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, September 29, 2014

"Who by being anxious..." - Rector's Rambling for September 28, 2014

We are back into the green of Trinity-tide this Sunday as we continue on our journey through the teachings of Jesus.
This Sunday’s lessons remind us not to be anxious about what we are to eat, and what to drink or to wear.  But what about the recent proposals for redevelopment in our neighborhood?  I know that many of us are anxious to see what may happen.
After the 8:00 and 10:00 AM services today the sketches for the proposed development in our immediate area will be available to see.  We had them on display last Friday and last Sunday, and they have generated much discussion about what the future may hold.
I used to have a regular monthly lunch with some area clergy and a clergy/church consultant named Kirk Kirlin.  We would share and discuss our hopes and concerns in ministry.  Of all those conversations I remember one most poignantly.  After a few of us discussed some things we were struggling with, one said that his fear was that he was unsure of what the result would be.  Kirk opened our eyes, and hearts, by reminding us that in life the result of most things ARE unsure.  We like to have the illusion of being in control, and even that we can control all of our destinies.  But the reality is that there are many factors that can derail the best laid plans.  All one can do is do one’s best, be diligent and faithful, and trust that God has the best in mind for us in the big picture.
The vestry and leadership of this parish is certainly being diligent as we discern how to be faithful in what God would have us do with the proposal given to us by Olympia Development.  And we understand that there is anxiety in the unknown of what these projects will ultimately look like, how it will feel having buildings in such close proximity, as well as how it will impact the parish in the coming months and years.
On Thursday I was at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Red Wings hockey arena.  The big project is under way!  By next spring work will begin on our side of the freeway as well.  Apartments, retail space, office space, and parking decks are being erected in the parking lots in front of Comerica Park and in the small lot between the Fox Theatre and the Fillmore Theatre.  The changes will begin to happen all around us, and the portion they are asking us to participate in is only a small part of their project.
This much change can certainly be scary.  What will it be like to have buildings so close to the church again after 40 years without?  How will it impact traffic?  How will it impact scheduling of events on Saturdays and weekday evenings with games and concerts happening at the new arena?  What will it be like during the construction?
At this time we are working with Olympia in trying to find as many answers to these questions as possible, and more.  As Bruce Burton mentioned at the Friday parish meeting, we want to hear your concerns and ideas.  One person’s suggestion made at the meeting has already been added to our list of needs; planning to make the church directly handicapped accessible through the side garden church door as a part of the new landscaping plan.  Other suggestions are now being collected to give to the committee and to be given to Olympia Development.
I promise you that we will be diligent in preparation, and I hope you will join us in being faithful in prayer as we sort this all out, knowing that nothing about the future is certain.  We will agree to nothing unless we earnestly believe it furthers and supports St. John’s mission to Know Christ and to make Him known!