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, October 28, 2009

Rector's Rambling - October 18

Welcome to all who are joining us today for our Homecoming celebration.

Begun in 2001, Homecoming Sunday is a chance to invite our friends, family, and regular visitors to join us for an extra festive Sunday of worship and fellowship. It is a “fall” opportunity to gather, just as many visit for “winter” (Christmas) and “spring” (Easter). This year we have added a “summer” opportunity with Founders Sunday in July.

As you have experienced, the worship at St. John’s is a great grace filled act of love and gratitude to the good God who loves us beyond comprehension. The richly symbolic liturgy, combined with sublime music, lifts our hearts and minds to greater and bigger things. Our participation is our offering to God, however imperfect we (and it) may be, because it our bounden duty and joy.
And the fellowship at St. John’s is certainly warm and inviting. Add to that a potluck luncheon and all the excitement of the Detroit Marathon and Detroit Lions game happening nearby and we have a glorious day all around.

In 1926 St. John’s was the largest parish west of the Allegheny mountains. Easter that year saw over 2500 communicants at seven Sunday Services! By the 1930’s attendance began to slide. A long-time member told me that a predecessor as Rector from 1932 to 1962, Rev. I.C. Johnson, told him that he was encouraged to come to St. John’s to stop the downward slide. Only in 2001 did we start increasing, building from 45 average Sunday attendance to over 200 in 2006. Things have backslid a bit since then, dropping to 196 last year.

In the coming months we will be having a Faith Alive weekend. I hope that it will be a chance for us to recharge and move forward once again. And from this recharged congregation more and more people will be brought into our fellowship through that renewal and evangelism.
Everyone here today is most welcome, and encouraged, to become a part of this renewal. “Get in on the ground floor” as we grow once again toward a full church many times over.