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

Monday, October 21, 2013

Marathon Blessings - Rector's Ramblings for October 20, 2013

(Published for Sunday morning)
This morning, before any parishioners arrived at St. John’s, I had the chance to perform a particular ministry; the blessing of runners for today’s Detroit Free Press Marathon.
When I experienced my first Free Press Marathon in 2001, the number of runners was smaller (no half-marathon or relay-teams).  The finish line was inside Ford Field, and the start was in front of the large Tiger statue in front of Comerica Park.  For those first few years the sexton and I spent an inordinate amount of time, from 4:30 AM until race time, welcoming runners but having to prevent them from filling up all our parking spaces before the morning services.
Since then the start and finish have moved to the front of the Fox Theatre, then down to Washington Avenue, and now is in front of the Free Press offices on Fort Street.  Despite the change in starting point, I still make it a ministry to welcome the runners parking in the neighborhood and administering blessings to those who desire them, especially our own parishioners participating in the races.  And yes, there is a bit of time spent reserving our parking spaces as well.
It is certainly less hectic and chaotic with the race course being further downtown, with the additional advantage of fewer road closings near our church building.  Several churches, including Christ Church Detroit, Fort Street Presbyterian, and The Mariners Church, find themselves completely encircled on Sunday morning by road closures, preventing people from attending Sunday worship.
By coffee hour today after the 10:00 AM service we may have a few runners wandering in after their race with medals around their necks and walking a bit stiffly.  Be sure to welcome them and congratulate them on finishing the race!  And, God willing, some of those 18,000 runners downtown today will return on another Sunday to worship the Living God here in this wonderful parish!