, Administrative/ Communications Assistant, with a laugh.
“The plan is coming together,” said the Rev. Canon Brian Nordwick, Canon for Finance and Administration, who has overseen the house’s transformation. “We’ve completed the first important step, which is physically occupying the building. The lion’s share of the work is done, and now we’ll focus on the finishing touches and details. We’re unpacking, getting to know the new house, and setting things up so we can be fully functional by the first of the year.”
“It’s important to point out that this is the diocese’s new home,” he added, “not the staff’s offices, but your offices. It’s a place we can all take pride in.”
“We are thrilled to have achieved this goal, 30 years in the making!” said Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves. “Thank you to all who dreamed the dream and contributed in prayer, hard work, financial support, dedication and love to make it possible. Sargent House stands beautifully in the diocese, in Salinas, as a witness to our commitment to the Diocese of El Camino Real, and in support of the ministry of The Episcopal Church in this place. May God be glorified as we receive this great gift and it becomes a place of offering to the wider church and community!”
The new diocesan mailing address is: P.O. Box 689, Salinas, CA 93902
The street address is: 154 Central Avenue, Salinas, CA 93901
Phone (831) 394-4465
Fax (831) 394-7133
We ask for your patience and prayers as the diocese staff settles into El Camino Real’s new home. An open house event is being planned for February; watch for details soon! To see more photos of the move, visit our diocese Facebook page.