Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 50 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 impending hockey arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rector's Rambling about the upcoming General Convention

Over the next three weeks things will be particularly hard for us as Traditional Anglicans in the Episcopal Church and at times embarrassing.

Every three years The Episcopal Church in the United States meets in a legislative gathering called The General Convention.

The reason this will be hard and embarrassing is that in recent decades the General Convention has gone from being a divinely inspired work of Church administration and legislation to a gathering of special interests groups that have chipped away at the foundations of the Church and her biblical moorings.

The idea of a Church electing delegates to represent each diocese and to have a bi-cameral house with bishops as well as clergy and laity was deeply inspired by the new government formed for the nascent United States. The understanding is that although there may be differences in ‘churchmanship’ (differences in how we worship), there was an understanding that all involved in that convention believed that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that they held a common understanding that the Bible is the Word of God and contains all things necessary for salvation.

Unfortunately in recent decades more and more clergy and laity, elected to be deputies, as well as some bishops, have deviated from that common understanding and belief. And as successive triennial gatherings occurred more and more deviations from “the faith once delivered to the saints” were legislated in or out of effect. Deviations to the biblically sound teaching of the Book of Common Prayer, deviations to the Sacrament of Ordination and now the attempt to redefine Matrimony has put the Episcopal Church outside of the Christian doctrines as the Church has received it!

A few General Conventions ago we printed up bumper stickers proclaiming that “Many Episcopalians still believe the Bible is true”. This was a small attempt to let other Christians know that even though there were going to hear many horrible things about the Episcopal Church from the secular media as they covered the General Convention, in fact there are many in the Church who still believe in THE FAITH.

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY FOR THE CHURCH that she may return to The Faith as has been revealed and entrusted to her!

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

GPPLL DOUBLE A CHAMPIONS!

Here is the video of the celebration!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IHhsaFJs-c

Congrats to William and The Rangers!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Great news for Detroit and Detroit Police!

The DPD Mounted Unit is back!!! I was their chaplain when an administration who wouldn't know police work if it snuck up on them and bit them!

I will have to stop by tomorrow when I drop the boys off at rowing to see the new digs!

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June 25, 2009
Mounted Patrol back in Detroit after 4-year absence

BY NICQUEL TERRY

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

D'wayne Stewart of Eastpointe felt a sense of warmth from Detroit police on Wednesday as he camped out on Belle Isle with his family for the 51st annual Target Fireworks.
Stewart, 32, said he was pleased to see officers riding horses across the island -- something he hadn't witnessed since his childhood.
"I loved it and would like to see more of it," Stewart said. "It makes the police seem more accessible."
The Detroit Police Department resumed limited use of the Mounted Patrol on Wednesday after a 4-year absence.
The Detroit Police Foundation provided money for the Mounted Patrol operations to return, though the foundation declined to say how much money was involved. The donations are to cover the costs of food, equipment and medical supplies for Mounted Patrol horses.
The Mounted Patrol -- which includes two sergeants, four police officers and three American quarter horses named Almo, Sunny and Cochise -- is to work events on Belle Isle and along the RiverWalk.
Mounted Patrol Sgt. Eric Eide said the department hopes the community will view police in a more positive light when they're on horses.
"I believe it's the most versatile tool in the whole department," Eide said.
On horses "you're highly visible. ... While kids are petting the horse, you can also be deterring crime."
Eide said horses are also more cost efficient than police cars, and they can maneuver through crowds quicker.
Howard Robinson, who set up a picnic for his family Wednesday morning on Belle Isle, said his children were thrilled when the horses passed by.
"I feel more comfortable with the police on horses," said Robinson, 56, of Detroit. "If you need assistance, they are right there."
Contact NICQUEL TERRY: 313-222-8774 or nterry@freepress.com

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Catching up on baseball AND rowing

It has been a busy spring because of Little League Baseball!

I was elected to the board of our local little league, and in charge of the concession stand. This has kept Jennifer and I busy, particularly in the beginning Jennifer did lots of planning and organizing. Since then I have done most of the shopping - they have gotten to know me pretty well at Sam's Club and Dearborn Meats!

Sam and Andrew's team had an aweful year. We only won 3 games out of 18, including three play-off losses. In addition to this, despite Andrew having a team leading batting average and on base percentage he wasn't always an every inning player, didn't get to pitch except once in the second to last game, and never caught in a game (he caught in every game, most innings, last year). We did have other good catchers on the team. 5 kids on the team, all with lower batting averages and on-base percentages made the tournament teams in the 10, 11, and 12 year old groups but Andrew did not. I am really annoyed by this and will have to consider whether Andrew should bother to play little league at all next year. He perhaps should just play Fed Ball.
Sam got to pitch quite a bit, mostly as a finisher, and developed a wicked curve ball that had kids reaching out and swinging at air! At the beginning of the year Sam was talking about this being his last year playing baseball since it is the last year, age-wise, he can play little league. But he was greatly encouraged by the assistant coach Dave Feys in his pitching and is considering playing again next year.
Here is a video of Sam pitching this year
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uznbMcD_rc
And Andrew playing third base
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_XyUn0FPlc&feature=channel
I didn't get a chance to video tape them much because I was the scorekeeper for the team.

