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, November 28, 2008

Turkey is over & now for....baseball!!!!

Yes, baseball!

Andrew has baseball camp from 9 to 5 tomorrow (Saturday) and 2:30 to 9pm Sunday at the University of Michigan.

Catching Skills and Hitting Saturday

Hitting and Fielding Sunday.

And Dad taking notes and video to help him (and me).

And I am not bringing my glove to avoid the temptation to throw the ball - shoulder still healing.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

A wonderful Thanksgiving Morning @ St. John's.

Pancakes, Donuts, Hot Chocolate, Coffee, Old Friends, New Friends, Family, and Sunshine!

A great day at the parade at St. John's.

Here are two photos from The Free Press on-line. showing St. John's in the background.
Now off for some catch-up sleep.
We are having our Turkey Dinner Friday - too tired to come home and prepare a bird after the parade!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Musing on the Feast of James Otis Sargent Huntington

Today we once again celebrated the Feast of Fr. Huntington, the founder of the Anglican Religious Order of The Holy Cross. At one time this order was a POWERHOUSE in the Anglo-catholic movement. My old parish in Rosemont, PA, had Fr. Huntington in their stained-glass windows, and older parishioners mused about the days when the were always an OHC priest at the parish for retreats and quiet days, and at the old Valley Forge Conference (the precuror to the St. Michael's Conference for Youth).

Alas, the Order is not what it once was - a bastion of solid Anglican Catholic theology and priests living the unique rule of Fr. Huntington - making and impact on the Church at large- with parishes, schools, etc.

I recently read on their website in a sermon for the founder's day that their average age is 70, and another blog entry back in October talks about the changes in leadership which is a lot of changes for a community with 10 monks. I have seen pictures from youth conferences in the 1950's and 1960's with 10 monks there! I wonder how many were in the order then! They abandoned in 1984 Fr. Huntington's rule of life for a generic benedictine rule (benectine rule is great for benedictines, but it was never their charism) which focuses them on life in the monastery rather than outwards to the parishes (which fosters vocations as well).

Whereas their retreat topics (I several books and pamphlets from the Order from "back in the day") dealt with issues like The Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence, making one's confession (our brochure "Why I make my confession and why you should too" is written by an old OHC brother), I read on their current website that they are hosting retreats with leaders like this,

Waiting for Christ in the Womb of Mary
Embody the spirit of Advent: opening to the indwelling of Emmanuel and waiting for the incarnation of God's love. Enter the mystery, power, and rhythm of your body through yoga, chant, and mindful walking. "XXXXX XXXXX, teaching yoga since 1989 and Iyengar certified, teaches at Unity Woods Yoga Center and in the Sacred Circles program at the Washington National Cathedral."

Hardly Catholic Anglicanism as Fr. Huntington would have recognized.

I wonder what an order like this, or perhaps the Society of St. John the Evangelist who also has abandoned their founder's rule and the Catholic Anglican theology of the Church, would be like if it were to be converted to the fullness of the faith, and restored their particular charism. Would God bless them with new vocations?

In the Roman Church, groups that have returned to the original rules of their Orders that were abandoned after Vatican II have shown a marvelous increase in vocations while the 'post-council 1970's rule of life' orders grow grayer and monasteries emptier.
For example, Fr. Benedict Groeschel's newer order that seeks to restore the Capuchin Franciscan Rule of Life. He started with 8 people in the late 1980's, and pictured here are a group of the brothers in 2008 http://www.franciscanfriars.com/vocations/index2.htm
I doubt there are this many Capuchins left in any of the provinces of the 'regular' order.
May God grant a similar renewal and reclaiming of the Rule of the founders of the great Anglican Orders, and men with hearts to serve according to biblical standards to answer the call to participate.


