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

Monday, April 13, 2009

What a wonderful weekend!

The Triduum is always wonderfully theologically satisfying - and combined with Easter absolutely exhausting!

Maundy Thursday was good, albeit a small attendance. I often think about how our Lord's Last Supper was only with his inner circle, and Maundy Thursday always had that intimate feel, no matter where I go. After the service we had the garden watch, which I had to dash away from after a frantic call from home. Meg had fallen off a chair and bit through her tongue. Lots of blood, but thankfully not completely severed. But a stress anyway (now 4 days later she is well on the way to complete healing).

Good Friday had the potential for complete chaos. It was also Opening Day which is a drunken carnival in downtown Detroit! We stood fast and had our 12 to 3 service despite the 1pm start for the game. We took advantage of the conflict by speaking with the media and getting some P.R. over the whole thing. I had a 4 minute live interview on WJR with Frank Beckmann, and had some mentions in the Detroit News, Free Press, and by WJR host/columnist Paul W. Smith. The jist of my discussions was that although we were not happy about the scheduling of opening day on Good Friday, we understood the reality that even on the day Jesus was crucified much of the city went on with their business too. And we invited people to come even if it was only for the first portion of the service before the game.

Although some of our parishioners stayed away due to the perceived difficulties of getting to St. John's due to the game (those who game said it took longer, but access was easy with our side gate open on the service drive), we had LOTS of visitors who stayed for some of the service. Probably a 50% increase in people who came and stayed for a part of the service. And we had many more donations from people who came in to use the bathrooms!
One strange 'highlight' is that at the end of one of the choir's solemn pieces, the F-15 flyover occured from the national anthem next door!

The Easter Vigil attendance was also smaller than last year - we had a slew of baptisms last year. This year we had one - Ray Spencer. Ray came to St. John's the first time because of Sharon Schafer's funeral and has been taking the Alpha Course.
I LOVE the liturgy of the Easter Vigil!

And for Easter we had good crowds for both 8am and 10am Services. I have already posted some video from Good Friday on my youtube channel www.youtube.com/stjohnspriest , and will get around to posting Easter stuff in the next day or two (day off today). The choir (with brass) was wonderful on Friday and Sunday (and the quartet Saturday). They are such a blessing to us.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia!