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, February 24, 2014

13 years ago this weekend - Rector's Rambling for February 23, 2014

Every year at this time I wax nostalgic because it was this last Sunday in February in 2001 that I arrived at St. John’s for my first Sunday as your Rector.
It is hard to believe I have now finished my 13th year as St. John’s 13th Rector.  At the parish I served in the Diocese of Pittsburgh they are on their third rector since my departure, and I was surprised to learn at our most recent diocesan convention that I am now the second longest tenured parish priest in the entire Diocese of Michigan (only Fr. Lutas at St. Cyprian’s, Detroit, has served longer, with 19 years).
When I arrived, Comerica Park had been open for one season, and the Tigers were among the worst teams in baseball.  Ford Field was still under construction.  Only a quarter of the new houses across the freeway were constructed and there were three times as many dilapidated Victorian mansions still standing in Brush Park.  Crossways over the freeway stood the boarded up Donovan building (demolished before the Super Bowl), where we dreamed that some day the Red Wings and/or the Pistons would build a new arena (ground-breaking, spring 2014).  Proposals for a light rail system up Woodward were in early discussions (groundbreaking, spring 2014).  Only two buildings around Grand Circus Park were occupied.
In my first year here, Detroit elected a mayor younger than I was (35) named Kwame Kilpatrick.  We are on our 3rd mayor since that election.  The Tigers are now on their 5th manager (Phil Garner was skipper when I arrived), and the Lions on their 6th head coach.  Michigan is on its third governor since my return home.
My son Sam was nearly five when we moved here from Charleroi, Pennsylvania.  This summer he begins college.  Andrew was three, William only six months, and Meg five years from being born when I  began as your rector that cold February Sunday in 2001.  Time certainly does fly.