Non-liturgical Churches discovering Advent

Although I find it interesting that they are "givng a new, personalized spin to the prayers, candles..." so that that they can make it a protestant thing, it is good to see they are coming around to what we as Anglican have known since the time that Christianity came to the British Isles.
Note my highlight in bold. It is good he discovered what we have always known! And I think he would find that what he thinks is his non-traditional approach is actually the a part of it afterall!
Now if we can get them to save the parties until the 12 days of Christmas (Dec 25 to Jan 5)

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY
Evangelical Christians are adopting — and adapting — the rituals of Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas that are traditionally celebrated by Catholics, Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox and other liturgical churches.
They're giving a new, personalized spin to the prayers, candles and calendars to track the building excitement, and set a spiritual tone day by day. This year Advent begins on Sunday.
Popular evangelical authors are offering readings and composing prayers for the Advent season. And Family Christian Stores, the nation's largest Christian retailer with 301 stores nationwide, has seen sales of Advent-related items climb 35% in the past year.
Bible teacher and writer Nancy Guthrie has a collection of readings for Advent that draws on evangelical writers, with an emphasis on Scripture. In Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, Guthrie draws on 22 sermons and writings, from Saint Augustine and Martin Luther to theologians such as Jonathan Edwards and contemporary preachers such as John Piper and Tim Keller.
"I so often felt that by the time I got to Christmas morning, after the parties, and planning and shopping and presents and travel, that there was a void, that I hadn't had time to prepare my heart for the gift, with a capital G, of Jesus," says Guthrie of Nashville, whose denomination is the Presbyterian Church of America.
"Since I'm not bound by the traditional Advent, I could choose writers for this collection who break out of the familiar talk of Christmas to the shocking wonder of it, that God revealed himself to the humblest among us," she says.
Popular devotional writer Stormie Omartian says praying at Advent is another way all Christians can develop their prayer voice.
Her book, the Power of Christmas Prayer, to be reissued in 2009, includes prayers for issues, struggles and unfulfilled dreams that can weigh on us as the year draws to an end. "Advent is such a happy, wonderful time, full of joy. So it's a friendly pathway to prayer," says Omartian, who worships at a non-denominational church in Franklin, Tenn.
Craig Klamer, senior vice president of marketing for Family Chrisian stores, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., says families find Advent practices "keep people focused on the spiritual promise of the Savior coming."
This year the chain is featuring characters from the VeggieTales video-and-book empire, with a Merry Christmas felt wall hanging that counts down from Dec. 1 to 24th with a candy cane to mark the days.
"We're also seeing big growth in demand for Advent candle sets, set in decorative wreaths, for family home devotionals, as people want to incorporate more old traditions," says Klamer.
Jeffrey Wright, a recent seminary graduate who is looking to move into ministry, says his wife and their three young girls often make their own Advent calendars, and the family gathers to set a candle out each week representing the four Advent themes of hope, faith, joy and love.
Their non-denominational church, Providence Community Church in Plano, Texas, has joined more than 1,000 other churches in a program called the Advent Conspiracy, to raise funds for new wells in Third World countries.
Evangelicals may have avoided or discarded Advent traditions in the past as "too formal, too Catholic," says Wright, whose blog, Pursuing Truth, offers Advent resources. "But we have found it a way to connect more deeply with our Christian history and heritage."

Monday, November 24, 2008

News about one of my favorite American Heresies

Seems this guy never made it to be a 'clear' (CofS talk for those who are at the top of their food chain), and they also forbid the use of psychiatry - which might have been a help in this case as well. Tragic.
And remember - this cult bought the Raymond James building on Jefferson and should be setting up shop some time soon!
You can click on the Labels: Scientology at the end of this post for more information on their purchase in Detroit.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - An Oregon man who was fatally shot as he wielded samurai swords and tried to attack guests at a landmark Scientology building had been involved in "prior incidents" with the church, police said Monday.
Mario Majorski, 48, was shot once by a security guard as he tried to use the swords to attack guests at the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Hollywood on Sunday, Detective Wendi Berndt said.
Berndt said that the Scientology church and security guards were already familiar with Majorski, and that he had been associated with the church in the "distant past." She did not elaborate on the earlier dealings.
"The security people were aware of him through some prior incidents," Berndt said.
"The security guard had to take action to prevent the deceased from killing or maiming people on the premises," Berndt said.
Security surveillance tape showed Majorski arrived around noon in a red convertible, then approached the guards with a sword in each hand before he was shot, Berndt said. She said the tape would not be released to the public because it was too graphic. No other weapons were found in the car, which Berndt said she thought was a rental.
Majorski was pronounced dead at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.
Public records show he had been associated with a string of addresses in Los Angeles County and in Oregon over the last two decades. He filed for bankruptcy in 2000.
Messages left at a Scientology media line were not returned Monday.
The Celebrity Centre is a turreted, castle-like landmark in Hollywood that serves as "a home for the artist, a place where he can come and learn, attend seminars, meet other artists and even perform at our many showcases and events," according to the Centre's Web site.
The Church of Scientology was established in 1945 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and claims 10 million members around the world. It likes to cultivate celebrity followers, and among its more famed acolytes are Tom Cruise and John Travolta.


