Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A weekday in the life of a downtown Anglo-Catholic Priest

So what does a weekday in the life of an Anglo-Catholic Priest, one in a downtown parish, look like. Well, they vary, obviously. Today has been very interesting already. After the early morning at home with Morning Prayer, Exercise, making breakfast for the family, etc., my "workday" began at 9am at someone's house making funeral arrangements for a parishioner dying of Pancratic Cancer. The couple doing the planning are not parishioners here, (the women with the cancer is) but have some connection to the parish 60 years ago when she was confirmed here. In addition to the talk of funeral arrangements, we also discuss St. John's then and now, as well as their current church membership.

After the meeting I drive down to the Church (about 20 minutes away), dash into the office long enough to put on my cassock, surplice, stole and biretta, and run across the street to the Fox Theatre. There, along with the neighboring Roman Priest, we bless the camels, sheep and donkey that will be in the Rockettes Christmas Show starting tonight and running until December 23rd. It is an opportunity for the show to get free PR (two TV stations were there, as well as several newspapers), and I get to do a little talk about St. Francis and the wonder of THE SON OF GOD becoming a child, born in a manger, for our salvation. (I am the priest closest to the camel - the other priest is Fr. Mark Borkowski of Sweetest Heart of Mary RC Parish www.sweetestheartofmary.org)

At 11am back into the office to return phone calls, answer emails, make appointments to see shut-ins, and to set up for Mass. After the 12:15pm Mass (an Advent Ferial Day), I will go (D.v.) and visit several shut-ins and if I have time I will run to Roll-Call at the local police precinct where I am a chaplain. The "workday" ends with Evening Prayer at 5pm in the Chapel.

Some days are busier, others not so much. Diocesan, Deanery, and various local foundation board and local ecumenical church meetings join the rota occasionally, as well as hospital calling. In the office there are bulletins to contribute to and go over, the newsletter to write (monthly and usually at home) and planning for upcoming events/services. Some counseling is done in the office, if not at the person's home. Occasionally there are evening responsibilities such as Vestry Meetings, Cathedral Chapter Meetings, and wedding preparation. While in the office we also have people who come to the door, what a priest in Philadelphia called Royal visitors "sent by the King", who have varying needs they are requesting aid for. All get prayed with and most referred to local agencies that can help. Those we can help directly (rides, paying for co-pay on prescriptions through an arrangement with a local pharmacy, etc) we do so without handing out cash, which we rarely have around the office anyway. Discernment in these cases between those in genuine need and those scamming or supporting a habit can be a tough task.

This life is busy and varied, but it is rarely dull! All to the Greater Glory of God!