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

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

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