Church hopes to repair steeple
ESCANABA — A local church is asking for financial help from the public as it undertakes a large-scale project to repair its century-old building.
“We are looking for donations to help restore Bethany (Lutheran) Church,” Janitor Dave Moran said.
Moran is a member of the church’s building committee, which is overseeing the project.
The project’s focus is on repairs to the steeple and parapets of Bethany’s church building, which was constructed in 1912. While the steeple was reshingled in 1960, it has since gotten to a point where it once again needs attention.
“We have major leaking coming through the walls because the parapets and steeple have deteriorated after this many years,” Moran said.
The project will replace coping on Bethany’s parapets, the steeple’s shingles and metalwork on and around the steeple. The steeple’s new shingles will be made of metal.
Bethany requested quotes from various companies — including some in the area — for the project; however, none of these companies expressed interest. Eventually, the church contacted Litchfield, Ohio-based company CIS Steeplejack, which specializes in this type of work.
“They’ve been doing it for over 25 years,” Moran said.
The company is set to begin its work on Bethany’s building in August.
According to Moran, CIS Steeplejack will back up its work on the project for decades after the fact.
“The work that’s going to be done is going to have a 50-plus-year warranty on it,” he said.
The total cost of CIS Steeplejack’s work is expected to be $228,000. Because of this, Moran said Bethany started a fundraising campaign in mid-May.
“We’ve raised $27,000 so far,” he said, noting he felt the campaign was going very well.
The church has also received a commitment from an anonymous donor for $40,000.
A model of Bethany’s steeple has been set up in the church’s narthex to show the progress of donations. Each “shingle” added to the model represents another $1,500 donated to the campaign.
As Bethany’s building has historical significance in the community, Moran said he believes people outside of the church may be interested in donating to the campaign.
“We’re trying to restore what is a landmark in Escanaba,” he said.
Donations to the campaign can be mailed to Bethany at 202 S. 11th St., Escanaba, MI 49829. Donors planning to make contributions by mail are asked to indicate their donations are meant to go towards the steeple project.