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

Friday, February 22, 2013

My 12th Anniversary at St. John's!

Twelve years ago this week I arrived as the Rector of St. John’s Church here in Detroit.  I consider it to have been a great privilege and a great grace to baptize 119 adults and children, present 105 people for confirmation or reception, solemnize 64 marriages, and officiate at the burial rites for 68 people.
For those who have not heard the story of my being called, I will share it here.  I was the Rector of a parish in a small town 25 miles south of Pittsburgh.  Having felt that perhaps I was finished there, God provided, through the recommendation of David and Sharon Schafer, the opportunity to apply for the position of rector at St. John’s.  They were long-time friends of my family and Dave worked with my father.
Fr. Richard Kim had retired in 1997 and the parish had been without a rector since then.  The Diocese, under a previous administration, was not keen on the election of a new traditional 1928 Prayer Book priest, and worked to prolong the search process.  But the combination of the institution of a new Bishop and staff, and the determined work of the vestry and search committee, accelerated the process so that I was able to interview the week after Thanksgiving in 2000.
Generally, a candidate for rector only meets the search committee members, but a part of my interview included a dinner with the committee, vestry, and spouses and families!
After accepting the call in January, during a phone call with Fr. Bedford (who was holding down the fort), I discovered that during the interview process I had never asked what Sunday attendance was, or to see the budget.  God had put blinders on me to prevent me from asking those two questions.  Little did I know that at that dinner in November I had meet just about everyone in the parish, and that the average Sunday attendance was less than 50!  I think I might have hesitated if I had known that during the interview process.  God did a good job of focusing me on coming here!
I thank God every day for the privilege of being the rector at St. John’s.  Hard to imagine it has been 12 years!  Tempus fugit – time flies!  St. John’s has so many wonderful people, and her future is certainly bright, all by His Grace!