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

Friday, August 29, 2008

A problem for all the downtown churches


From today's Detroit News.
St. John's had all of its copper gutters stolen last year.
St. Albertus' entire roof is copper!

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DETROIT -- Police arrested a man attempting to steal copper from the roof of St. Albertus, the first Roman Catholic Church in the city established by Poles, at about 6 a.m. Friday, according to a spokesman for the group attempting to preserve the historic place of worship.
It was the second time this month that an attempt was made to steal the valuable metal, which thieves often are able to sell to scrap vendors. The first, on Aug.18, resulted in the loss of a 30-by-8 foot section of the steep roof, constructed in 1885.
This time, according to Matt Baka, president of the Polish American Historic Site Association, police thwarted the crook.
"While the thief did not get away with any of the copper, he did cause more damage to the roof that will have to be fixed," Baka said.
The thief apparently broke out a small stained galls window to enter the church, Baka said.
A police spokeswoman said she could not immediately confirm the arrest.
"This all comes days before security system upgrades planned by PAHSA were to be made," he said.
"While it is a somewhat satisfying to know that he is no longer on the streets, the damage is done, once again, and that is something jail time won't fix," he said.
The preservation group purchased the church for a nominal fee in 1991, one year after the Archdiocese of Detroit closed the parish. Some masses and weddings still occur in the church and the annual fundraiser is scheduled from 2 p.m. until midnight, Saturday, September 13.
In 1978, St. Albertus was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and Pope John Paul II -- then known as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, the archbishop of Krakow, Poland -- celebrated Mass in the cavernous, ornate church in 1976.
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St. Albetus, Sweetest Heart of Mary, and St. Josaphat are all on Canfield Street, near St. John's. Video of the inside of St. Josaphats can be found here

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

a connection to a candidate

I am not endorsing any candidate or party (no need to raise the ire of such groups as People for the American Way or People United for the Separation of Church and State), but it might be interesting to note a connection to a candidate.

I was a fraternity brother at Penn with Senator (VP Candidate) Joseph Biden's son - now Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden (aka Joseph R. Biden III). Beau was a few years behind me at Penn and we overlapped at the Psi Upsilon Fraternity. I met his dad once in that time, which was shortly after his run for president in the 1980's.

Back to normal?

From Zenit News Agency....

Another Chinese Bishop Arrested
BEIJING, AUG. 25, 2008 (Zenit.org).-
Shortly before the spectacular closing ceremonies of the Olympics, Chinese authorities arrested another bishop.
Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding, who had already been under house arrest with 24-hour surveillance, was taken away by police Sunday. His current location has not been disclosed.
According to AsiaNews, the bishop had celebrated Sunday Mass in the cathedral earlier that morning. At about 10 a.m., he was taken away by four police officers.
One priest told the news agency, "After the Olympics, everything is back to the way it was before in China."
Bishop Jia, 73, has already spent 15 years in prison, from 1963 to 1978. Since 1989, he has been under strict police monitoring. His arrest on Sunday marks the 12th time he has been detained by police. In a message regarding the Olympics from Hong Kong's Coadjutor Bishop John Tong Hon, he listed six more prelates (besides Bishop Jia) who are missing or under arrest. He characterized these seven bishops as just "a few" of the "prominent cases."

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rector's Rambling for August 24th

