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

Friday, March 21, 2014

What kind of bat are you? - Rector's Rambling for March 23, 2014

There is an old joke among clergy involving the bell tower being infested with bats, and priests seeking a remedy.  One priest gives his solution, “I had them Confirmed, and I haven’t seen them since.”  This is, unfortunately, true in many church circles.  Confirmation is seen by many as a “Graduation” from the learning process rather than a sacrament of greater devotion, membership, and responsibility.
Last Sunday evening we had seven people Confirmed by our Diocesan Bishop and we thank God for their recognized commitment to Our Lord.
We have had seven Confirmation Services in the time that I have been Rector of St. John’s at which 95 people have been Confirmed, 5,144 since our founding.  Of those 95 people, 51 still attend St. John’s, 21 have moved out of state, six have joined the Roman Catholic or Presbyterian Churches, and two have died.  The other 15 have stopped attending for a variety of reasons, or for no reason at all.  The class of 2010 has the best “staying” power, with 15 of the 16 Confirmed that day still members of St. John’s.
All these numbers add up to 54% of those confirmed still at St. John’s, and 82% accounted for as still participating in the worship of Almighty God here on earth or hereafter.  Both of these numbers are, I would believe, above average.  But then God has blessed us in many ways to be so.
Confirmations and Baptisms (we have two scheduled at Eastertide) always give me a sense of renewed hope for The Church, and is a wonderful reminder of the promises I made (and were originally made for me by my godparents) in 1981 and 1966.  And I hope that this Lent we will find ourselves renewed in our commitment to The Faith.  Let us not be like those pesky bats who went away, but rather like all those in every generation who have continued in the Church in service to Our Lord.