Special to The Michigan Catholic
Anchorville — The first Catholic church building in Anchorville, a wood frame structure, burned to the ground in 1917. Less than a year later, parishioners at Immaculate Conception Parish built a brick church, which is now receiving a new roof and other repairs funded through a successful Changing Lives Together campaign launched earlier this year.“Our first priority is to get the new roof on our church as well as to start on interior repairs and repainting,” said Fr. Joseph Esper, pastor of the parish community on the north shore of Lake St. Clair east of New Baltimore. “We’re tackling some major plaster work on the inside while replacing the roof on the outside. The roof work is almost done and the inside work, including repainting, should be completed by Christmas.” Refinishing the wood floors in the church will be started in the spring. Immaculate Conception is the boyhood parish of Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, who also attended Immaculate Conception School.
“Our parishioners understand the need to continue our 160-year tradition of stewardship,” said Fr. Esper. “They embraced the priorities we outlined, and everyone is very pleased to see the priorities being addressed within months of starting the campaign.” Immaculate Conception is debt-free, and Changing Lives Together proceeds are funding the repair work.
Parish campaign volunteers helped spread the word about the campaign through a parish-produced video summarizing the parish history and its current needs. This is the second Changing Lives Together campaign led by Fr. Esper. As pastor of St. Edward on the Lake Parish in Lakeport, he helped parishioners surpass their fundraising target last year, retiring the parish debt and renovating the parish school. Fr. Esper has been pastor at Immaculate Conception since July 2012.