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, March 28, 2009


After 4 1/2 years of training, they did it! Black Belts!

Yu Dan Sam and Yu Dan Andrew Kelly in the house!

Video of the big day can be found here


Friday, March 27, 2009

Big day today for Sam and Andrew!!!

Later today, Friday, Sam and Andrew have their formal Black Belt test. This is after their 5 hour tests a few weeks ago.

Instructor Santi believes they are ready (she wouldn't let them test otherwise), but there will be black belt instructors from other clubs to prove themselves to!

Sam tests at 4:30pm. Andrew tests about 5:10 or so. Sam is first, Andrew third (of 6 testing).

Then at 7pm is the Club demonstration night, where they will be awarded their black belts (D.v.).

This is the culmination of 4.5 years of work by the boys.
Sam is 12, Andrew 11. Andrew will be one of the youngest ever to make it in this club, along with the Instructor's daughter a few years ago, and another boy last year.

William is about a year away from his black belt. He will be 9 if he does!

If you would like to come, it is at Windmill Pointe Park in Grosse Pointe Park.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

A rule of life

I found this, recently re-read in my nightstand book. It is a great outline for a priest's rule of life. And could certainly be applicable with some tweaking to that of the laity.

Practical Suggestions – The Soul of the Apostolate

1) Let the following conviction become deeply impressed upon your mind; namely, that a soul cannot lead an interior life without the schedule (and then do violence to yourself, if necessary, to keep it, and control the flood of your activities) and without the firm resolution to keep it all the time, especially where the rigorously fixed hour of rising is concerned.
2) Base your interior life on its absolute necessary element: morning mental prayer. St. Theresa said that, “The peson who is fully determined to make a half hour’s mental prayer every morning, cost what it may, has already traveled half his journey.” Without mental prayer, the day will almost unavoidably be a tepid one.
3) Mass, Holy Communion, and the recitation of The Office are liturgical foundations which offer inexhaustible resources for the interior life and are to be exploited with an ever increasing faith and fervor.
4) The particular and general examinations of conscience, should, like mental prayer and the liturgical life, help us to develop custody of the heart in “watching” and “praying” (vigilate et orate) are combined.
5) This leads to a need for incessant prayer by means of spiritual Communions and ejaculatory prayers of which are so easy, to one who wants to practice them, een in the thick of the most absorbing occupations, and which offer themselves in such a pleasing variation, appropriate to the particular needs of every present moment, to the present situation, dangers, difficulties, weariness, deceptions, and so on.
6) Devout study of Sacred Scripture, especially of the New Testament, out to find a place each day, or at least several times a week in the life of a priest. Spiritual reading every afternoon is a daily duty which no generous soul will ever neglect. The mind needs to be brought face to face with supernatural truths, and with the dogmas that generate piety, and with their moral consequences, so easily.
7) Thanks to this custody of the heart, which will serve as its remote preparation, weekly confession will infallibly be inbued with sincere contrition, with true sorrow, and with an ever more loyal and more resolutely firm purpose of amendment.
8) The yearly retreat is very useful, but it is not enough. A monthly retreat (taking up an entire day, or a least a half day), devoted to a serious effort to recover the equilibrium of the soul is almost indisepensible to the active worker.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

St. John's in the Free Press today

Although not mentioned in the article in today's Free Press (Section B1), this photo appeared with the caption - "St. John’s Episcopal Church, next to Comerica Park, could run into parking troubles on Good Friday."

Nice picture.

The article is found here


And I have been invited to speak on the Dick Purtan show tomorrow (Thursday) at 7:40am.


Very important letter to the parish

March 18, 2009

Dear St. John’s Members –

I am writing you about a very important matter concerning the present and future of St. John’s Church.
We have three main sources of income at St. John’s: member contributions, parking lot income, and income & growth from our endowment fund. Parishioners continue to make their contributions (for which we are grateful), and parking income is only trickling in as of now. This income increases in summer due to Tiger baseball.
The stock market decline has put us in a precarious situation. The fund has lost a large portion of its value, and the estimated income is also lower in our downward economy. This is the time of the year when we have especially depended upon the endowment, but now we just cannot use it without permanently damaging its corpus. And the market predictions for the rest of the year lead us to believe that we cannot use the endowment for the remainder of 2009.
The Vestry is being pro-active in this situation. The clergy and organists have not received pay raises this year. The budget, already one of the most economical and streamline of the larger parishes in the diocese, is being pared back even more. Projects that do not have a dedicated source of funding are being delayed. The monthly newsletter will be published every other month. The Corpus Christi Festival is being pared back, and every service contract and expenditure is being evaluated and re-bid in order to save even more.

