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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rector's Rambling - October 17, 2010 - 10 year musing

At the end of February I will (God willing) reach a milestone – the 10th Anniversary of my serving here at St. John’s as Rector. This upcoming occasion has caused me to muse a bit on the past while looking to the future.
My first 2-1/2 years as a priest were as the curate (assistant) at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, on what is called the Philadelphia Main Line. This was a wonderful Anglo-Catholic Episcopal parish tucked between Villanova University and Rosemont, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr Colleges.
My next position was as the Rector of a parish in a small town 25 miles south of Pittsburgh, St. Mary’s in Charleroi. At one time this town and the surrounding towns were thick with a dozen or so steel mills, but only the remnant of one was left, plus a corning glass factory, and a coal mine. There were many joys ministering in this town where nearly everyone had lived there all their lives! I spent about 4-1/2 years as Rector of St. Mary’s.
In late 2000 God began to prepare me to answer the call to come back to the Detroit area, where I had grown up. Long-time member Dave Schafer and my father were friends and co-workers, and Dave had kept me informed the about the last Rector’s pending retirement, as well as the interim priest situation at St. John’s. Finally, in October of 2000, a search committee was formed and I was contacted about interviewing for the position.
In addition to an interview with Bishop Gibbs that November day, and lunch with the search committee, we had a parish potluck with the Search Committee, Vestry, and their families. It is unusual to expose so many people to a candidate, but enjoyable none the less!
I knew by that evening that I would be called to St. John’s, and after due diligence on the part of the Vestry I was formally called to be Rector in January, arriving in February.
In hindsight, between the search committee, vestry, and their families, I met almost the entire parish at that potluck the day I interviewed! But I didn’t know that at the time. I would not find out how small a congregation St. John’s had until after I accepted the position as rector – but that is a story for another day.

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