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

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yesterday's Horse Therapy

As a member of the Motor City Horse Force (aka - Restore the Horse Foundation), it was great to be at the graduation of of the newest Mounted Academy Class for the Wayne County Sheriff's Department Mounted Unit. 6 new Mounted Officers! It was great seeing the officers in attendance, the Sheriff, and various members of the Horse Force.

The Foundation can be found at http://www.motorcityhorseforce.org/

Robert Raisch (AKA - General Raisch - he is a retired USMC Brig. General) is the President of the foundation and a member of St. John's. He is mentioned in the article below from today's Free Press.


At a time when most law enforcement agencies around the country have reduced or eliminated their mounted patrols because of tight budgets and an unstable economy, Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans is expanding.
Six newly trained and certified officers graduated Tuesday from the Mounted Police Training Academy on Tuesday, where they underwent 320 grueling hours of volunteer equestrian training over several months in addition to their normal eight-hour shifts. The five deputies and one commander received their sabers at a ceremony at the Michigan State Fairgrounds' Hertel Coliseum.
They join the last full-time mounted patrol unit in Michigan, which has grown from five to 14 horses in the past year and from five certified officers to the now 19 certified officers -- including Sheriff Evans.
How does a unit -- primarily used for patrolling Edward Hines Park, participating in parades, and controlling crowds for major events like the Target Fireworks display and the recent Detroit Red Wings championship parade in Detroit -- continue to operate and grow in these tough economic times?
For starters, the unit's existence is designated as a county parks patrol mandated by the county charter. The unit's annual budget of about $250,000 for full-time officers and costs for the care and transport of the horses comes from the parks budget and not the county's general fund. Because officers undergoing the training volunteer, there is no training cost to the county.
"I would not make the argument that the county needs to fund it," Evans, who owns two horses himself, said of the mounted patrol unit. "We have to find new and inventive ways to creatively pay for it."
Some of the funding for the mounted patrol comes in the form of private donations from the Detroit-based nonprofit Restore the Horse Foundation, known as the Motor City Horse Force. The foundation recently donated a heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado it received from General Motors Corp. to the unit along with a trailer that can transport six of the unit's horses.
"It takes private money and citizen concern to keep the thing we value the most," Robert Raisch, president of Restore the Horse Foundation, said about the cost and need for mounted units in large U.S. cities like Detroit.
Money also is raised through two fund-raisers each year that add more than $20,000 to the unit's budget.
At Tuesday's graduation ceremony, Evans, who helped start the unit in 1978, said he had "tremendous, tremendous pride" in the unit, which patrols the 4,000-acre Edward Hines Park.
"They are all ready to go, ready to ride," he said.
Deputy Kristyn Thompson-Montgomery, a 10-year veteran with the department, was the only woman among the six graduates. She received the "Most Improved" honor after Evans said she took a significant fall at the beginning of her training.
"Getting mounted was something new and something exciting for me," said Thompson-Montgomery, 46. "In this class I'm the only woman and it's great finishing something like this."


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sharing a picture

This is from the gathering of bishops at the GAFCON in Jerusalem! Awesome. I remember a bishop once telling me that his impression of a Lambeth Conference is that the only thing holding the Anglican Communion together is the finery from Wippells (an English Church goods company). If you look closely, however, you see a variety of clothing: low church rochet to high church cassock and biretta. A few seem to be in suits. Perhaps not everyone got the memo on what to wear.....

This location is on the Mount of Olives overlooking the old city of Jerusalem. Every tourist group coming to the Holy Land gets their photo taken at the spot.

If you click on the photo to enlarge it, Bishop Keith Ackerman of Quincy (my bishop protector) is second from the left in full High Church apparel!
The second photo of the post originally published has been removed from the site by the host, so I have edited the story on 1 July 2008


Friday, June 20, 2008

Speaking of fireworks....

There is a great photo in today's Local section of the Detroit Free Press, which was actually taken at the fireworks in 2002. Although the fireworks themselves are the main draw, note the well lit St. John's Bell tower in the foreground!


Be prepared....the Anglican Communion (of which the Episcopal Church, therefore St. John's is a part) is about to become big news as a ground of traditionalist Bishops, Priests, and Laity gather in Jerusalem to discuss the future of our Communion in light of the apostacy of national churches concerning biblical truth. In less than a month the every 10 year formal gathering of the worldwide Anglican bishops, The Lambeth Conference, convenes in England.