But we need your help in several ways.
· We need immediate gifts totaling $30,000 to cover our urgent cash flow needs, especially until parking income increases in summer. Every gift helps!
· We need to schedule and staff fundraisers to help us to raise at least $20,000 in two or three large events.
· We will need to raise an addition $30,000 by the end of the year by increasing membership through both reincorporating the lapsed and adding new members, as well as any other creative ways we can to raise income.

This is a very tall order. But I do believe that we as a parish can do it. For a very long time we have been able to rely upon the gifts that our predecessors have left for us in order to support the mission and ministry of this parish. And in the coming years we will once again be able to do so.

But now is the time for us to step up to support and work together to move forward in that mission and ministry! I hope that there will be several people who will be able to make very large sacrificial gifts, and that many more will also make their gifts to help us with the upcoming cash flow problem.
And as we move into summer and fall we will find ourselves renewed as we continue to glorify God, equip the saints for the work of the ministry, and share the Good News that Jesus Christ is Lord - as we have done for 150 years, and by His Grace will do so for many more.

I look forward to your response and support of the parish in the coming days and weeks.

Under His Mercy,

Fr. Steven J. Kelly, SSC

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Getting caught up in the pop culture

Today, instead of taking some time out for lunch, I drove over the the Motown Museum and yes, I shook hands with Barry Gordy Jr., (founder of Motown Records), Smokey Robinson, and the contestants from the TV show American Idol who were in town shooting a segment for next week's show.

I shook hands with all as they left the building and went towards their cars. (I am in the top picture, in the background, on the far right.)

Not all the contestants were there. Megan Joy and Michael Sarver were no where to be seen.

Now back to our regularly scheduled Lenten Observance....


Drafted by....The Tigers!

No, not those Tigers....

Grosse Pointe Park Little League Tigers

Sam and Andrew were drafted by Manager Matt Reno for the Major League (Little League) team.

Sure will be nice to not have to buy team apparrel to help coach (in 4 years I have coached teams named the Cubs, Astros, Giants, and Reds and have the hats to prove it), since I already have Detroit Tiger stuff!

Practice starts in April!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some days are busier than others

Wednesdays in Lent are busy at St. John's, and this one especially so.

Fr. Bedford said Mass at 12:15pm with 13 in attendance, where I had the privilege of being the server. 5pm Evening Prayer had 6 people, and at the 6pm Mass that I said we had 7 people present (3 people attending both EP and Mass)

We got to say Mass around this

Scaffolding up in the Sanctuary, and in the Chapel they were still refinishing the floor. New lighting is also going in in Chapel and Church this week (a gift from the estate of Robin Kedzo).

At 4pm the office really started hopping. I returned from visiting David Boulton in Farmington Hills, being up with a broken leg. Andy Baetz came to work on Alpha planning. Andre Smith and Jose were setting up for the course in the Undercroft. The Oates & Lees were already downstairs putting together dinner. Altar Guild directress Virginia Burton was finishing up an afternoon of organizing in the sacristy. Treasurer Dave Schafer also appeared soon after to work on financial reports. We also had visitors come to look at the Church, looking for a place to be married. I put the "I am primarily interested in seeing you get into heaven, so I will see you in Church this Sunday" on them. We will see if God speaks to them in that way.

The Alpha Course began with Dinner at 6:30pm, as did my Rector's Forum.

All this, in addition to the usual answering phone calls, emails, and mail - and getting the Chronicle off electronically to the printer - a Wednesday noon deadline.

A busy day. A good day. Deo Gratias.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just a note....

...if I haven't mentioned your favorite cause on my blog, please don't assume my position either way.

Thank you

Meanwhile, back in Philly....

Actually the Philadelphia Mainline (the suburbs running along Lancaster Ave, and the Paoli Local train line - the Main Line), my old parish, where I served as curate, continues its legal wranglings.

The parish I served at as a curate, the diocese that ordained me, and the last diocese and parish I served in, have all left the Episcopal Church....sigh.

