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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Founders Day 2016 - Rector's Rambling for July 31, 2016

Welcome to our guests this week for St. John’s Founders’ Day.  Although the parish was founded in December of 1858, on St. John’s Day, having a summer celebration is more convenient for the parish, and recognizes in one day the many important milestones of the parish, such as the opening of the chapel (November 1858), laying of the church cornerstone (June 1860), opening of the church building (September 1861), and even the reopening of the church after the move to widen Woodward Ave (Easter 1937).
St. John’s has been blessed to be a part of so much of the history of Detroit, being placed smack dab in the middle of it!  Many of her members have played important roles in the city and state.  Parish founder Henry Porter Baldwin became Governor of Michigan and U.S. Senator, early Sunday School director James Vernor and his family are celebrating the anniversary of their famous concoction put together at the pharmacy soda fountain.  Other parishioners have been important in business, finance, medicine and city government.
Although some members past and present have had fame, many more have come and gone to greater life without a grand memorial or product bearing their name.  Yet all these members contributed to the life of the parish by their presence, contributions, and volunteer efforts in things such as our old community lunch room, hosting USO soldiers in the parish hall, and reaching out to minister to the many, in many ways, in our always changing neighborhood.
Those attributes continue to this day.  Opportunities for ministry come and go, but what remains unchanged is our faith in Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture and formed by our Anglican Worship.  Today’s service, despite the funny spelling and a few reordered parts, shows us that how we worship today remains the same because He whom we worship remains the same: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.
We give thanks for our founders and all those who have gone before us, and for all those who are here today and who God will bring to us in the months and years ahead.