Government inference in churches? Short-sightedness?

From wcbstv.com. I will have to research their reason why....

NEW YORK (CBS) ― City officials have ordered 22 New York churches to stop providing beds to homeless people.
With temperatures well below freezing early Saturday, the churches must obey a city rule requiring faith-based shelters to be open at least five days a week -- or not at all.
Arnold Cohen, president of the Partnership for the Homeless, a nonprofit that serves as a link with the city, said he had to tell the churches they no longer qualify.
He said hundreds of people now won't have a place to sleep.
The Department of Homeless Services said the city offers other shelters with the capacity to accept all those who have been sleeping in the churches. The city had 8,000 beds waiting.
Last year, four unsheltered homeless people died in the city during cold weather, so three dozen emergency outreach teams were prepped to respond to reports of homeless people outdoors or in the subways. "We really don't want people sleeping on the streets, on grates, on church steps. We want people sleeping in beds," said Homeless Commissioner Robert Hess.
The homeless can be coaxed indoors but not forced unless their life is in danger.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Looking back...

It was at this parish that the Lord took me up on my newfound desire to serve Him.
At the side altar at this parish I began attending Evening Prayer a couple of days a week in the Fall of 1988, which opened me to hearing the prompting of the spirit to get sober in January of 1989.
It was this parish that I began the discipline of weekday Mass attendance and learned about the Saints of the Church, including Thomas a Kempis, whose Imitation of Christ changed my life and how I looked at scripture and Christ's Church.
It was meditating on this Altar's artwork that I began an appreciation of the Passion.
It was here that I first became an active member of a parish, and later a vestryman.
It was from here that I first applied for postulancy for ordination in the Episcopal Church (was turned down, later to be adopted by a much more theologically sound diocese).
It was from the Rector of this parish that I received the gift, after his retirement and my ordination, of the chalice we use for weekday Masses here at St. John's. He used it for daily Masses from 1953 to 1993. I have used it since 1994.
It was at this very high altar that I said my first Requiem Mass, as a newly ordained priest of 5 days.
I received an email today with a picture of this altar on it. Thought I would share it with you.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Video of the wet, windy Three Oaks launch

As promised earlier, here is a link to the video of the launch last weekend.



Saturday, November 15, 2008

a few thoughts before bed on Saturday night

This has been a strange week for me. With the curate having to resign, I have had to do lots of shuffling and re-evaluating of services and programming. Thanks be to God for the laity who have stepped forward for ministries in his stead. But I also had to do something I HATE to do - cut back on the number of services.

I have to have a day off (usually Fridays) so we had to cancel Mass that day. And it was not fair to my family to have the 5:30 Sunday service for now (and too far Fr. Mike to take regularly - he would miss too many morning services to do so). This has been one of the harder parts for me - to decrease the opportunities for public worship at St. John's, and to receive the Sacrament.

And of course there has been having to see the plethora of feelings - not just my own, but others who shared them with me and others. These calls, and emailed, feelings run the gamut from 'good riddance', to anger, to genuine sadness and loss (and lots in between). And others have asked will we have another curate again in the near future? or is it even worth the bother?

But as I am about 30 minutes late for bed, it occurs to me that the INTERNET, and email, has certainly raised our expectations for information. In less than an hour after he resigned the vestry knew (via email). The parish email list knew later that evening. And as exchanges went back and forth, the one that surprised me was the accusation that the parishes "PR" was not up to snuff, giving enough information. This surprised me. Email lists, Sunday Bulletin, Monthly newsletter, my Blog, Youtube Videos, The Website - where are we lacking in public information? And how am I supposed to know what more people want if not asked (The gift of 'discernment' is not the same as the gift of mind-reading). Those who wanted more information were invited to email the curate directly since he could share his own decisions and feelings better than I could. I just got to pass on the reality of that decision as it affected the parish.

