December 10, 2013

St. Clair Shores parish gains new sense of fellowship, stewardship through Changing Lives Together

St. Margaret of Scotland Parish

“When I saw those words on the door of St. Margaret of Scotland and felt a warm welcome from your members, I truly felt like I had found a church home,” wrote a visitor, now a parishioner at St. Margaret in St. Clair Shores. “I do not have to look any longer. I am home. I want to join and become involved. I want to be part of this place and these people.” Photo courtesy of St. Margaret of Scotland Parish

Rev. Ronald DeHondt

Rev. Ronald DeHondt has been pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland in St. Clair Shores since 2003, and led the parish in a successful Changing Lives Together campaign that began in 2011. Photo courtesy of St. Margaret of Scotland Parish

Parishioners at St. Margaret of Scotland  in St. Clair Shores have a new parking lot and may soon be witnessing other church improvements thanks to a successful Changing Lives Together campaign that started in 2011. The parking lot was replaced earlier this year, and parish leaders are considering a window replacement project as funds become available from parishioners fulfilling their pledges to the parish campaign. “We are very fortunate that we’re debt-free and have no other major building needs,” said Rev. Ronald DeHondt, pastor of the Macomb County parish since 2003. “We’re now looking at repairs and upgrades to save energy and lower our utility bills,” he added.

James Wietecha and Ron Willette

James Wietecha and Ron Willette led the Changing Lives Together campaign leadership team at St. Margaret. Photo courtesy of St. Margaret of Scotland Parish

Father DeHondt credits the lay leadership team at St. Margaret and the reflexive generosity of parishioners for a campaign that exceeded archdiocesan expectations. “Our people were appreciative of the plan and priorities articulated through Changing Lives Together,” he explained. “The fact that we began and based everything in prayer was additionally important.”

Permanent Deacon Ron Channell and his wife Nancy coordinated a parish prayer team and organized parishioner-to-parishioner phone calls seeking intentions and welcoming all to get more involved in parish life. “The phone calls were well received, especially by the home-bound,” recalled Father DeHondt. Intentions gathered from the phone calls were shared with the parish prayer team. “The phone calls didn’t ask for money,” said Father DeHondt. “We asked folks if they needed prayer or help,” he added. “That gave our campaign a good spiritual basis.”

Saint Anne commemorative

Father DeHondt recently added this framed image of St. Anne, Patroness of the Detroit Archdiocese, to the entrance of St. Margaret church. The image, provided to all parishes participating in Changing Lives Together, is a photo of stained glass from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit, and depicts St. Anne teaching scripture to her daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary. “It’s a nice expression of thanks to our parish and others who were part of this effort,” said Father DeHondt. “Our parishioners are noticing this addition to our entrance and we’ll add a commemorative plaque to it in the near future.”

Contributions of prayer, involvement, and financial commitments established a broad sense of ownership at St. Margaret. “The response of people was great, especially considering the challenging economic times we’re in,” Father DeHondt explained. “The best outcome has been the fellowship and stewardship resulting from the campaign. Parishioners old and new feel a part of it, and they appreciate seeing the results so soon. There’s a real appreciation that we did this together and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without Changing Lives Together coming along at just the right time,” he concluded.

The campaign continues at St. Margaret where new parishioners are provided information on Changing Lives Together and asked to get involved.

Updated December 2013

 Changing Lives Together at
St. Margaret of Scotland

Pastor: Rev. Ronald DeHondt
Parish founded: 1956
Registered households: 2,171
Campaign launch: August 2011
Archdiocesan target: $630,257
Parish Goal: $990,000
Pledged: $569,779

Parish priorities:

  • New parking lot
  • Window replacement
  • Roof repairs
  • Building maintenance