Clarkston Junior High School Construction Tech students and Sashabaw Presbyterian members are working to restore the 163-year-old church.
BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
Visitors’ vehicles filled the lawn next to the historic Sashabaw Presbyterian Church during its open house, June 23, showing restoration work and seeking support.
For the David W. Elliott Memorial Foundation of Clarkston, the presentation by Pastor Laura Sias-Lee inspired a new $2,500 grant.
“The funds are to help renovate the historic building and provide enhanced security,” said Henry Woloson, foundation board president.
The foundation previously provided $10,000 in grants to the Clarkston Schools Construction Tech Program, which is assisting in the renovation of the historic church, Woloson said.
Sashabaw Presbyterian was founded in 1841, and they built their church building at 5331 Maybee Road in 1855.
Church members and the construction tech students are restoring the old church for use as a community center. Work started last November and Sias-Lee hosted the ice cream social to show the community their progress so far.
“It’s been very busy. I’m really happy with it,” Sias-Lee said. “We prayed for nice weather and we got it, except for some rain at 5 o’clock.”
The church constructed a new building across the street in the 1960s. After that, the old “Century Building” continued to be used, serving as “Independence House,” a self-help center providing counseling, meeting space for groups such as Boy Scouts, food pantry, and teen center. Lighthouse North started in the old church and continued there for 10 years.
Since then, however, the church fell into disuse and disrepair, suffering several cases of vandalism in recent years. In spring 2017, 50 students signed up for the construction tech program, which began last fall. Work over the winter and spring included repairing a handicap ramp, boarding up broken windows, and interior restoration on the main floor and in the basement.
Sashabaw Presbyterian’s goals include making the building available for members of the Clarkston community for education, arts, concerts, recitals and other uses, Sias-Lee said. For more information or make a donation, email sashabawpresbyterianchurch@ gmail.com.