And TOMORROW, Sunday, there will be two sets of people in Church: those who have had a week to process all this information and run through some feelings, and those who are not on our email list or check my blog....who will read about it for the first time tomorrow morning in my Rector's Rambling in the Chronicle, and the curate's email as an insert, at Church! And imagine what those writings, and I am sure conversations at coffee hour, will present to the newcomer who is there tomorrow morning for the first time!

Oh yeah - can I add one more thing to the mix? The bishop is coming to the 5:30 Service (as it turns out, our last 5:30 Service for a while) for Confirmation. This means the morning services will be smaller because of those who are coming in the evening, and there are those who are not so happy to have the bishop here at all for all sorts of valid theological reasons. BLAH.

Now off to bed with that to dream about (perhaps I can set it aside with some holy reading before nodding off as well as my prayers).

And did I mention another traditionalist diocese (Ft. Worth) voted this weekend to leave the Episcopal Church? That makes 4 this year. As the old toast says, "to us, and to those like us: there are (darn) few left" (unfortunately)


Back from the west

Our trip out to the southwestern corner of Michigan was a bust, as far as rockets went.

When we got there on Friday, which was experimental motor/rocket day, they hadn't even bothered to set up the launch equipment. The ceiling (cloud cover) was far too low and therefore too dangerous to be sending up rockets. And it was raining.

On Saturday Sam and I got out there about 15 minutes before the scheduled start, but we knew things weren't promising. It was raining on the drive there, and although the ceiling was higher, the wind was kicking up and the forecast was for 15 to 20 mph winds with gusts to 30 - far to high to launch anything with any power!

When we arrived there were a dozen or so people deciding what to do. The place where the launch is usually set up in the farmers field was a bad position because the wind was blowing from the north. This means any rockets set off would blow back over us and into the tree area. So a decision was made to move up the road a bit- which gave us some more recovery room. The team set up one 'low power' (motors A through D - basically estes type kit rocket motors) and one mid-range rack.
Sam set off two low level rockets (A 'snitch' and a 'pizza' rocket), the first two of the day. He also tried to get up a slightly larger rocket on a low motor, but there was a problem with the motor.
In this two hour period we spent more time in our car because of passing rain showers, and even two bouts of hail! As we went along the wind was getting worse and worse.

We gave up at noon. Only 4 or 5 rockets, all little ones, had been set off in those two hours. Jennifer's mother and foster daughter came up to watch the launch, as did the entire rest of the immediate family. They never even came out to the flight field (too cold and windy).

But the trip was not an entire bust. We had a good time seeing Jennifer's parents (her dad came up Friday PM), going out to dinner with them, and swimming in the pool in the hotel (Friday and Saturday). We also got to visit Red Arrow Hobbies, near our hotel. The owner of Red Arrow, Dave, comes out to the Jackson Launches as a vendor, and we appreciate his wares and his company. In fact the only time we saw people from our Jackson Club was at Red Arrow! Sam was able to stock up for future launches.

For Sam it was a big disappointment, but he had a pretty good attitude about it all - nothing he could do about it!

I have a highlight video I have to download to my computer, and upload to Youtube. When I do, I will let you know. It is probably only 3 minutes long (not alot of highlights this launch).


Taking a deep breath

written Friday morning and sent to the St. John's email list

I am a few minutes away from packing up my family in our mini-van, driving over 3 hours away to stand in a muddy farmer's field for the good part of two days, watch as my son Sam connects with other high-powered modelrocketry enthusiasts, and enjoy as they and he shoot off rockets that willrange in height from 100 feet to 12,000 feet (the FAA waiver for thisevent).

But I wanted to send a quick note before I depart for this wet, chillyouting.

This past week I have received several phone calls from other clergy and friends to offer support and advice. One thing that many of the clergy advised was to was be prepared for the large range of feelings andemotions that would be expressed. This has been true not only in the phone calls and emails, but I have experienced a range of them myself this week: disappointment, sorrow, loss and even anger. Feelings are feelings: you have them, figure their source, and offer them up in prayer.

But it was my father who advised me that most of all, after all is said and done, the only REAL damage that could be done is if we love each other any less. Emotions can be raw but they are real. But let us continue to love one another through it all.

