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

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)