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, August 08, 2012

Rector's Rambling - July 22, 2012 - what we are NOT doing this summer

We have a remarkable thing NOT happing this summer at St. John’s: we have no weddings scheduled! This is the first time in my 11-1/2 years as Rector of St. John’s that we do not have a single wedding in June, July, or August! We have had a spring wedding, and have some weddings scheduled for this fall, but nothing during these summer months. Not that we haven’t had inquiries! We get lots of phone calls in the parish office from people who want to “rent” the church for the wedding. When we get a phone call inquiring about weddings, Harriett or Shirl ask a series of questions beginning with 1) Are you a member of the parish, or 2) are you a member of another Episcopal Parish? “Yes” to these two are easy and we can begin preparations. If the answer is no, then they are invited to attend services on Sunday so that they can begin preparation to join the parish. We expect them to attend regularly for six months before a wedding. Although some churches supplement their income by “renting” their churches for weddings, we take the Sacrament of Matrimony far too seriously to just let the building be used as a pretty backdrop for photographs. Additionally, nothing beats the joy and excitement out of parish volunteers than a string of weddings of people who are just using us for a ceremony. We do have some couples who put in the six month effort, get married, and we never see them again. Others move away shortly after they are married but leave behind family members who join the parish. We have had a some who get married, disappear for a while, and return when children are born. And we had one couple who got married and left, but a friend at the ceremony ended up joining the parish. Of course, there is a secondary reason why we don’t have any weddings scheduled this summer: we tell couples when they call to inquire about a summer wedding that we don’t have air conditioning. This dissuades those more interested in the service than the faith right from the start.