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

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ministering to the poor in Jesus' name

I wanted to say a hearty DEO GRATIAS all the volunteers who helped with the One Night Initiative temporary shelter at St. John's last night/this morning. We hosted 18 guests, feeding them spaghetti with meat sauce/bread and salad, offered them the opportunity to shower, and a warm safe bed for the night. In the morning they had eggs, pancakes and sausage for breakfast, offered a change of clothes (jackets, pants, shirts, underwear, socks, hats and gloves) and everyone received a toiletry kit (toothbrush/paste, soap, deoderant, etc.). As they left they were given an ample two-bag lunch packed by the ECW.

I couldn't begin to name all the volunteers (as always happens at St. John's, we had more volunteers than even signed up!), but I do want to mention just a few. First, thank you to Tristan Williams for his coordination of the project. Tristan spent the entire night at the church with our guests! Also, thank you to all who brought in clothes, bedstuff, etc. A special thank you goes out to Carolyn Ricca and her sister Ann Thompson who went from thrift shop to thrift shop and even a trip to KMart to make sure we would have enough clothes, sheets, pillows, and blankets for the night! And thank you to the many Brothers Andrew who stepped up and volunteered, and to the ECW for their contributions of toiletries and the bag-lunches!

We had one special visitor at dinner; former city council member and now special counsel to the Mayor, Sharon McPhail. Her office started this program 6 years ago, asking the churches in Detroit to host a night or two in the winter. Now that she is no longer on council she has volunteers helping to coordinate the program. She was very grateful for our help, and impressed by our facilities and hospitality. We are hosting another night in May, and I promised I would send a note to the editor of the Diocesan Newspaper to see if we can get some promotion to encourage all the Detroit ECUSA parishes to contribute to the effort next year!Serving others in Jesus' name is at the heart of Christian ministry, and it is edifying to see the people of St. John's doing ministry such as this (and our feeding ministry to the Police last month) as we reach out beyound ourselves to others.

I thank God for the opportunity to be a part of what He is doing in this place!