Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 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

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Another mention in the newspaper

This time, in The Detroit Free Press by David Crumm, the religion writer
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070623/COL15/706230312
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Here's a summertime suggestion that costs little and connects with some of Detroit's most impressive cultural gems: Plan a Sunday trip to the city's new RiverWalk or maybe a baseball game, but come early enough to visit a historic, downtown church.
In fact, you can make it a religiously diverse morning by stopping by the new historical marker honoring Chapman Abraham, Detroit's first Jewish resident, at Tri-Centennial State Park just east of the Renaissance Center.
"Our downtown churches are some of the city's real architectural jewels," said the Rev. David Eberhard, pastor of Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, within walking distance of Eastern Market, Comerica Park and the riverfront.
"Here at Historic Trinity, we've got the large stained-glass windows and excellent stone carvings that people appreciate seeing, plus more than 400 wood carvings and Pewabic tiles," Eberhard said. "We have people who come for all of it. They'll eat over at Eastern Market, visit the river and take in a ball game."
Best of all? You can come as you are. You'll find people wearing suits and dresses in downtown churches, but you'll also find casually dressed members and visitors.
The Rev. Carol Cole Flanagan, interim rector at Christ Episcopal Church near the Renaissance Center, said, "If you're wearing T-shirts or other casual clothes, you're welcome here. We have a very diverse congregation, multiracial, multiethnic, and we want people to feel comfortable."
Plus, Christ Church has two Tiffany stained-glass windows that rank among the city's most beautiful jewels.
There are a few religious limitations. For example, non-Catholics cannot fully participate in communion at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, across the street from the Renaissance Center. But visitors are welcome.
To feel completely comfortable, just arrive early for worship and ask an usher a few questions.
Visitors also should realize that the length of services varies. The 8:15 a.m. service at Christ Church is 45 minutes long, but the 10:30 a.m. service at Detroit's oldest African-American congregation, Second Baptist Church in Greektown, can run for more than two hours.
Even the styles of downtown churches vary. On Woodward Avenue, near Comerica Park's entrance, are two churches with gorgeous, historic architecture and entirely different approaches to worship.
On one corner, beside the Fisher Freeway, is St. John's Episcopal Church, which describes itself as traditional and uses a form of liturgy that was published in 1928 and is no longer used in most Episcopal churches in the United States. On the other corner, facing East Adams, is Central United Methodist Church, a church that's famous as a center for political activism and proudly lists labor leader Walter Reuther and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as having spoken from its pulpit.
"You'll find more creativity and diversity in some of our downtown churches than you'll find in neighborhood churches closer to home," Eberhard said. "And here in the city, we don't shut down for the summer. We look for visitors."