Here is some info on GAFCON. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for the Episcopal Church and our Worldwide Anglican Communion!

From the Church of Uganda
What is GAFCON?
GAFCON is the Global Anglican Future Conference (www.gafcon.org) being held in Jerusalem from 22nd – 29th June 2008.
There are three purposes:
1. To provide an opportunity for fellowship as well as to continue to experience and proclaim the transforming love of Jesus Christ
2. To develop a renewed understanding of our identity as Anglican Christians.
3. To prepare for an Anglican future in which the Gospel is uncompromised and Christ-centred mission is a top priority.
Who is organizing GAFCON?
GAFCON was conceived by the Anglican Archbishops of Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, the Southern Cone (South America), and Sydney (Australia). Evangelical Anglican Bishops from the UK and the USA were also involved in its organization.
How many people will participate in GAFCON?
More than 1,000 people have registered for GAFCON, including more than 280 Bishops, their wives, clergy and non-ordained church leaders. One hundred and seven (107) people from Uganda will be going, including 34 Bishops.
Why is GAFCON being held in Jerusalem?
GAFCON is essentially a pilgrimage. We are going back to the roots of our faith, to the place where Jesus was born, lived, died, and was raised from the dead.
How is GAFCON different from Lambeth?
The Lambeth Conference of Bishops is held every ten years and will be held this coming July at the University of Kent in England. The Archbishop of Canterbury convenes the Lambeth Conference and invites Bishops and their spouses from all provinces of the Anglican Communion. The purpose of Lambeth is to provide Bishops with an opportunity for worship, study, and conversation about matters that affect the Anglican Communion.
GAFCON is different because it includes clergy and non-ordained leaders from the church. GAFCON is the first of its kind and is a one-time event. It is, therefore, not an alternative to Lambeth.

The Official Study Document for the Conference can be found at
and downloaded for free. It is 102 pages with endnotes. As of this writing the Curate and Rector of St. John's are reading it.
The meetings will also be live-streamed on the www.gafcon.org


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Andrew was not asked to join the new Tournament team, after playing with them since January.

We had been preparing him for the reality that this might happen, and he seems to be taking it pretty well. The manager called today and spoke with Andrew, and then Jennifer. Although he gave some reasons as to why Andrew was not chosen, the phrase "my hands were tied" concerning a vote by the other LL managers doesn't mesh with what the website says - that the managers' vote was only advisory. But I know that there are a lot of forces at play in choices of these teams.

I guess I am just being a protective parent for Andrew. No one wants their kid denied an opportunity (which I and others thought he deserved) based not on his effort, skill, and sportsmanship, but on personality and other maneuverings.

So we will play Second Season beginning in July, and look into some camps for all three boys in Fall/Winter.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Getting to The List

Last week I took Weds and Thursday off (in addition to my Friday and Saturday) to get around to that list of things we have been doing around the house.

And we accomplished all of it!

Took down shutters, repaired, painted, re-installed (I am always nervous on the roof)

Old color - pale blue, new color - black (see photos)

Painted front door, put on new locks (black instead of brass), painted mail slot hardware.

Old color - pale blue, new color - red (see photo)

Painted side door in garage.

Put new lighting up on outside of garage and side door.

Replaced wiggling socket in boys room.

Cut grass



Trimmed hedges (we have lots)

Cleaned gutters (YUCK).
This in addition to baseball games, regular inside chores, etc.
It sure is nice to have this sense of accomplishment!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Some photos of Sam pitching

Earlier in the season Sam pitched the first pitch at the new Little League field at Pierce Middle School.

Here are two great photos of Sam pitching. First the windup, and then the follow through! STRIKE!
Click on the photos to get an enlarged image.
Speaking of Little League, Sam and Andrew had our first playoff game yesterday. After getting off to a rough start in the first two innings, we settled in, got ahead, and then let the other team chip away at the lead and eventually beat us 10-9. We play again on Monday. We have to win tomorrow, and again the following Saturday, and HOPE that on team in our bracket (4 teams) goes undefeated in pool play. If not, we could play again to qualify for the Triple A World Series.
And we are still waiting to hear about the LL Tournament team for Andrew.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Andrew's hot weekend

Having lost a game, tied a game, and won a game on Saturday, the Titans returned Sunday 10am to play the number 1 seed (and tournament host) West Bloomfield/North Farmington. And they won!!!! So after the strawberry social at Church I dashed off the Farmington Hills to see the Championship game.

