After 65 years as a home for ministers from the Federated Church of Martha’s Vineyard, the Mayhew Parsonage on Edgartown Harbor is expected to pass into new hands within the next few months.

Church members held a send-off Sept. 4 for both the South Water street property and its last preacher-tenant, interim minister Charlotte Wright, who celebrated her final service on the parsonage lawn that morning. The church will host a series of guest preachers for the upcoming Sundays as it continues its active search for a new minister.

Following a brunch in Ms. Wright’s honor, Federated Church historians Elizabeth Villard and Herb Ward hosted an afternoon open house in memory of Sara Joy Mayhew, who willed the property to the church when she died in 1956.

Ms. Mayhew was a direct descendant of Thomas Mayhew, the Vineyard’s first governor and the founder of the Federated Church, who in the 1600s took ownership of a commanding stretch of land atop the bluff overlooking the harbor.

Tours of the home took place Sunday afternoon. — Ray Ewing

The current parsonage was built in 1832 by Joseph Mayhew to the north of the original Thomas Mayhew homestead. It remained in the family until the church received it in 1957 through Ms. Mayhew’s bequest.

Like other houses of the whaling era, the home’s front door faces the water. From South Water street, the closest entrance leads into the parsonage kitchen, which has had a 21st-century makeover and looks anything but historic.

Ms. Villard and other church volunteers were on the alert to guide visitors around the building to the main door, which once was served by a path that ran along the top of the bluff above the harbor.

Apart from the kitchen and bathrooms, the church has made few visible changes inside. Wide fireplaces, time-burnished pine floors, original woodwork and vintage furniture and antiques lend a house-museum air, though the home has seen hard use by generations of ministers’ families.

“For years, this didn’t need a lot of maintenance,” said Mr. Ward, who was stationed in one of the two first-floor drawing rooms to answer visitors’ questions. However, Mr. Ward said, the old house has increasingly become a drain on church finances as it approaches its third century.

Church plans to sell the parsonage and create an endowment to fund mission work and charitable activities. — Ray Ewing

“The maintenance costs have just doubled and doubled and doubled and doubled,” Mr. Ward said.

Replacing the windows alone cost $1,000 apiece, while the interior walls are made with horsehair plaster that only an expert can maintain, Mr. Ward told the Gazette.

Some of the Mayhew heirlooms in the house may have passed beyond repair, including a stately longcase clock — made by Aaron Willard in 1810, Mr. Ward said — with a little ship that once sailed back and forth above the dial.

“It worked until three years ago. Charlie Hall was the last person who knew how to fix it,” Mr. Ward said, naming the famous Island handyman who died in 2015.

“We have an entire attic full of things in various conditions of disrepair,” Mr. Ward added.

The parsonage, which overlooks Edgartown harbor, is assessed at $12 million. — Ray Ewing

Complicating the church’s ownership of the property and its contents, Ms. Mayhew’s bequest also named a preservation society — now known as Historic New England — which would take over the house and land if it were no longer used for church purposes. However, Mr. Ward said, the 1956 agreement was not renewed after its initial 30-year period, opening the way for protracted legal action that ultimately freed the church to use the property as it wished.

Selling the parsonage — which is assessed at $12 million — was a decision reached over a year of discussions by the Federated congregation about the future of the church, M. Villard said.

After discharging the church’s outstanding debts — about $200,000, plus an annual structural deficit of about $80,000, Federated officials said in a June newsletter — proceeds from the sale will provide an endowment to maintain the 1828 church and fund mission work and charitable activities, potentially making the Federated Church a philanthropic heavyweight both on and off the Island.

“Imagine what $10 million could do,” Ms. Villard said.

The church is negotiating directly with prospective buyers, she told the Gazette.

“This is being sold without a real estate agent,” Ms. Villard said.

While there’s no specific timeline for a sale, she said, she will begin packing up the house’s contents later this month to take them to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.