St. Anthony Church of Effingham Introduces Capital Campaign for Roof and Steeple Repairs


Published on June 12 2013 11:19 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

St. Anthony of Padua Church has reached 89 percent of its $2.5 million Rise to the Challenge fund drive goal. The multi-million dollar campaign was launched earlier this spring to raise funds to help repair the church’s roof and steeple along with interior repairs caused by water damage. 

Members of the church and community have given $2,220,000 in donations since mid-March for the 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.

“Members of St. Anthony Church and members of the Effingham community have been very generous to Rise to the Challenge,” says Fr. David Hoefler, St. Anthony Pastor. “We have more than $1.4 million in cash donations already in hand which will allow us to begin construction this summer and avoid any further damage to our church home.”  

“We are truly blessed with many faithful members who have been generous in their time, talent, and treasure for more than 150 years,” says Hoefler.

Campaign Co-chairs Kirk and Emily Hartke along with Tom and Connie Wegman believe that it is the parishioners’ responsibility to maintain their church home for their children, future grandchildren, and beyond.

“We have been life-long parishioners of St. Anthony; our children attend St. Anthony and now our grandchildren attend. St. Anthony is our church home.  Just like our own home, the church needs to be maintained by its family.  We are committed to Rise to the Challenge,” says Wegman.

Co-chairs Kirk and Emily Hartke have challenged parishioners to match their annual church offering or better to Rise to the Challenge.  “Rise to the Challenge is for all parishioners,” says Emily Hartke.  “Every parishioner must do his or her part to help maintain our church home.”

“When I came to St. Anthony two years ago one of the first things I noticed when I celebrated my first Mass was the water stains on the ceiling above the choir loft,” explains Hoefler.  “I began working with the parish staff and Finance Council in determining the extent of the water damage.  Earlier this spring, we brought in fwai, architects, inc., and Renaissance Roof, Inc., which have a long-standing reputation of quality work with churches and roofs similar to St. Anthony’s.  They completed an extensive appraisal of the water damage and determined that there was significant damage to the roof and steeple,” says Hoefler.

“We will be 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 bring the roof and steeple back to its original state and extend its life for another 80-100 years,” says Hoefler. “We also have had some problems with the church acoustics, making it difficult for parishioners to hear during Mass. By adding sound absorption panels, everyone should be able to better hear throughout Mass,” adds Hoefler.

“In order to continue to grow our parish, we want to make the cry room a place where families can still participate in Mass while caring for their small children. By enlarging the cry room as well as enhancing better climate control, we believe we can make it more comfortable for our church families to attend Mass with their children,” says Hoefler.

Hoefler noted that funds raised from Rise to the Challenge would also go towards $800,000 in unpaid bills for employee benefits.  “I have been working with the parish Finance Council to reduce expenditures, increase income and balance the budget, which is never an easy task. All of these efforts will allow St. Anthony Church and Schools to move forward with a balanced budget, leading us to fiscal responsibility, and a more transparent budgeting process,” 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.