It is interesting the standing committee's desire to re-establish a parish in that location. In a few square miles you have St. David's, Wayne and Redeemer, Bryn Mawr (established, old blue blood liberal parishes), as well as one other faithful parish (All Saints, Wynnewood - 1928 BCP parish also in battles with diocese), and parishes just up the road all directions (St. Mary's Wayne, St. Mary's Ardmore, St. George's Haverford, Christ Church Villanova and St. Martin's Radnor) none of which are anywhere near capacity.
But the powers that be would rather have an empty building to prove a point, rather than let the traditionalists have/purchase a building and continue to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness according to the same faith that the founders and subsequent generations sacrificed for! (not the new ECUSA religion).

BTW - great picture of the sanctuary at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont. For some reason it won't upload to the site, so you will have to click through at the end of this article
Court asked to remove renegade Episcopal priest
By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer
After biding its time for years, the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania has asked a civil court to remove the Rev. David Moyer as rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, and to declare the diocese as owner of the renegade parish's property.
Moyer, a vocal critic of liberal trends in the Episcopal Church, has served as the parish's rector and lived in its rectory since 1989, even though he was deposed as a priest nearly seven years ago.
Last week, the diocese informed him and Good Shepherd's vestry that it had petitioned Montgomery County Orphans Court to order the parish to transfer the title to its buildings, as well as all other assets, to the diocese.
It also asked the court to "restrain and enjoin" Moyer "from further use and occupancy" of the site, which fronts on Lancaster Avenue.
Founded in 1870, Good Shepherd has never formally broken with the 55,000-member diocese or the 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church.
Angered by the denomination's ordination of women and gays, however, the traditionalist "high church" Good Shepherd has withheld its parish assessments from the diocese for more than a decade. It sends no representatives to the annual diocesan convention.
It also has barred diocesan bishops from preaching or conducting confirmation in its church.
In 2002, Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr., the diocesan bishop, said Moyer had "broken communion" with the Episcopal Church and deposed, or defrocked, him as an Episcopal priest.
Moyer not only refused to leave Good Shepherd - which continues to pay his salary - but sued Bennison for damages in Montgomery County Court, seeking to have his defrocking overturned. He lost that suit in October, which opened the way for the diocese to remove him.
Since 2005, Moyer has served as a bishop in the Traditional Anglican Communion, part of a worldwide network of conservative Anglicans.
Yesterday he and his attorney, John Lewis, declined to comment on the filing, saying they were studying their options. Moyer and the three parish vestry members named as respondents have 30 days to reply.
"What does it mean to be Episcopalian if you don't pay and don't acknowledge the leadership?" Edward Rehill, the diocesan chancellor, said yesterday. "It means you've left the church."
Rehill, chief legal officer for the diocese, said that it was the "expressed intention of the [diocesan] standing committee to reestablish an Episcopal church on that site," and that it was "unlikely" the committee would agree to sell the site to the congregation.
The standing committee has been serving as the chief administrative body of the church since October 2007, when the Episcopal Church suspended Bennison on charges he concealed his brother's sexual abuse of a minor girl many years ago.
In July, a church court ordered Bennison - who had defrocked Moyer - removed as diocesan bishop. He is appealing that verdict.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Another Church shooting

From the St. Louis Post Dispatch

Church shooting suspect has mental illness from Lyme disease
Monday, Mar. 09 2009
MARYVILLE — A man suspected of killing the Rev. Fred Winters during a church service in Maryville on Sunday morning had developed mental illness from a tick bite, his family has said.

Police did not release the name of the suspect, who was seriously injured in a struggle with members of the congregation after the shooting of Winters at the First Baptist Church.

But a source close to the case confirmed late Sunday that it is Terry Joe Sedlacek, 27, who was the subject of a Post-Dispatch story in August about how Lyme disease had attacked his brain.
His home in the first block of Zachary Court in Troy, Ill., about three miles from the church, was searched late Sunday afternoon by police, who seized some gun cases and a computer. They would not comment.

