November 12, 2013
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Detroit Archbishop Vigneron’s boyhood church in Anchorville gets a new roof, other repairs

Immaculate Conception Parish

Founded in 1853, Immaculate Conception Parish is celebrating its 160th anniversary. The theme of the parish Changing Lives Together campaign was to continue the stewardship of past generations of Immaculate Conception parishioners. Photo courtesy Immaculate Conception Parish


Immaculate Conception Parish roof

Roof replacement work started in October at the 100 year-old Immaculate Conception church in Anchorville. Photo courtesy Immaculate Conception Parish


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 Rev. Joseph Esper, pastor of the parish community located 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,” he explained. “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 Vigneron, who also attended Immaculate Conception School.

Immaculate Conception Parish

A new maintenance garage for the parish and school was completed in June. Photo courtesy Immaculate Conception Parish

“Our parishioners understand the need to continue our 160-year tradition of stewardship,” said Father Esper. “They embraced the priorities we outlined, and everyone is very pleased to see the priorities being addressed within months of starting the campaign,” he added. 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 Father 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. Father Esper has been pastor at Immaculate Conception since July 2012.

Updated November 2013

 Changing Lives Together at
Immaculate Conception – Anchorville

Pastor: Rev. Joseph Esper
Parish founded: 1853
Registered households: 1,420
Campaign launch: March 2013
Parish Goal: $559,385
Pledged: $507,731

Parish priorities:

  • Church roof replacement
  • Repainting, repairing church interior
  • Renovate main entrance of school
  • Parish activities center enhancements including a stage, sound system, HVAC upgrade, locker rooms