Church declines UK’s offer to buy property


St. Augustine Chapel is not for sale, church officials said. UK made an offer on the property earlier in 2016. 

In mid-July, the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington turned down an offer from UK to buy St. Augustine’s Chapel’s property. 

Located near the corner of Columbia Avenue and Rose Street, the church is an island in the middle of campus. The church is between Delta Delta Delta and Alpha Delta Pi sorority houses.

“There have been some conversations with the university about a possible sale of the property, and we know that our main priority is for healthy campus ministry at UK,” Reverend Canon Elise Johnstone said in a statement. “A sale is not occurring at this time and we are concentrating our efforts on vibrant ministry in the UK community.”

UK’s offer was $595,000, according to the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington’s Standing Committee meeting minutes. The Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator estimates the church’s property to be worth $924,600.

UK spokesman Jay Blanton said in an email to the Kentucky Kernel that UK respects the diocese’s decision and that the university made an offer to include the property in UK’s long-term plan. 

“Our plan was to incorporate that property into further enhancements of the Greek Park,” Blanton wrote. 

According to the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington’s Standing Committee meeting minutes, the committee was briefed on the offer in March. The diocese discussed the offer in other meetings. The Dioceses posed questions in the April 7 meeting like, “What is the future of campus ministry at the University of Kentucky and potential outposts of campus ministry at other colleges?” and “How do we get the most value out of the St. Augustine’s property?”

Pastor Dana Lockhart said the church is making plans for the fall semester, including K Week activities and opening the chapel for sorority recruitment. 

“For over 60 years, the diocese has provided a dedicated space for all students at UK to worship, gather in community and ask challenging questions about faith and the world around us,” Lockhart said in a statement. “We are overjoyed that the chapel will continue to serve this purpose.”