Within the hour of Fr. Fraser's resignation the Vestry was informed of this happening. Before that day was out, this entire email list was informed by me of the curate's resignation, and the basic reasons why. I wanted to do this ASAP before the rumor/gossip mill could get going. Fr. Fraser then sent his note with as much basic information as he felt was appropriate. I read the note before it was sent and was grateful that it was positive and encouraging to the people of St. John's despite this painful decision that he and his wife felt conscious bound to make. Fr. Fraser's email is included as an insert in this week's Order of Service for those not on the email list, and I address it in my Rector's Rambling in the Chronicle. Anyone who wanted more information was welcome to contact Fr. Fraser directly, call me, email me personally, or contact a vestry member (somepeople did this) so that I could answer their questions. Fr. Fraser did respond to Carl's email personally and gave me permission to forward it if I felt it was appropriate. The Vestry list received that response (withFr. Fraser's permission). The response is deeply personal, and answers questions that I couldn't answer because they are about his decision, feelings, and conscience. I am sure that anyone who wants further information can contact him directly and he will send along that response.

As for Public Relations....We have this email list, an outstanding and frequently updated website, a monthly newsletter, and a weekly bulletin all with announcements and updates. There is also my blog - usually linked at the end of my emails,and linked on the Rector's bio page on the website with my thoughts and feelings on a variety of subjects church and family related. And for the general public we have both our general YouTube video site, and an Education video site as well. If anyone needs more information please call or email us directly and we will try to get you whatever you need (assuming the information is notpersonal or confidential).

We do our best, and try to inform as many people as possible about what is going on at St. John's, using whatever appropriate forums are available. We are open to suggestions andvolunteers to put them into effect.

Feelings are feelings. Let us try not to lash out at each other, but love one another as Christ loved us, and gave himself for us.....Now off to the muddy west. I will be back Saturday evening (God willing).


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Curate has resigned

Sent to the St. John's email list yesterday.
More thoughts on this later.
Our curate, Fr. James Fraser, informed me today (11/10/08) of his and his wife's intention to join the Roman Catholic Church. Fr. Fraser has resigned his position as curate at St. John's, and they will be moving back to Maryland in the coming weeks.
This came as a surprise to me, and saddens me. I will miss his contribution to the ministry here at St. John's, as well as his comraderie as a fellow priest here with Fr. Bedford.
This will mean we will have to re-adjust our weekday service schedule (to be announced), and already some people have been suggested or have volunteered to help to continue our 20/30's group and to finish our Alpha Course for this session.
Decisions will be made in the coming weeks/months about the hiring of another curate, which will not happen before Christmas, or perhaps not even before Eastertide.
Please keep the Frasers in your prayers in their transition, and pray for St. John's as we continue in our ministry to the Greater Glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

First Snow, first Little League Board meeting.

After my first Little League Board meeting tonight, I walked out to see a light coating of snow on my car. Earlier this week it was 70 degrees!

I was elected to the Grosse Pointe Park Little League Board, and am in charge of the Concession Stand for the upcoming season.

It was great to see the "little league dads" at the meeting, and to talk baseball again!

I saw the orthopedist about the shoulder problems from this past season. He gave me some exercises, and recommended icing 1 to 2x per day. Plus no throwing, etc. for 6 weeks.
A week into it and I am already feeling some improvement (which is bad since I am tempted to use it!).

Bring on the Spring!


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another diocese leaves The Episcopal Church

This time it is the diocese that sponsored me for Ordination. This makes three in the past year or so.


