For 160 years, it was a sacred place where people prayed, got married, baptized babies, mourned deaths and enjoyed the fellowship of their neighbors.
Now, it’s a real estate listing.
The former Lakeville United Methodist Church (UMC) building, dedicated in 1856 and located at 1422 Milmine Rd., is for sale and the asking price is $240,000.
Sitting on a 0.33-acre lot zoned residential, the building contains a total of nearly 6,000 square feet that’s divided almost equally between the main floor and finished walkout basement, according to www.cindykhomes.com, the website for the listing agent, Cynthia Kozlowski, of RE/MAX Defined in Rochester.
It has a fully functional kitchen on the main floor along with stained glass windows and a close proximity to Lakeville Lake.
The church closed last year. Its congregation was small, aging and no longer growing. Worship attendance had declined. Looking toward the future, a determination was made that it was “no longer financially viable” to keep the doors open, according to a Dec. 5 email from Rev. Elizabeth Hill, superintendent of the Blue Water District of the Detroit Annual Conference of the UMC.
The final service was held Nov. 27.
Joan Trevaskis said she and some other former church members are looking into the feasibility of buying the building and potentially using it to house a new Lakeville Community Church, which currently exists in name only.
Money is the main issue.
“We’re going to try to get a meeting together to see what we can afford and what kind of financial commitments we’ve got,” Trevaskis said. “I’m in the process of making calls to see who’s still available that hasn’t (found a new church), who is interested and who can financially help us.”
“None of us are filthy rich. It’s time we sat down and looked at the numbers seriously and said, ‘Okay, either we’re in or we’re out,’” she noted.
Ideally, she said they would like to purchase both the church building and the former parsonage, which is listed separately.
Located at 409 Main St. in Lakeville on a 0.62-acre lot zoned residential, the former parsonage is a two-story colonial home built in 1930. It contains a total of 2,393 square feet of space, including a Michigan basement.
The kitchen and two full bathrooms were remodeled in 2002 and new wiring was installed that same year. A new roof was put on in 2001. It has a two-car garage.
The asking price for the former parsonage is $167,000.
Combined, the properties cost $407,000.
Trevaskis is hoping the United Methodist Church would be willing to give the former members some sort of “package deal” to buy both.
“We’re interested, but we can’t afford $400,000,” she said. “It’s got to be less than $400,000 . . . Realistically, we need to see whether it’s even possible and how much we can afford to pay.”
Trevaskis said there’s also been some discussion about perhaps turning the former parsonage into “a temporary church.”
“We still have no place to meet,” she noted.
Trevaskis is hoping to find additional support from outside the former Lakeville UMC membership circle.
“Anybody out there in the community who is interested in helping us resurrect (the church), they can give me a call,” she said. “We’d like to talk to them, see what ideas they have and how they can help us.”
Trevaskis can be reached at (248) 505-2859.
Addison Township Supervisor Bruce Pearson hopes the Milmine Rd. building can be preserved and continue on as a church.
“I think it’s something that we should save,” he said. “You know how I am about historical stuff. We don’t have that many historical buildings and places left anymore.”
“I would love it if the community would come together and make it a community church, and keep that church going,” continued Pearson, who noted so many generations of families are tied to that old building through weddings, christenings and funerals.
“I’m just afraid somebody else is going to buy it and who knows what they’ll turn it into.”