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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rector's Rambling - February 19, 2012

This coming week I celebrate the 11th anniversary of my arrival as the rector of St. John’s. Once again I am amazed at how time has flown, and yet it seems like I have been here forever. When I arrived from the Diocese of Pittsburgh my sons were 4 years, 3 years, and 6 months old! As I look UP at Sam (and eye to eye with Andrew), I have a daily barometer that time has certainly passed!
When I arrived, Comerica Park was in its second season, and Ford Field was not yet open. I hope to mark a time in the near future when I can add a new hockey arena opening to the list of neighborhood milestones. Other local changes include the demolition of the old Cass Tech high school, Tiger Stadium, and the majestic Donovan building catty-corner across the freeway – all of which were once viewed from the church front steps.
In those 11 years we have done over $500,000 in repairs to the stone, roof, and windows, added our electronic signboard and awnings, and replanted the garden. In addition to those projects, we have replaced the heating & cooling system in the office and installed new furnaces for the church/chapel/undercroft. Two showers were installed in the undercroft for use by groups using the building for weekend/weekday retreats. The undercroft, office building basement, and sacristy have been painted, as well as the floor under the pews in the chapel. Lighting was upgraded in the chapel, church sanctuary, and church narthex. Brand new 1928 Prayer Books and 1940 Hymnals were donated for the chapel and church. Countless repairs/restorations of pews and other wood items have been accomplished by able parishioners, and new pew cushions and kneelers in the chapel restored by one couple. A parishioner led the charge and did the overwhelming majority of scrapping and painting all the wrought iron fence around the building.
All the above is in addition to the regular weekly cleaning by the cleaning crew, volunteers who come in for big cleaning projects and polishing, and on-going repairs and maintenance. This has to be done to keep the building not only in a state of repair, but also to glorify God through its use.
We have dozens of tours a year, and all comment on what a good state of repair and cleanliness the building is in compared to other downtown churches they have visited.
I consider it a great blessing to have been here these 11 years, and I pray that God will grant us many more together!