Yes, evil does exist in the world. For the most part, we don’t think about this very often. I would hope that we spend more time in our lives praying, praising God, and focusing on His Will for us in our lives (both individually, as well as corporately as the Body of Christ—The Church).
But recently I have been reminded of the power of evil, and particularly the deceptions of the Evil One, Satan.
News of the shooting at a Church in Tennessee, and a person randomly attacking and killing a fellow passenger on a greyhound bus in Canada have brought this reality of evil to the media forefront. Of course, the secular media won’t name this ‘evil’, but I am convinced that that is its foundation.
The evil one is real, and he and his minions (the fallen angels, also known as demons or devils) seek to distort and destroy God’s created goodness, and convince us through lies and deception to do ‘our own thing’ and justify our sinfulness, rather than to cling to that which God has revealed to us as true and good through His Son Jesus Christ.
The Litany (Prayer Book p. 54) prays that we may be delivered from the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world would try to have us serve ourselves (Pride, Power, Greed), the flesh its fallen distorted passions (Lust, Gluttony, Sloth), and the devil and his fallen spirits keeping us away from prayer, church attendance, and true Christian spirituality (not the false nebulous ‘being spiritual’ that satan would have us substitute in its place. Evil may manifest itself in big ways (shooting up a church) or in ways that don’t make media headlines (convincing you that you don’t need to go the Church this week). But evil is evil, and THANKS BE TO GOD that we have access to Grace to be able to choose to repent and turn away from the enticements of the world, the flesh and the devil, and seek to love and serve Jesus Christ!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

a good effort in the bottom of the sixth...

...but we came up short.

After a lackluster first 5 innings at the plate, the bats came alive in the bottom of the sixth (last inning) and we scored 6 runs (3 of them on Sam's second triple of the game) -but it was too little too late. We lost the championship 11-8.

Andrew has his first practice this year in late January. Sam and William started theirs in the beginning of April. Now 7 and 4.5 months later the seasons are over.

As the boys were getting ready for bed, Andrew asked "tomorrow is your day off, right?" "Can we play pickle? (a baserunning game)"

Maybe we won't oil up the mitts for Fall storage just yet.
My shoulder/elbow rehab can wait another day.

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Happy St. Maximilian Kolbe Day!



Among the Franciscan Third Order I am known as Fr. Max, after Maximilian Kolbe, the great martyr of Auschwitz. But more than voluntarily giving his life another prison, St. Max had a life of holiness: through his devotion to the Lord in the Franciscan Order, founding friaries in Poland and Japan, and a wonderful publishing ministry to propagate the faith.





Below is an article from Wikapedia on St. Maximilian. My interest in him began in high school, my freshman year. Francis Gajowniczek, the man that St. Maximilian gave his life for, visited the school and told us about him. Later that summer I traveled to Europe and visited Auschwitz, seeing the shrine there to him. Since then he has been someone I have been drawn to.



