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The Start of a New Chapter

With the increase in the deterioration of our current Canterbury house, the need for an upgrade is at the top of the list! With its bursting amounts of history, the old Canterbury house will be hard to part with. It was built in 1868, a mere 40 years before James Madison University was established. It was built by the Haas family for their "Spinster Daughter" Isabelle (21). The construction of the building was made in case her parents passed, in confirmation that she would not end up on the streets because women could not yet own property. She ended up marrying at the age of 24.

*Stair image from 2018

For many years, the house stood untouched by Canterbury and it wasn't until 2006 that it was bought by the diocese, making the first class to ever graduate while partaking in Canterbury the class of 2007. The current Canterbury house brought with it many memories of different graduating classes. Griffin Watson a History and International Affairs major and a class of 2018 found Canterbury to be very impactful. "This may sound silly but we had this tradition (I don't know if you all still do it) of standing on the chairs when we sang the last hymn. My friend Rosemary, who was older than me, used to say that it started because a mouse ran through the sanctuary once." Not that the old times won't be missed but there are new experiences to be had. Danielle Cullpepper a 2013 graduate believes "The new house will provide the opportunity to serve even more students and, eventually, will house it’s very own memories. A new building is so well deserved."

With all these wonderful memories comes wear and tear on the current house, making the new house in higher demand now than ever. There was first talk of a new house in 2017, but we never thought JMU would entertain the idea of trading the property. But to our surprise, in 2019, JMU bought Canterbury and traded the property with us, making it possible to start our new journey and to create new memories! With this new building, we hope to have more visibility of Canterbury to the Harrisonburg community, allow for more space for current activities, such as having larger worship rooms and a more suitable sized kitchen to provide for the members and create a more appealing atmosphere for people so they can feel like Canterbury is their home away from home.

The new house will last us for generations to come and we can't wait to move in and start creating what it is destined to be!

Want to help us make this new house feel like a home? Visit to learn how!

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