Vehicle records show that Sedlacek is part-owner of a Jeep Wrangler parked outside the crime scene.
Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent said that the vehicle, which was kept under guard, was believed to have been used by the attacker. Trent described the gunman as a 27-year-old who lives in Troy with no criminal record and no state firearms-owner identification.
Trent declined to confirm the suspect's name, pending filing of charges.
Winters, 45, was shot about 8:30 a.m. by a man who walked down the aisle during the service, exchanged words with Winters and fired his .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun four times before it jammed, police said.
The first shot shredded Winters' Bible, sending paper shreds into the air like "confetti," Trent said. One of three more shots hit Winters in the chest. Nobody else was hit.
Two church members wrestled the attacker down as he slashed them, and himself, with a knife.
The attacker and one of the wounded congregation members, Terry Bullard, 39, of Troy, were treated at nearby Anderson Hospital and airlifted to a St. Louis hospital for surgery, officials said. Both were reported to be in serious condition. Winters died at Anderson.
The other injured congregation member, Keith Melton, 51, of Troy, was treated at a hospital and released. Melton could not be reached, but his home answering machine has a message thanking callers for their concern.
Trent called Bullard and Melton "heroic" for stopping something that could have been worse.
Police and some congregation members said the shooter had no known connection to the 1,200-member church at 7710 Illinois Route 162, a short distance west of Interstate 55-70.
Trent said the motive for the shooting was unknown."We haven't spoken with him yet," Trent said at midafternoon. "He's still in surgery." He said the gunman suffered a stab wound to his neck.
It appeared that nobody was home late Sunday afternoon at the house on Zachary, where a state trooper stood guard until other officers arrived, ostensibly with a search warrant.
The home is listed as the address of Sedlacek and his mother, who co-owns the Jeep.
Neighbors told a reporter that Sedlacek appears to be mentally ill and would sometimes stand in the street and shout obscenities for no apparent reason.
He was the subject of an Aug. 6, 2008, Post-Dispatch article about his battle with mental illness attributed to Lyme disease. The man's mother, Ruth Abernathy, said her son, an avid hunter and outdoorsman, may have contracted the disease after being bitten by an infected tick on a family farm in the late 1990s.
He became ill during his junior year at Edwardsville High School and had taken several medications, including anti-seizure drugs, to combat the disease. It nearly killed him in 2003, but he survived after a series of treatments and was reported to have lesions on his brain.
Abernathy could not be reached for comment Sunday.
The attack stunned about 150 church members attending the early service. "Some thought it was some type of skit or program at the time," Trent said.
Police will review video and audio tapes made of the service, Trent said.
Church member Linda Cunningham said she was sitting in the back of the church when the shooter walked up the center aisle.
Winters' wife, Cindy Lee, and their daughters, Alysia Grace, 14, and Cassidy Hope, 12, were in the church but not in the sanctuary when the shooting occurred, church members said. The couple were married in 1987.
Some churchgoers initially believed the shooting was part of a dramatic sketch — something that is common during Winters' services.
After the first shot was fired, Cunningham said, "All you could see was confetti."
Andy and Kris Nothnagel, of nearby Glen Carbon, were sitting about five rows from the pastor when the gunman opened fire.
They, too, said they thought it was part of a play."We didn't know if it was real," Andy Nothnagel said. The couple, who have belonged to the church for about 12 years, said they had never seen the gunman before.
"He didn't look scary," Kris Nothnagel said. "He could have blended in with anybody."


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sharing a random photo

My college fraternity house, in the snow, in West Philadelphia.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

ReFocusing begins.

What am I doing Tuesday and Wednesday this week?

Here is a preview


Be ready, St. John's Parishioners - to participate April 24 and 25!!!!!!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Paul Harvey - Rest in Peace

Longtime radio broadcaster Paul Harvey passed away yesterday.

My father sends along this remembrance of Mr. Harvey.

It seems like yesterday that Mr. Harvey juggled then 7 year old Steven Kelly and 5 year old Deborah on his knee while preparing for one of his daily noontime broadcasts. Steven is now pastor of St John's Episcopal Church in Detroit and Deborah a successful writer and marketing executive. It was a great experience to have worked with him in my Chicago ABC Radio Network sales days . In even the most difficult times for radio sales, advertisers were still lining up for 52 week sponsorships of Paul Harvey News. What broadcast sales executive would not have loved that?
And, what a thrill to share a reception area with Paul Harvey. Imagine running into Senators, Governors, religious leaders and Corporate Board Chairmen day to day waiting to meet with Mr. Harvey. The memory of the day I struck up a casual conversation with Billy Graham still lingers like it was yesterday. Now that Mr. Harvey has joined his beloved wife Angel in passing a great career has come to an end. Let's all keep Mr. Harvey and his family in our prayers in gratitude for what they shared with us all over his 70 years of broadcasting.
Joe Kelly
Triad Consulting Corporation