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, July 28, 2014

Founders Day - Rector's Rambling for July 27, 2014

“The Past Is Prologue”
That phrase was the title for a history of my college fraternity.  It was an invitation to look backwards because our past was the introduction to who we aspired to be as an organization in those current times (mid-1980s).
I understand that not all people enjoy reading and studying history.  I do.  It was my best subject in high school, and when I was in college in Philadelphia, I greatly enjoyed learning colonial and Revolutionary War history by visiting many sites in the city, including my college (University of Pennsylvania – founded in 1740 by Ben Franklin).  Although I enjoy learning about different periods and places in history (ancient, European, Church, etc.), I know I am especially drawn to a subject if it is something I am involved in – like Michigan history, Detroit history, and Episcopal Church history.
I am especially interested in the history of this, our parish.  Henry Porter Baldwin’s vision, the quick growth, the dedication to worship and service, and staying in the city when other parishes were moving further out or away, are all inspirational!  It is also informative to read about the years from the 1930s to the 1990s when the parish declined for a variety of reasons.
The past is prologue because who we are as a parish has been influenced by our past.  But we don’t just look back to “the good old days”.  Rather we learn from what they believed and did, and look for ways that God the Holy Ghost may be leading us today to live out that same vital faith.
We know that the faith has not changed, and the worship has changed very little in the 150+ years this parish has been here.  But each successive generation adds to the prayers and praise of our Lord, and we live in gratitude for His blessings then and now.