William's team is having a GREAT run! They are in game three of the Double A local little league world series, having split the first two games. William's bat was ice cold all season, but when the play offs started so did his bat! He averages 2 or more hits a game since then, and for multiple bases too. And he has been pitching as well. And of course, winning is fun!
Here is William hitting
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zuvWH8Posg&feature=channel
and William pitching
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvm5Wqd5Dxo&feature=channel

Sam and Andrew have started rowing. They are taking a class on learning to row at the Detroit Boat Club's crew team. The DBC proper has been closed a long time, but the rowing team continues to use the crumbling building. This is very exciting for me since I was a rower in high school and college. They are really enjoying it.
The question is, will they be as interested in the Spring when practices are at 5:30am???
The boys rowing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeQFic3UpmI&feature=channel
The Detroit Boat Club building tour
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBTfCN99-Bc&feature=channel

So that catches us up on the boys - baseball and rowing.
Now off to do some hospital calling....

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Atheists repent?

Okay - we believe in one form of holy repentance from sin, but the Atheists apparently told the Free Press reporter one thing about not appealing, and on the same day appealed to the appeals court to have all the judges hear the case, not just those who ruled on it. Either the person speaking with the reporter was misinformed or lied, or they weren't going to and have now repented and are doing it anyway.

UPDATE - it appears the American Atheists Inc. are no longer appealing but the local person (who gave the organization 'standing' in Detroit), and the lawyer, are going forward with the case.

So, we wait again for more legal wrangling.....

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No understanding of Catholic orders by ECUSA.

Once again the leadership of the Episcopal Church has proven that it can say in the creeds that it believes the Catholic Faith, and yet have no understanding of the catholic nature of the sacrament of ordination! Besides the attempted introduction of women into Holy Orders (being Catholic certainly means NOT trying to unilaterally change a sacrament), but now they have undertaken a ridiculous position of removing those who move from ECUSA to another part of the worldwide Communion - effectly putting ECUSA out of Communion with the rest of Anglicanism. To remove them from the ministry is to say they are no longer recognized as clergy. So if the bishop of Nigeria says you are a priest or bishop, then you are for ALL of the Anglican Communion....except ECUSA. God help us!

Of course, this is most sorrowfully felt by me because one of the latest victims of this piss-poor theology is my own Bishop MacBurney, who is being removed.
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[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced on June 12 that she had accepted the renunciations of David C. Bane and Edward MacBurney.Both men told the Presiding Bishop by letter in March that they intended to affiliate with another Anglican province, according to a release issued by Jefferts Schori's office. Bane is the resigned (retired) bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia and MacBurney is the resigned (retired) bishop of the Diocese of Quincy. The two were not deposed and the actions do not affect their standings in other provinces, the release said."They are being removed from ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church 'for causes which do not affect (their) moral character,' " the release said, citing the words of the church's voluntary renunciation canon (III.12.7(a)). Jefferts Schori notified Bane and MacBurney on June 12, the release said, noting that the actions came "with the full support of her Council of Advice, and under the authority of, Title III Canon 12 section 7 of The Episcopal Church."During a news conference after the House of Bishops meeting in March, Jefferts Schori had expressed "great sadness" when asked about a March 11 letter by Bane, notifying her that he had joined the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone and intended to serve as an assistant bishop in the breakaway Diocese of Pittsburgh. He also works the bishop-in-residence at the Anglican Church of the Redeemer in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where he lives.Bane resigned from Southern Virginia on February 11, 2006 after years of division in the diocese culminated with a report from three Episcopal Church bishops said that the diocese needed "deep systemic change."Bane said in an interview with Episcopal News Service that the invitation to work in the Diocese of Pittsburgh came to him after he tried to find a way to minister in the Episcopal Church, but was rebuffed at every turn. "I was not wanted in ministry no matter how hard I tried," he said.Bane added that he "never desired" to leave the Episcopal Church and is sad and disappointed both with his status and with the divisions in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion."I don't have any big vendetta or anger," he said. "I am just sad and disappointed."The "most confusing thing," Bane said, has been the "zero contact" he has had from any member of the House of Bishops as he faced the prospect of finding a new ministry after leaving Southern Virginia. "There must be something about this I don't understand," he said.Bane said he is now a member of the Southern Cone but is awaiting the outcome of what is being called the June 22-25 "inaugural provincial assembly" of the proposed Anglican Church in North America to see what role he will have to play in that organization.The meeting is due to ratify a proposed constitution and set of canons. Deposed Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, whom Bane is currently assisting, is expected to become the group's archbishop. The entity is proposed as an alternative Anglican Communion province in North America for those Anglicans who disagree with the theological and biblical interpretation stances of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. While the Anglican Church in North America has not begun the process of requesting recognition from the Anglican Communion, the conservative Anglican leaders and former Episcopalians who make up the GAFCON/FCA Primates' Council of the Global Anglican Future Conference said in April that they recognize the entity "as genuinely Anglican and recommends that Anglican Provinces affirm full communion with the ACNA."MacBurney's renunciation follows a series of events over the last two years that put him at odds with the Episcopal Church. In September 2008, the Presiding Bishop announced that she had removed the inhibition she had place on MacBurney earlier in the year after he had he conducted confirmations in the Diocese of San Diego without the permission of Bishop Jim Mathes. She admonished MacBurney to not make any other such visits and to apologize in writing to Mathes "for not respecting his authority as Bishop of that Diocese."Southern Cone Archbishop Gregory Venables had invited MacBurney to perform confirmations at an Episcopal congregation in the Diocese of San Diego that claimed to be affiliated with the Southern Cone. MacBurney agreed and did so in June 2007 at Holy Trinity Parish.MacBurney could not be reached for comment.
-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

