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

Monday, August 04, 2014

A prayer request - future neighborhood development

Sent via email to the St. John's Email List, and posted on the St. John's Facebook page

Friends - 

I am writing today to ask for your prayers for our parish, St. John’s.  
As many of you have seen, Olympia Development has published their very ambitious plans for the building of a new hockey arena, apartments, offices, parks, and retail spaces in the neighborhood around St. John’s.
St. John’s has seen many large-scale changes to our neighborhood in 155 years.  Two notable projects included the demolition of many buildings and the moving of the church sixty feet to widen Woodward Avenue in 1936
 and 1937, and more recently the building of Comerica Park and Ford Field in 2000 and 2002.  In each instance there was excitement and anticipation, as well as fear and apprehension.  I am sure that we will experience all those emotions in the coming months and years as the neighborhood continues to change in dynamic ways.
Today I am asking parishioners and friends to PRAY FOR ST. JOHN’S, and for wisdom and discernment for her elected leadership in particular, as critical decisions are made in the coming months about the development around our building that will significantly impact St. John’s in the years and decades ahead.  Senior Warden Bruce Burton, Parish Council John Nicholson, and I had an initial meeting with members of the development team of Olympia last Tuesday.  During that meeting Olympia officials outlined their conceptual drawings of the development and requested that St. John’s participate in their development plans by considering allowing the erection of an retail/apartment complex partially on a portion of St. John’s property.  We listened and advised Olympia officials that we are interested to hear more about their plans as they develop from conceptual drawings to more detailed plans.  
Bruce Burton summed it up to the Olympia team when he told them that our decisions will be made based upon what is best for the mission of St. John’s of which we are stewards: to glorify God and to build up His Kingdom through the ministry of this parish.  
Our discernment process will be to seek God’s guidance and  grace as to the scope and form of St. John’s participation in what may become an exciting opportunity to proclaim and spread the Gospel to those who do not know the Lord and who will be in our neighborhood.

So, let us be all of one mind and purpose to begin praying today, tomorrow, and consistently in the coming weeks and months as we seek to discern the direction of Holy Spirit in each decision to be made by the Vestry and leadership of the parish.  Also, pray for the leadership at Olympia that they will also be guided by that same Good Spirit to do what is best for St. John’s and her mission to Know Christ and Make Him Known. If we keep ‘first things first’, then God will certainly guide us through the details.