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

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rambling on Weddings at St. John's

Yesterday we had a wedding at St. John’s Church. Joseph Emond and Jessica Minott were united in Holy Matrimony; exchanging vows and rings, and receiving the blessing of God and His Church through my office and ministry as priest of this parish. We pray every blessing upon them and their new life together!

Weddings are not an uncommon occurrence at St. John’s. In 2009 we have had 4 already and have three more scheduled in October and November. Some years we only have 3 or 4 weddings. We probably receive at least 25 inquiries a year, phone calls or emails, from people who want to ‘rent the church’ for a wedding. All who call are informed that if they are not members of St. John’s, or active members of another Episcopal/Anglican congregation they need to begin attending St. John’s (and do so for at least 6 months) in preparation for their upcoming nuptials. As you see from the number of weddings done a year vs. number of inquiries, for many it is the aesthetics of the building that is the attraction, not the faith for which it stands.

Marriage is a sacrament, an assurance of God’s grace-filled blessing and a great aid toward holiness. But it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The blessing is re-enforced in light of the other sacraments like baptism and Holy Communion, for which continuing active membership in the Church is our Lord’s desire.

Since becoming Rector of St. John’s Church in March of 2001 I have done 43 weddings. 12 couples now live out of state or over an hour away from St. John’s. 5 couples are divorced (that I know of). None of the divorced couples continued attending St. John’s after their wedding. 5 couples come regularly to St. John’s and 2 come occasionally.

Doing the math and you see that 19 couples either come to St. John’s or live too far away to do so. That means that 24 local couples promised me that they were intending to continue to attend after their weddings and don’t.

Starting in 2010 ALL COUPLES intending to be married at St. John’s will be expected to attend the Alpha Course. PRAY God that The Faith will be as important to all being married at St. John’s as the ceremony and celebration is to them. And PRAY for all those who have been married here, that their hearts may be moved to greater and greater holiness through their participation in The Body of Christ—the Church.

Coming soon - The Alpha Marriage Course for those already married!