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

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!


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.
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