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Living Into Our Welcoming Statement

Though surveys and interviews, these are the projects that you selected to remove barriers, improve comfort and create a building that truly welcomes all:

In the coming months we will continue to develop our plans for a vibrant and updated facility in greater detail. At this point we are estimating the cost of the accessibility project to be approximately $940,000, the hospitality project to be $760,000, and the structural security project to be $100,000 for a total of $1.8 million dollars.  This is the shared vision for the future of our facility, and with your support, we hope to be able to complete all three projects and begin St. John’s second century with a home that truly reflects our mission.


A central tenet of St. John’s is the phrase “everyone is welcome, everyone belongs.” Our welcome statement affirms our deep commitment to embrace all those who arrive in this place to participate in our community, but our building does not currently support that aspect of our mission. The current entrance from our parking lot conveys to those with mobility challenges that their ability to access our building is unimportant. Parishioners and visitors to St. John’s must navigate heavy doors, then steps, sometimes going up to go down. The hundreds of people who come to the New to You Shop, Open Hands Food Pantry, recovery groups and other meetings during the week and in the evenings do not have access to the elevator. The current elevator is largely out of sight, and most importantly, it is not adjacent to the parking lot and largely only accessible on Sunday mornings.


The centerpiece of the capital campaign vision is a reconfiguration of our entry way and main office floor to ensure that everyone, regardless of physical ability, can literally and figuratively enter our community and feel truly welcomed, valued and embraced. 


View of the new entrance vestibule from the parking lot.

First, our plan includes a significant new entry vestibule on the east side of the building where most people enter from the parking lot. This new addition will create an exciting and gracious threshold into our space, designed to be identifiable as “St. John’s” with a cruciform roof that mimics the sanctuary and will act as an iconic beacon of welcome. Most importantly, the vestibule will contain a new elevator so all can enter the building from the parking lot and make their way up to the main/office level or down to the “Open Hands” level below.


View of the new entrance vestibule from 11 Mile.


View of the new entrance vestibule from the parking lot.

From the east entrance, turning our attention to the interior, once you arrive at the main office level, the plan includes reconfiguration of the hallway and the area where we currently find the youth minister’s office, choir room, deacon’s office, and cry room. In this area we are proposing a new open space where we can welcome everyone into our home with grace.


This multi-purpose space will serve as a hub for important social gatherings, especially before and after services, and will provide new meeting spaces with views to our wonderful courtyard. 

View of the new open community space that includes windows to view the courtyard.

Families with children will easily find the nursery right away with visual connection to the sanctuary for peace of mind. In addition, other changes will provide more light and a better line-of-sight to the narthex, and more flexible use of the library.


View of the new open community space that includes a new coffee space.


In total, this new configuration will enable us to accommodate five group meetings at any time on the main office level.

View of the new open community space (from the current choir room location, looking back toward the library)

Lower lever improvements will include a new unisex bathroom, new robing room for the choir, acolytes, and clergy, and an enhanced pathway from the new elevator location to the existing elevator and Jatho Hall. We will also add a new handicap accessible drop-off area off Woodward Avenue, which will be sloped to arrive adjacent to and at the same level as the narthex. 



Truly welcoming all who enter our building is not limited to mobility issues. In the changing Michigan weather, the ability to control internal air temperature is essential to creating a comfortable and safe environment for all who enter the building, and all who hope to participate fully in the life of the parish and our many community events. During the summer months some parishioners are not able to attend worship services due to the lack of air conditioning, and scheduling activities and meetings of all types during hot weather is a major challenge.  The extreme fluctuations in temperature in the sanctuary are also a threat to the pipe organ.  At the same time, we need to address the legacy of an outdated and inefficient boiler.  The boiler, which is original to the sanctuary construction in 1958, is well past its useful life, is inefficient and unreliable, and in recent years has been very costly to maintain and repair.

The goal of the Hospitality Project is to install a new heating and cooling system to provide much more efficient, reliable and consistent comfort. What is proposed is a new gas fired heat-pump system that will vastly increase the efficiency of the entire system during heating seasons.  It also gives us the opportunity, with the same centralized system, to provide very cost effective cooling in the sanctuary, the chapel, and Jatho Hall. This new central plant will also give us the foundation to potentially provide cooling to other areas of the building in the future.


View of the new entrance vestibule from the parking lot.  

Structural Security

The goal of the Structural Security Project is to provide a safe, secure, and structurally sound facility. This speaks to our obligation to honor and preserve our century-long presence in the community and our desire to serve as a resource for groups inside St. John’s and those in our wider community well into the next century.


The primary structural asset in need of attention is the roof. Actually referring to “the roof” is a bit misleading - the church is comprised of several different buildings with a variety of roof types and configurations. Some of these areas are in poor shape and/or are nearing the end of their life span.  A recent analysis of the roofs indicates that many areas of roofing need immediate repairs, and a few areas, such as the chapel, need to be replaced.  Replacement of the sanctuary roof is not considered to be urgent.


After considering input from the congregation-wide feasibility study and thoughtful discernment about balancing the need for this project along with others, an option that addresses the most urgent work but does not replace any major roof sections at this time has been selected.  The project will address all urgent and remedial work needed to repair and/or replace damaged roof sections throughout the full building complex. This project will address deferred maintenance and ensure a consistent level of repair for the facility in the short term and should alleviate the need for major repairs for the next few years. While roof repairs will always be an ongoing fact of life, this project is expected to extend the life of the roofs by approximately 10 years.

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For more information contact:

Marie Donigan, Capital Campaign Co-Chair

 (248) 505-2195

Will Wittig, Capital Campaign Co-Chair

248-506-6781 (Please leave a message)

Structural Security
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