Effingham St. Anthony of Padua Parish Raises $2.5 Million for Roof and Steeple Repairs


Published on July 15 2013 1:27 pm
Last Updated on July 15 2013 1:27 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

In a short time span of just four months, members of St. Anthony of Padua Church reached their goal of raising $2.5 million to help repair the church’s roof and steeple along with interior repairs caused by water damage.

A total of $2,531,763 has been donated to the multi-year Rise to the Challenge campaign, launched last spring. The donations will be used for the roof and steeple repairs along with fixing the church acoustics and enhancing and enlarging the church cry room as well as paying $800,000 in unpaid bills for employee benefits.

“Our volunteers challenged their fellow St. Anthony Parishioners to “Rise to the Challenge,” and they did it,” says Fr. David Hoefler, St. Anthony Pastor. “God truly has blessed our parish with some of the most generous and devoted families. Their generosity will allow us to begin construction this summer and avoid any further damage to our church home.”  

Fr. Hoefler said he believes that the church has not yet heard from all of its parish members. “We believe more parishioners are still planning to make a gift to Rise to the Challenge.  Any additional gifts will help us complete the cry room and install new front doors to the church.  These were not originally identified in our project estimate.  We are hoping to cover that cost with our contingency of the project.  However, that will not allow for any overruns or unexpected expenses,” says Hoefler.

Campaign Co-chairs Kirk and Emily Hartke along with Tom and Connie Wegman are pleased with the generosity of their fellow parishioners. “Our St. Anthony Church family continues to accept their responsibility of maintaining their church home for their children, future grandchildren, and beyond,” says Tom Wegman. “As Fr. Hoefler indicated, we pray our parishioners who have not yet responded will support the campaign and give us the additional cushion we need to complete our building project.”

“Whether it is refreshments for a school activity, planning the Parish picnic or making a financial commitment over a three-year period to repair the church roof and steeple, we have been fortunate that we can count on our parishioners’ support,” added Kirk Hartke.

The Wegmans and Hartkes said they were grateful for not only the financial generosity of members of St. Anthony Parish, but also for the countless hours volunteers and staff devoted to the fund drive.  “We had an amazing steering committee.  Our volunteers spent many hours making sure that each member of our parish was invited to support Rise to the Challenge,” says Hartke.  “We are grateful to each volunteer who took time to ensure that we reached our goal. Because of their commitment to the church and as a member of the Rise to the Challenge team, we can begin repairs to the church this summer,” added Hartke.

Hoefler said that some masonry work was completed earlier this month.  “The masons began repairing the masonry earlier this month, and will be back later this summer to complete their work.”  “This spring and summer’s weather has certainly tested our damaged steeple and roof.  We are anxious to begin construction before any further water damage occurs,” says Hoefler. “We have worked with fwai, architects, inc., and Renaissance Roof, Inc., in developing a construction timeline that will complete most of the outside repair work by fall,” added Hoefler.

Hoefler explained that once construction is completed, the community will notice significant changes in the church roof and steeple. “We are replacing the shingle roof with a slate tile roof which is better suited for the existing structure and replacing worn-out copper on the steeple with new copper.  It will take several years for the copper to patina to the green color that most people associate with copper,” says Hoefler.

For more information on Rise to the Challenge, contact Rev. David Hoefler or Carrie Koenig, Director of Resources, Marketing, and Development, at the St. Anthony Parish Office, (217) 347-7129.