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Maximilian Kolbe was born in January 1894 in Zduńska Wola, which was at that time part of Russian Empire. Maximilian was the second son of Julius Kolbe and Maria Dabrowska. His father was an ethnic German and his mother of Polish origins. He had four brothers, Francis, Joseph, Walenty (who lived a year) and Andrew (who lived 4 years). His parents moved to Pabianice where they worked first as basket weavers. Later his mother worked as a midwife (often donating her services), and owned a shop in part of her rented house which sold groceries and household goods. Julius Kolbe worked at the Krushe and Ender Mill and also worked on rented land where he grew vegetables. In 1914 Julius joined Józef Piłsudski's Polish Legions and was captured by the Russians for fighting for the independence of a partitioned Poland.
In 1907 Kolbe and his elder brother Francis decided to join the
Conventual Franciscans. They illegally crossed the border between Russia and Austria-Hungary and joined the Conventual Franciscan junior seminary in Lwów. In 1910 Kolbe was allowed to enter the novitiate. He professed his first vows in 1911, adopting the name Maximilian, and the final vows in 1914, in Rome, adopting the names Maximilian Maria, to show his veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In 1912 he was sent to
Kraków, and in the same year to a college in Rome, where he studied philosophy, theology, mathematics, and physics. He earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1915 at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and the doctorate in theology in 1919 at the Pontifical University of St. Bonaventure. During his time as a student, he witnessed vehement demonstrations against Popes St. Pius X and Benedict XV in Rome and was inspired to organize the Militia Immaculata, or Army of Mary, to work for conversion of sinners and the enemies of the Catholic Church through the intercession of the Virgin Mary. The Immaculata friars utilized the most modern printing and administrative techniques in publishing catechetical and devotional tracts, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million.[5]
In 1918 Kolbe was ordained a priest. In 1919 he returned to the newly independent Poland, where he was very active in promoting the veneration of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, founding and supervising the monastery of Niepokalanów near Warsaw, a seminary, a radio station and several other organizations and publications. Between 1930 and 1936 he took a series of missions to Japan, where he founded a monastery at the outskirts of Nagasaki, a Japanese paper and a seminary. The monastery he founded remains prominent in the Roman Catholic Church in Japan. Kolbe decided to build the monastery on a mountain side that, according to Shinto beliefs, was not the side best suited to be in tune with nature. When the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Kolbe's monastery was saved because the blast of the bomb hit the other side of the mountain, which took the main force of the blast. Had Kolbe built the monastery on the preferred side of mountain as he was advised, his work and all of his fellow monks would have been destroyed.
During the Second World War he provided shelter to refugees from Greater Poland, including 2,000 Jews whom he hid from Nazi persecution in his friary in Niepokalanów. He was also active as a radio amateur, with Polish call letters SP3RN, vilifying Nazi activities through his reports.
On
February 17, 1941 he was arrested by the German Gestapo and imprisoned in the Pawiak prison, and on May 25 was transferred to Auschwitz I as prisoner #16670.
In July 1941 a man from Kolbe's barracks vanished, prompting
SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch, the deputy camp commander, to pick 10 men from the same barracks to be starved to death in Block 13 (notorious for torture), in order to deter further escape attempts.[citation needed] (The man who had disappeared was later found drowned in the camp latrine). One of the selected men, Franciszek Gajowniczek, cried out, lamenting his family, and Kolbe volunteered to take his place.
During the time in the cell he led the men in songs and prayer. After three weeks of dehydration and starvation, only Kolbe and three others were still alive. Finally he was murdered with an injection of
carbolic acid.[6]

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One game left!

Last night Sam and Andrew's team, ARMY, beat the Marine team in the semi-finals of the GPPLL Second Season playoffs. We play Air Force tomorrow for the championship. During the second season we beat Coast Guard & Navy, lost to the Marines by one run last Friday PM (playing with a mixed team of ARMY and Coast Guard since it was a Friday PM and we had many players away for the weekend) and tied Air Force. Last night avenged our one loss, and now we have a chance to fix that tie.

Sam pitched a good middle inning, and Andrew was the closer.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Enjoying the Olympics!

Every 4 years I certainly enjoy watching the Olympics. 1976 in Montreal is the first one I really remember (I vaguely remember 1972 Munich - I was 6) with Nadia Comeneche's perfect 10's, and Bruce Jenner winning the Decathalon. 1980 was boycotted by the USA in the USSR, and 1984 was in Los Angeles - which was the first time I tried to catch the rowing since I had started rowing in 1981.

Skipping ahead, 2000 in Australia was special because my cousin Tommy Wilkins was the c0-captain of the US Swim team and won a bronze in the 200 IM! (these pictures are Tommy)

This year there is a very cool thing for the coverage - http://www.nbcolympics.com/ !

Click on Video and enter a sport!

Here is the Rowing heats for the men's and women's eights
http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/player.html?assetid=ro1h-bj-sd30-081108-144503&channelcode=sportro
The USA women's heat start is just after the 4 minute mark
The USA men's heat start is at about the 34 minute mark on the player.
I won't spoil the endings of the heats
Of course, by the time you read this, there might be a more up to date video on rowing to watch.

I am also enjoying watching gymnastics, swimming, fencing, and we even watched some team handball the other day on CBC - a very interesting sport!

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Last week of Little League

Andrew started in January practicing with the Titans.
Andrew, Sam and William started regular Little League in April.
First Season ended in June, Second Season started in July.

