Work to restore church

Work to restore church

Clarkston News Staff Writer

The original Sashabaw Presbyterian Church, a pre-Civil War registered historic building, will soon be undergoing restoration through a partnership between the church and Clarkston school’s new construction technology program.
“We’ve been approached by the new construction technology class and they want to use it as their project to teach, so they will be having classes in there and then doing restoration work on the building, coordinated with the church,” said Reverend Laura Sias-Lee, the church’s pastor.
The new Sashabaw Presbyterian Church is currently located across the street from the original. Sias-Lee said they hope to use the restored building for community events such as weddings, concerts, recitals, funerals, etc.
“We want it to be everybody’s building, that’s what the church wants, it’s there to serve the community, and that’s what it originally was, it was a hub in the area,” she added.
Located at 5331 Maybee Road, the original church was last used for storage and has fallen in to disrepair due to natural occurrences as well as vandalism.
Construction Technology teacher Jeff Peariso said Ace Hardware donated wood to help cover up the windows and stop vandals from breaking in.
“We started by closing it up so people quit breaking into it, kind of cleaning up around the ramp and replacing some boards on the outside,” he said. “We’re trying to get it all buttoned up, so in the spring we can actually get started on it.”
Sias-Lee said several people have reached out about helping the restoration efforts. She said the best way to help currently is to make a donation.
“Beyond building materials and those kinds of things there are a lot of additional expenses that go into even just having the building open and people in it in the winter time,” she said, adding the school is looking for donated materials, such as windows and an industrial dumpster.
“In the spring, we’ll start working on certain things on the outside of the church and we’ve started by contacting a few people in the community that actually restore those glass windows and they’re willing to come out and show our kids how to re-glaze that glass,” Peariso said.
The church and school district hope to have a kick-off event for the restoration sometime in the fall, so the community can see how the building looks now.
“The before and after pictures are going to be outstanding, it does not look anything like a church in there right now,” Sias-Lee said. “It’s going to be glorious when it’s done, but it’s going to be a long process.”
Peariso estimated the restoration will be at least a two or three-year project for the class.
“We got ninth grade and tenth grade now, next year we’ll have some of them come back that will be in eleventh grade and, because they’ll have more knowledge, we’ll be able to take them over right away and start working in the fall next year,” he said.
Sias-Lee encourages community members to contact the church if they have any pictures of the historic building when it was still in use as a church.
“The teachers who are in charge of the program want to restore the building to its original look, so when it’s done it will look like it did in the 1800’s,” she said.
For more information or to donate, email For updates on the restoration check out the church’s website or Facebook page at Sashabaw Presbyterian Church – USA.

2 Responses to "Work to restore church"

  1. Jeanette (Norton)Cowdrey   September 23, 2017 at 9:00 am

    I am very happy to hear of this restoration.Wish I still had pictures of it. This is the church where at 5 years old,I accepted the Lord and asked Jesus into my heart.I truly wish I could send a donation but unfortunately I don’t have it to give. I will give my prayers that God will cause those who can to donate the necessary needs. Hope I get to see it when it is finished.

  2. Averil Hepler   September 23, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Dear Jessica Steeley, my name is Averil Hepler. I am very interested in helping restore the Presbyterian Church. Intact before I read your article I was thinking about restoring it myself I wanted to make it like a one room school house again. After kids got out of school a bus would take them from school and ride over to Presbyterian Church. There would be fun activities over the weekend, church if kids attend. Mostly a fun comfortable place for kids to hang out after school. But I didn’t know how the money situation would work.

    Right now I’m almost 14, I’ve been going to Clarkston Community Schools all my life. I always thought of ways the Community could become a friendly place. I know Clarkston Community Schools haven’t been the best in money. But all my life I wanted to become an art teacher at SMS, possibly a graphic designer at CJHS.

    Thinking about this whole situation with the money I was thinking of the Church to become a bakery, or a library. But looking back at the situation with the Clatkston Community Library, having a vote to raise taxes to keep it open. I’m sure no one would want to pay even more taxes to restore the Presbyterian Church, and keep it up and running.

    I was looking up history on the Presbyterian Church, and when I found your article I was all in all for helping the Presbyterian Church.
    I could try and get a club started at CJHS, but I can’t be certain I would be glad to fix it up. I can help over the summer most likely. I have Basketball and I want to do track in spring.

    Thank you. Averil Hepler


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