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

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Rector's Rambling - July 8, 2012 - St. Michael's Conference

This afternoon (Sunday, July 8), fourteen youngsters and I will head over to the Manresa Retreat Center in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, for the beginning of the St. Michael’s Conference for Youth, Midwest. My first experience with “St. Mike’s” was while I was in seminary during the summer of 1993. I had been roped by a mentor into serving as visiting clergy on staff at the original conference in Massachusetts and was not particularly looking forward to “Church Camp” (which is what I thought it was). What I experienced instead was a dynamic gathering of clergy, laity, and teens, worshipping, learning, and playing, all to the greater glory of God! After my initial reluctance to go, I had two great things happen that week: 1) One staff member got to know me and later offered me the position as his curate; and, more importantly, 2) on the last evening I met my wife when she came to visit her younger sister who was attending that week! I served one more year as visiting clergy at the Massachusetts conference, and after a few years’ hiatus was volunteered once again (this time by Bishop Ackerman) to serve at the newer extension of the conference in Michigan. I was the Rector of a parish near Pittsburgh at the time, and I used to drive a group of teens from that parish to Michigan for the retreat. I have been on staff ever since. At the beginning of the conference, the director goes over the rules. The only way the event can run smoothly is for everyone to know the boundaries of proper behavior. Every year he begins the speech by saying, “You are not here to have fun and make friends. You are here to learn about Jesus Christ and His Church, and to become a better churchman to go into the world as a witness of His Love. BUT, if you keep this in focus as the primary thing, you will find that you will ALSO have fun and make friends as well!” This has proven true year after year. This is now my 16th year on staff at the St. Michael’s Conferences. All three of my sons are now attending the conference, and I look forward, God willing, to Meg joining us in 6 years. Now is the time to start thinking about your children/grandchildren going next year with us!