When I arrived it was 3-1 Titans. The other team tied it up and then Andrew hit a great single to drive in a go-ahead RBI. After stealing second and third he was driven in to go up 2.

But in the fifth - a few good hits on the other team's part, and fielding errors on ours allowed them to catch up again.

In the sixth we went out 1,2,3. Then on a fielders error they got a man on base, who stole second and third, and was hit home to walk off with a victory. The boys were really bummed! They got medals, and were told by finished second in this sanctioned tournament they qualified for a national tournament in Florida, California, South Carolina, or Vegas! (the heat all weekend -over 90- might have prepared us to play in the desert). But this team was only put together in the USSSA tournaments to get ready for the Little League district tournament in July.

Unfortunately, for the Little League tournament they cannot carry as many players as the fed ball team, so there will be changes. Andrew has his heart set on playing on the new team, but more than experience, skill, sportsmanship, and heart go into the choices - unfortunately. But we still hope with him he will make the new team. We will know in the next week or so.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

More on the Wings Stanley Cup Celebration - and the boys baseball today.

Here's a great picture from the Free Press with St. John's in the background.

To see a video I took around the front of St. John's a little over an hour before the parade


I have more video of the parade itself to download from the camera, and then upload onto youtube - but I haven't had a chance yet.

Sam and Andrew had a Little League game this morning at 9:30 (at the field by 8:30) and then Andrew's tournament team had 3 games this afternoon at 2:30, 4:30, and 6:30 (which actually started at 7pm) out in Farmington Hills. Sam and Andrew lost their Little League game 14-12. Andrew's tournament team lost their first game 10-3, tied the second (which was stopped an inning early due to time restriction), and then played the same team again and won 8-6. Andrew plays again Sunday at 10am (he gets to come to the 5pm Service), and if they win they play at noon too.

William's team won today (I missed this game because I was out in Farmington Hills), with the wonder of William hitting an in the park 3 run home run! Sorry I missed it!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Date/Time TBA....

Monday, June 02, 2008

Lectionary change at St. John's

From this past Sunday's Rector's Rambling in the Chronicle....

This week we are making a change to the Lectionary at St. John's Church. We are going back to the lectionary of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. This is being done with the permission of our Diocesan Bishop, Wendell Gibbs.
In my initial phone interview to be Rector here at St. John's, I asked the question "why does the parish want to continue to use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer?". I wanted to hear a particular type of answer. I didn't want to be a part of a parish that didn't want change in some sort of knee-jerk reaction to it. After a thoughtful pause on the other side, someone answered that they used the 1928 Book of Common Prayer because it best expressed what the Church has believed since it was founded. That was the I was looking for!
We are only one of two parishes in the Diocese of Michigan that uses the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. It is the last American prayer book to keep the form and theology of our world-wide Anglican Common Prayer Book tradition. The Episcopal Church's most recently approved book deviates from the form for worship and her theology in many ways. In other countries, where such alternate worship forms were adopted, they were given the title "alternate" book, recognizing the difference while continuing to allow the use of the older form as well. In America, the General Convention, bishops, and some who were zealous to change the Church sought to suppress the use of the original forms. Only in recent years, and in our case at the most gracious permission of our diocesan, has there been wider permission and acceptance of the use of the 1928 Prayer Book.
An integral part of the "Rite" (1928 v. 1979) for Holy Communion is the schedule of readings, called The Lectionary. The new rite(s) adopted a three year cycle of readings, which has since been revised, and the update required by the Episcopal Church this coming year. The 1928 lectionary is a one year cycle, helping us to solidly recognize and memorize a core of Scripture used at the Sunday Holy Communion. This schedule in our prayer book tradition, is based on the older Western Liturgies, and goes back past the 13th Century. For nearly 800 years this schedule of readings have been used to teach about the life of our Lord and the direction of holiness for His Church.
It is certainly not perfect: no lectionary is! With only two lessons assigned for each Sunday it assumes that Christians will ALSO be reading scripture in the context of Morning and Evening Prayer, as well as self-study! With more scripture variety at the Holy Communion over the last 30+ years I wish I could believe the Episcopal Church is holier and more scripturally literate than its first 200 years, but that is not my observation. I think the original lectionary is worth using, and we begin doing so this Sunday.
So take a peek in your prayer book - the readings for the next year at Holy Communion are all there for your study (page 90-269). And learn to use the Daily Office lectionary (page x-xlv) as well - for your self study, as well as praying Morning and Evening Prayer.