William's team finished last Wednesday. Sam and Andrew's team (which I am managing) finish this week with games on Tuesday and Thursday.

And yes, we looked for a local Fall league, but Andrew and Sam need to concentrate on their Karate this Fall/Winter in anticipation that they will be testing for their black belt in early Spring.

But my left elbow and left shoulder are in bad shape. Started being sore in mid-June. I will have to have Dr. Scott take a look at it in my next physical, but I think a few weeks off from throwing (particularly throwing batting practice) might be helpful!

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If you want to avoid frustration....

...do not read The Episcopal Life, the official publication of the Episcopal Life.

Not only is the new religion promoted throughout the articles, but frequently the letters to the editor shows a major reason why the Episcopal Church has gone so far from the biblical faith: the clergy published in it have no grasp of theological reality!

This month one letter dances around a proper understanding of the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament. Jesus said - "unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you" but he explains it away as a 'liturgical representation...". Another letter from a priest says we need to do away with the Creeds because it doesn't mention Jesus' teaching in it. "The creeds are defective and need to be taken out of the service." His justification? A quote from the gnostic false gospel of Mary Magdalene. God help the Episcopal Church!

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A great bit of advice from The Living Church news editor

In our day of blogging, and quick comments on news websites, I have been amazed at the amount of uncharitableness by the posters. Favorite sites like www.kendallharmon.net/t19 and www.standfirminfaith.com have to be constantly vigilant to monitor postings and remove/edit personal attacks and the like. It is one reason I don't have comments enabled on this blog. I don't have time to edit spam postings or uncharitable comments. The worst example of commments are the website for The Detroit Free Press!

Concerning the articles on The Living Church website about Lambeth Conference, news editor Steve Waring has this to say....and I think it is GREAT advice!

I would like to remind everyone one more time that pointed personal attacks and uncharitable comments shed little light and reveal far more about the person making the comments than they do about the character of the conference organizers, importance of what the conference produced or what is likely to happen to the Anglican Communion in the future. Rather than being the cause for caustic sarcasm and vicious personal attacks this information ought to drive every Christian to their knees in prayer. The body of the third largest branch of Christianity is suffering - every part of it - whether you happen to identify with it, are in communion with it or not. In the name of Christ, I ask all Christians please to think carefully and prayerfully before posting funny songs, analogies to the Titanic (and other famous historical disasters) as well as unrelentingly negative criticism. I assure you that while such things will undoubtedly get a brief laugh they won't change anything in the long run. This is a time for speaking the truth in love. I was here and I can tell you that there were important things accomplished and it was not a complete failure/disaster/joke or mistake.
May the Risen Christ have mercy on us all,
Steve Waring,
news editor
The Living Church magazine

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Lambeth review from The Living Church

from www.livingchurch.org

What the Lambeth Conference Accomplished
Posted on: August 3, 2008
The Lambeth Conference accomplished some very important work, but in the closing press conference on Aug. 3, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said if the North American churches do not accept the need for a moratorium on same-sex blessings and the consecration of additional partnered gay bishops, then the Anglican Communion is no further forward.

Archbishop Williams listed three accomplishments for the 20-day Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops in Canterbury, England:

1 Bishops proved they could speak to each other respectfully and prayerfully.
2. They expressed a strong commitment to remain unified.
3. The Millennium Development Goals demonstration in London on July 24 proved that even “in its current rather wobbly state,” the Anglican Communion was capable of accomplishing significant action and witness.

On the other hand, the idea of moratorium was apparently not taken seriously by many bishops from The Episcopal Church. Bishops Jon Bruno of Los Angeles and Marc Andrus of California already have said they would not attempt to stop the blessing of gay relationships in their dioceses, and in the Diocese of Massachusetts on Aug. 2, two priests participated in civil same-sex marriages for two couples inside Episcopal churches.