Bulletin: Quincy members vote to leave Episcopal Church, align with Southern Cone
By Joe Bjordal, November 07, 2008
[Episcopal News Service, Quincy, Illinois]
A majority of delegates to the 131st annual synod of the Diocese of Quincy voted on November 7 to leave the Episcopal Church and realign the diocese under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, which covers the southern portion of South America.
The action was carried out by the passing of two resolutions. The first formally annulled accession to "the constitution and canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America."
The resolution stated that the General Convention and leaders of the Episcopal Church "have failed to uphold the teaching and authority of Holy Scripture, have challenged or belittled core doctrines of the Christian faith, have refused to conform to the agreed teaching and discipline of the Anglican faith, have refused to conform to the agreed teaching and discipline of the Anglican Communion, and have rejected the godly counsel of the leaders of the Communion."
Members of Quincy's leadership, including former diocesan bishop Keith Ackerman, who retired on November 1, have been at odds with the wider church over such theological issues as the church's attitude toward homosexuality.
The vote on the resolution to leave the Episcopal Church was taken by orders. Members of the clergy voted 41 to 14 in favor of the resolution. Lay delegates voted 54 to 12 in favor of the resolution.
The second resolution stated that the Diocese of Quincy "wishes to accept the gracious invitation extended by the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone in November, 2007, to offer membership to extra-provincial dioceses on an emergency basis."
On the resolution to join the Southern Cone, clergy voted 46 to 4 in favor. Lay delegates voted 55 to 8 to approve the resolution.
Immediately following the vote, delegates were read a letter from Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate, or national bishop, of the Southern Cone, welcoming the Diocese of Quincy into his jurisdiction.
In the letter, Venables announced that he has appointed the Rev. Canon Ed den Blaauwen, a member of Quincy's governing standing committee, as Vicar General of the diocese, in the absence of a sitting bishop.
The Southern Cone includes the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. It also includes former members of the San Joaquin and Pittsburgh dioceses of the Episcopal Church.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

More news on Church thefts.

From yesterday's Detroit News.

Thieves prey on houses of prayer
Gregg Krupa / The Detroit News
Many of the devout in Metro Detroit know the Bible says Jesus Christ both condemned and forgave thieves. But some of those who attend churches targeted by burglars recently say they are busier with the condemnation part.
And before they move on fully to the forgiving, they are organizing community watches near their churches, asking for the police to become more involved, dipping even more deeply in their pockets and offering their expertise to help secure their houses of worship.
"A lot of people felt they were violated, and I heard a lot of them say that they just could not believe that someone would stoop so low to steal from a church," said the Rev. George Williams, of St. John Neumann, a Catholic parish in Canton Township. "I mean, all we do is help people."
Thieves pilfered computer equipment and about $4,000 from the Sunday collections at St. John Neumann. The incidents are among 19 burglaries at churches in Metro Detroit reported in the media since 2006, including a fourth burglary this year at the Faith Reconciliation Tabernacle Center on Meyers in Detroit, on Sunday. Clergy and the faithful say they have begun considering sleeping in their churches or conducting nighttime services to ward off burglars -- and that it seems to matter little to the thieves whether the church is an abandoned neighborhood in Detroit or near bustling subdivisions in Canton or Clinton Township.
Some people have had enough. They are getting out of their houses, watching church properties and demanding that police and government officials engage the problem.
Like much in life, the faithful say, it is a story of redemption, of creating good from evil.
"People were really upset when they stole Jesus," said MaryAnn Herold, who attends the Church of the Messiah, in Detroit. "But I feel like it has brought people closer in the neighborhood, again."
After a burglary at the Episcopal church, when thieves removed copper pipes and left significant water damage, burglars returned in June for other items of value and a green statue of Jesus Christ. The "Green Jesus," as it has become known in the neighborhood near Belle Isle, was recovered in an alley. And the condemnation quickly yielded to action.
The Rev. Barry Randolph, the pastor at the Church of the Messiah, Herold and others organized Citizens United for Safety (CUFS), which includes six churches on the East Side and in Harper Woods. Residents Downriver have expressed an interest in starting a chapter.
"Local government, law enforcement, churches, business leaders and average citizens have come together to combat the problems at the churches and in the neighborhoods," Randolph said, as he prepared for a visit by Mayor Kenneth Cockrel Jr. and Detroit police officials at the church on Tuesday. "We just decided to be proactive and not sit back and wait for what was going to happen."
"It's giving people in the neighborhood more hope," Herold said. "We were just feeling deserted by the police, but not so much, anymore. They are doing a lot to help us now."
The Rev. Williams said in Canton, after word spread about the theft, parishioners responded immediately -- even if it was as simple as remembering to lock doors and activate the alarm system.
"I was amazed at how many people connected to the church have a security business," Williams said. "I got a lot of phone calls!"
The irony of burglaries in churches has been long noted, and social scientists say it is unclear whether there has actually been an increase in the activity.
"I think these incidents are simply a reflection of the condition of the surrounding areas," said Irshad Altheimer, a professor of criminal justice at Wayne State University. "If the rest of the community is failing, in some way, the problem is going to spill over to an institution like a school -- in the case of school violence -- or a church."
At St. Ambrose, in Grosse Pointe Park, 80-year-old, handcrafted lanterns were removed from the outside walls. After checking local scrap yards to no avail, police began to wonder if another motive is at play.
"There is some possibility that it was a collector who may have taken them for the purpose of putting them on display at their own home, or to sell," said Lt. James Smith, of the Grosse Pointe Park police.
At Most Holy Trinity, in Detroit, the suspicion is that the perpetrators are a gang of drug addicts employed by a supervising criminal who operates in the neighborhood.
"The guy who fences this stuff for the street people, the media publicity put so much pressure on him and he became so alarmed that he came right to the office offering to sell some of the stuff back to me," said the pastor, Rev. Russell Kohler said.
Kohler said he reported the development to the police. But he said they did not arrest the man.
Matt Baka, who is among those trying to preserve St. Albertus in a partially abandoned neighborhood on the East Side, says police told him thieves simply walk to a scrap yard down the street and sell the rain spouts and copper roofing from the church.
Detroit police said that while they have made an arrest in a theft at St. Albertus, they are still investigating the incidents at Most Holy Trinity. As for the purported "fence" near St. Albertus, no arrests have been made, they said.
"I personally think it is an organized thing," said Deputy Ron Willette, of the St. Clair Shores Police Department, who attends Most Holy Trinity, and stopped by one day last week to talk with Kohler about the burglaries. "It's pretty mind-boggling that someone would want to come in here and desecrate a church and steal from it."


