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, February 27, 2017

16 years and counting - Rector's Rambling for February 26, 2017

Yesterday I celebrated the 16th anniversary of my arrival as the rector of St. John’s.  Once again I am amazed at how time has flown, and yet it seems like I have been here forever.  When I arrived from the Diocese of Pittsburgh my sons were four years, three years, and six months old!
When I arrived, Comerica Park was in its second season, and Ford Field was not yet open.  And God willing by this fall we will have a new hockey/basketball arena to add to the list of neighborhood milestones.  Other local changes include the demolition of the old Cass Tech high school, Tiger Stadium, and the majestic Donovan building catty-corner across the freeway where the hockey arena is – all of which were once viewed from the church front steps.
In my first five years we did over $500,000 in repairs to the stone, roof, and windows, added our electronic signboard and awnings, and replanted the garden.  In addition to those projects, we have replaced the heating & cooling system in the office and installed new furnaces for the church/chapel/undercroft.  Two showers were installed in the undercroft for use by groups using the building for weekend/weekday retreats.  Lighting has been upgraded in the chapel, church sanctuary, and church narthex.  Brand new 1928 Prayer Books and 1940 Hymnals were donated for the chapel and church.  Countless repairs/restorations of pews and other wood items have been accomplished by able parishioners.  A new drop off driveway will be constructed soon to compliment our use of the new parking garage.  The front narthex doorway is being made handicapped accessible, and we look forward to renovations to the kitchen, undercroft, office building (a $1.5 million dollar project) and eventually the complete re-landscaping of the garden once Olympia builds their apartment building in what is our parking lot.
More exciting than the physical changes have been the many wonderful people who have graced us with their presence and participated in our life here.  Some have gone ahead to greater life to be with The Lord, others have come and gone for work related relocation.  And as happens in an urban parish, people pop in and out for a variety of reasons.  Thanks be to God for the many faithful who have come, and stayed, and contributed positively to our common life.  And we look forward to those who will join us in days, weeks, months and years ahead, God willing.
I consider it a great blessing to have been here these 16 years, and I pray that God will grant us many more together!