“The current policy, well, I wouldn’t say policy of the American church, but some of the practices of dioceses, or certain dioceses, in the American church continues to put our relations as a Communion under strain and some problems won’t be resolved while those practices continue,” Archbishop Williams said. “I might just add, perhaps a note here. One complication in discussing all this is that assumption, readily made, that the blessing of a same-sex union and/or the ordination of someone in an active same-sex relationship is simply a matter of human rights … That’s an assumption I can’t accept because I think the issues about what conditions the church lays down for the blessing of unions has to be shaped by its own thinking, its own praying.”

Archbishop Williams was asked what was meant by the Windsor Continuation Group’s recommendation for a moratorium on public rites for same-sex blessings. Different parts of the world define public rites of blessing in different ways, adding to the confusion, according to Archbishop Williams. A primates’ communiqué following a meeting in Brazil in 2003 noted that in some places private prayers were said, but that was not intended to include public liturgies.

“There are those in the U.S.A. who would say ‘pastoral response.’ Well, it’s a blessing and I’m not very happy about that,” he said.

Innovations to church teaching on homosexuality in North America caused roughly 280 of the 880 invited bishops of the Anglican Communion to boycott the Lambeth Conference. According to registration information provided to The Living Church and Church of England Newspaper, the total number of Anglican bishops who pre-registered was only 617, and not all of them were present. The two largest provinces – Nigeria and Uganda – did not send any bishops. There was one bishop registered from Rwanda and five from Kenya. Conference organizers included all of the ecumenical bishops in attendance to arrive at the total of 670 present when registration closed on July 21.

Many of the bishops who were absent and a number who did attend the Lambeth Conference attended the Global Anglican Fellowship Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem in June. GAFCON and the absence of more than 30 percent of the bishops of the Communion were frequently mentioned during the conference. The absence of so many bishops from the Global South increased the proportional representation of bishops from The Episcopal Church to nearly a quarter of the overall total.

For various reasons the conference will probably run a deficit of at least $2 million. A document titled “Lambeth Conference Finances” dated January 2008 estimated that the bishops’ conference would cost about $9 million with the spouses’ conference adding another $2.5 million. The document notes that more than 40 percent of conference participants would require some sort of financial assistance in order to pay the $8,000 conference fee. During the closing press conference Archbishop Williams said conference organizers were studying various ways to cover the probable shortfall.

“We knew this would be difficult,” he said. “I don’t think I can go into details because I don’t have direct management of the question … I’m rather concerned about that.”

Steve Waring

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Lambeth has concluded.

The every 10 year gathering of Anglican Bishops has ended, and although a 44 page report has been issued, it still begs to be seen whether the Episcopal Church (via her bishops and The General Convention in 2009) will actually do the things required of her to continue be an active participant in the life of the Anglican Communion, or will de facto 'walk apart'.

Here is a video synopsis with a bishop from West Africa and Bishop Keith L. Ackerman of Quincy, IL (my 'bishop protector).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjgTDnXi9bQ

The report can be read in full here.
http://www.lambethconference.org/reflections/document.cfm

Other comments from Bishops and Organizations can be found here
www.kendallharmon.net/t19

And please continue to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for the conversion of the Church, beginning with forgiveness for own own sins and failings as well (see today's sermon at the 10am Service).

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Congrats Grosse Pointe Park Little League 11 year olds!


Even though we were disappointed that Andrew did not make the 10 year old team, we were very happy that the 11 year old team not only won the district championships (as did the 8,9 and 12 year olds), but also won the State Championship today. Last night's semi-final was 17-2 (ended early due to mercy rule) and today was 15-0 (also a mercy after 5 innings).


Bodes well, we hope, for next year's 12 year old team. The 12 year olds, if they win state, advance to midwesterns and then if they win that they go to Williamsport to play in the US/World Series.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

A powerful video - John 4

Here is a very powerful video, an interpretation of the story of the woman at the well.

It chokes me up every time I watch it!

http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=813f2856e2e2c69d4e0b