Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 50 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 impending hockey arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, February 20, 2017

A tribute to a good neighbor - Rector's Rambling for February 19, 2017

This week the city of Detroit mourned the passing of Michael Ilitch, owner of the Tigers, Red Wings, The Fox Theatre, Little Caesar’s Pizza, and a myriad of other business interests.
Here in the neighborhood around St. John’s there were ways to express that mourning.  A large display was erected at Comerica Park with photos of Mr. Ilitch at various stages of his life, and a place for people to share their admiration and thanks for his life.  On Wednesday a public viewing was held in the lobby of the Fox Theatre, his first major city renovation project.  From noon past 8:00 PM, people filed past his casket to pay respects to a man who started out as a minor league baseball player, a door-to-door aluminum siding salesman, and then a pizza shop owner.
Here at St. John’s we have had a long-time business relationship with the Ilitch family.  Since the 1990s, their parking company has managed our parking lot, and in the last two years we have entered into a new development agreement for that land that not only helps the parish financially, but is part of a larger plan to develop the neighborhood with not only sports and commercial ventures, but also with much need residential buildings in which our future parishioners will live and from which they will walk to church.
On a personal, religious note, the Ilitches have also been supporters of St. John’s.  Macedonian Orthodox in faith, Mike and Marian Ilitch’s parents were founding members of their congregation, which met in our chapel until they could construct their own building.  They always remembered that to us by sending along offerings at Christmas and Easter in memory of their parents, and our several occasions to have them with us here at St. John’s have been filled with personal thanksgiving for what St. John’s did for their congregation, as we give thanks for the many things they have done to improve our neighborhood.
Mr. Ilitch noted to me that he looked out his office at our building, and it was a most pleasant sight to see.  May he rest in peace and rise in glory.