December 14, 2015
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Macomb County parish continues ten-year legacy of growth, facility improvements

Since 2006, Father Essman and parish lay leaders have steadily completed projects to update and upgrade the buildings and grounds at St. Paul of Tarsus. The parking lot will be replaced next spring.

Since 2006, Father Essman and parish lay leaders have steadily completed projects to update and upgrade the buildings and grounds at St. Paul of Tarsus. The parking lot will be replaced next spring.

Debt-free and adding up to fifteen new parishioners each month, St. Paul of Tarsus Parish in Macomb County’s Clinton Township continues to follow a plan first detailed in 2006 to steadily improve parish facilities. The parish Changing Lives Together campaign has funded worship space renovations, replaced outdating lighting in the church gathering space, and will enable a $375,000 parking lot replacement project in the spring to include new light towers and LED illumination.

Rev. Ron Essman, pastor of St. Paul of Tarsus since 2003, said he realized they faced serious building problems in July of that year when he was celebrating his first wedding Mass at the parish. “A heavy rainstorm caused water to gush into the church through the outer walls and our copper-encased towers,” he recalled. “We decided to create a master facilities plan for St. Paul, prioritize the repairs and improvements, tackling them all without going into debt.”

Pastor of St. Paul of Tarsus parish since June 2003, Rev. Ron Essman was recently reassigned by Detroit Archbishop Vigneron to lead the Clinton Township parish for another six years.

Pastor of St. Paul of Tarsus parish since June 2003, Rev. Ron Essman was recently reassigned by Detroit Archbishop Vigneron to lead the Clinton Township parish for another six years.

In the following years, the parish completed several facility improvements including replacing the church roof, expanding and adding new offices, and establishing a new food pantry now open three days per week to provide assistance to needy in the area.

Nearly 700 parishioner pledges to Changing Lives Together have continued the momentum, including work now underway to relocate six stained glass windows previously located behind the altar to a more aesthetically pleasing location in the worship space. Paneling is now being placed behind the altar, improving upon church building renovations started about seven years ago.

Before launching Changing Lives Together, Father Essman and parish lay leaders held a series of town hall meetings to detail the plans for parishioners. “They really embraced what we proposed and started making pledges right away, which was especially gratifying because St. Paul has always done well with our weekly offertory and the annual Catholic Services Appeal. We didn’t experience any drop off in parishioner giving or support, meaning our people did not sacrifice one obligation for another.” Writing in the recent Thanksgiving weekend parish bulletin, Father Essman stated, “All of these projects, and a few more for next year, 2016, are possible because of you, so many good and most generous parishioners who help support the parish in your weekly offering. Thank you so much.”

In the years ahead, Father Essman hopes to complete the parish master plan with the construction of a new, larger gathering space as well as a daily Mass chapel.

 Changing Lives Together at
St. Paul of Tarsus

Pastor: Rev. Ron Essman
Parish founded: 1984
Registered households: 2,882
Campaign launch: Spring 2013
Goal: $925,172
Pledged: $654,615

 

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