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

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Ministry Complex update - Rector's Rambling for June 17, 2018

Construction continues on the ministry center to the rear of our complex.  Originally built in 1971, it is being rebuilt and reconfigured so that it can be more useful for our various ministries and for community groups, as well as a more attractive addition.
I have spent time discussing the original building with those who were members, and even Vestry members, when  it was originally constructed.  The former parish hall building, where our parking lot is now located, was derelict and in need of too many repairs to salvage it.  The parish was on a downward decline, as was the neighborhood.  The decision was made to demolish the old parish hall and build a new, smaller one.  Other plans for a freestanding building proved too costly, and what was settled upon was what they could prudently afford without spending down the endowment. 
Over the years it was reconfigured ‘on the cheap’ and a door added for handicapped access to the building.   But it continued to be oddly laid-out and quite frankly, unattractive.  I remember a conversation with the then provost of the Cathedral who mentioned that their office building was built to invite people in, but that our addition had been built to keep people out, with only two north-facing windows and solid, uninviting doors.  He was correct.
The inside of the building has now been gutted and the outside brick veneer removed.  The foundation for a 16 foot expansion to the south has been poured, as has the foundation for the new handicapped ramp and entrance foyer.  Soon holes will be punched in the walls for 14 windows, and interior construction will begin, which will include 3 distinct classrooms in the basement, a first floor entrance lobby large enough to host events and which will include a library and fireplace,   The exterior veneer will be of a stone to match and complement the church building, and there will be a peaked roof. 
Once completed (hopefully) in November we expect it will become the primary entrance to our complex, with parking in our garage to the east.