A neat week.

This past week has certainly been one chock full of things!

Sunday - 320 tickets sold, and more than that present at 10am Mass, then off to Comerica Park to see the Choir sing and the Tigers win!

Monday - drive to Maumee, Ohio to do a funeral.

Tuesday - Sam and Andrew's team get their third win of the season, over the Red Sox (finish regular season 3 -12)

Thursday - Corpus Christi Service - BEAUTIFUL!!! William's team wins another playoff game.

Friday - Day off, Little League playoff game (Sam and Andrew) - beaten by 12 runs UGH. Red Wings lose. Detroit Tigers win in Pburg however.

Saturday - More baseball - William's team wins again by 3. Sam and Andrew's team loses by 12 again! UGH. Neighbors coming over later for BBQ so off to vacuum and cut lawn.

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Concession by the American Atheists Inc?

From Thursday's Free Press...I won't believe it until the final check is in our hands!
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June 11, 2009
Group won’t appeal ruling on churches in Detroit cleanup
By JOHN GALLAGHER
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER
The American Atheists Inc. group said today it would not appeal a ruling against its attempt to bar Detroit from including churches in a general downtown cleanup program.
The New Jersey-based group had filed a suit in federal court after the city’s Downtown Development Authority created a façade improvement program to fix up downtown prior to Super Bowl XL in 2006. About 100 local property owners participated in the matching grant program, including three downtown churches.
The atheist organization lost most of its case on the local level, and two weeks ago, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out its appeal entirely. The court said the façade improvement grants were no different than extended fire protection or sewer lines to a church.
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200990611059

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Monday, June 01, 2009

St. John's 2, American Atheists 0

You may know that a few years ago St. John’s did some façade improvementswith the promise of a matching grant from the downtown developmentauthority. This was a part of a large program to fix up buildings andparking lot edges in the neighborhood, and there were 3 Churches involved inthe projects as well as dozens of secular properties.

After the work was done, our reimbursement was stopped by a lawsuit by the American Atheists organization, arguing it was an unconstitutional to help Churches.
St. John’s parishioner and legal counsel John Nicholson put is in touch with the Alliance Defense Fund, a group that defends people and organizations for free in cases such as this. He took on the case, and we won a majority ofthe reimbursement, with the local judge carving out some exceptions. The American Atheists appealed, so the ADF also asked to court to reconsider the portion that was not reimbursed to us as well.

There is a chance the atheist may appeal to the Supreme Court. We will have to see. Offer up a prayer for that, and for the conversion of those souls who sued us (the atheists).

Below is a press story from the AP and an on-line agency
http://www.onenewsnow.com/Legal/Default.aspx?id=547034
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“Atheists lose lawsuit over Detroit's downtown aid
Associated Press and Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow) - 5/31/2009 4:15:00 AM

DETROIT, MI - A federal appeals court says the city of Detroit did not violate the Constitution when it partially reimbursed churches for renovations before the Super Bowl and other major sporting events.
After winning a bid to host the 2006 Super Bowl, the city in 2003 created a development program to reimburse up to half the costs of refurbishing downtown buildings and parking lots. Three churches received 6 percent, or$737,000, of more than $11 million allocated for projects.
American Atheists sued, claiming the city could not include religious organizations in the program. But the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Detroit intended to bolster its downtown -- not promote religion in general or any one faith in particular.
Alliance Defense Fund attorney Dale Schowengerdt, who represented St. John's Episcopal Church in the case, explains that city officials came up with theplan to reimburse property owners half of their exterior improvements, up to about $180,000. "And it's a very successful and a very popular program that made downtown Detroit look a lot nicer," he adds. "The church was simply responding to the city's plan for property improvements before the Super Bowl to present a positive image of the city."Schowengerdt is pleased the 6th Circuit upheld the program in whole. "In fact, it rejected all the American Atheists' claims and said listen, you don't have to exclude. In fact, the government makes it more constitutional if they include churches. That ensures neutrality and not hostility to religion," says the attorney.
The ADF legal counsel believes an appeal will be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, but he also believes the ruling will be upheld.”

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