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rector's Rambling for All Saints Sunday

This Sunday is near the top of the list for having GREAT hymns. The rousing melodies, combined with wonderful texts uplifts the hearts and minds to the greater glory of God!
It is easy for us to admire the saints from a distance. We like to think they are people who lived long ago and far away, living lives that are of almost fairytale proportion. But the greater reality is that not only are many of the ‘saints’ of more recent memory, but are local as well. Here in Detroit the founder of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Fr. Solanus Casey (d. 1957), is up for being declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Our own first rector, Fr. Armitage, was elected assistant and then the successor to the First Bishop of Wisconsin (Bl. Jackson Kemper) who is in the Episcopal Book of Saints (Lesser Feasts and Fasts), and was eulogized at his own funeral here at St. John’s by another Episcopal Church saint, Bl. James DeKoven. And one of our parishioners was among the founding sisters of the Episcopal Community of St. Mary whose Mother Superior is being considered to the Episcopal Book of Saints.
We are ALL called to be saints—to live lives of heroic virtue by God’s Grace. The word Saint comes from the Latin word Sanctus, which means Holy. We are called to be Holy, and God is helping us through Word and Sacrament to do so.
The late Fr. Fredrick Faber, author of the great hymn Faith of our Fathers, wrote a book on how to become holy called All for Jesus: The Easy Ways of Divine Love (republished by Sophia Institute Press 2000). In it he writes “I do not mean to say we can easily be equal to saints. No! But what I say is that the ways in which they loved God and served the interests of Jesus...are easily in our power, if we choose to adopt them. In a word, while the saints differ in almost everything else, there are three things in which they all agree: eagerness for the glory of God; touchiness about the interests of Jesus; and anxiety for the salvation of souls. In these three things consists sympathy with Jesus, and sympathy is at once the fruit of love, and love is sanctity. And a saint is simply one who loves Jesus above the common run of pious men and has had unusual gifts given him in return.” (p. 30). May we find and embrace all three!


Monday, November 03, 2008

It's started!!!

All Christmas Music, all the time, on a local radio station. 52 days before Christmas.

Pre-Advent music???


You decide who is right....

Jesus' words....

Jesus saith unto him "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father , but by me. (John 14:6)

Katherine Schori, Presiding Bishop's words

Jefferts Schori replied that like most Christians, she believes Jesus died for "the whole world." But his life and resurrection did not sever the promise God made to Jews and to Muslims, she added, and those groups still have access to salvation. "I see evidence of holiness in people who are not Christians. I have to assume in some way God is present and important in those people who may not consciously know Jesus. And it's really God's problem to figure out how to deal with that," she said, to surprised laughter and applause. "My problem is to be the best Christian I can be and to share what I know of the power of Jesus in my own life." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 3 Nov 08)

My faith is with Jesus! I'll take Him at His Word(s)

You decide who is right - Jesus or Ms. Schori.....