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

Saturday, November 15, 2008

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).

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