Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 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 160 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.

My Photo
Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fr. Coughlin's Shrine Church

Today I had the honor of assisting at the wedding of our parishioner Allen Mullin. His wife, Nora, is a member of Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, MI. The Officiant was the RC Campus Minister at DePaul (Chicago), Nora's college.

As I hear so often from people who see St. John's for the first time, I have driven past this Church on the corner of 12 mile and Woodward a million times, but have never been inside. I had heard about it, and its founder, Fr. Coughlin. I new it was "in the round" and decided ahead of time I would not like it. But I was surprised!

The retired pastor of the Parish gave me the nickle tour and explained to me all the wonderful symbolism incorporated into the building, such as the seating sections divided into seating for 50, because Jesus had the crowds divided into 50's before he fed them in the multiplication of loaves and fishes. The 1920's Art Deco Decor is great and lovingly maintained/restored. And the massive sacristy had lovely things such as the vesting prayers painted in wonderful illuminated text over the Vesting areas (in Latin, of course). I am glad that with the changes of Vatican II, they didn't destroy the architecture of the place, the major change being the "Big Six" Candlesticks and Tabernacle being removed from the Central Altar to a handsome Sacrament Chapel directly behind the central Altar. And Fr. Coughlin's wonderful second story pulpit - AWESOME (although they don't use it any more I am told).

Who is Fr. Coughlin? He is known as The Radio Priest. His radio show was nationally broadcast, beginning in 1926, and in the 1930's it is said he received more mail than President Franklin Roosevelt! He was silenced from the radio by Cardinal Mooney in 1940, and retired as Rector of the parish in 1966 (the year I was born). He was an ardent defender of Labor, and staunch opponent of Communism, and eventually FDR himself. His statements against entering World War II and about Jewish involvement in banking and Marxism lead to charges of anti-semitism and being a facist, his eventual downfall. Many of his broadcasts are widely available via internet.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Something ridiculous in today's paper

In an AP story in today's USA TODAY covering the announcement that this Saturday's Patroits-Giants game will be on 'free' broadcast TV, rather than just a smaller NFL owned cable network, I read this quote -

"In a Christmas Eve letter to (NFL Commissioner) Goodell, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., again urged the NFL to make the game available across the USA. He said if it wasn't, he would ask for Senate hearings."

Senate hearings? About broadcasting a football game?

Right here is a GREAT example of what is wrong with government in general, and in particular some politicians! Bullying techniques to force private businesses to bend to the supposed will of people, bullied by those who think they know better about anything. And does the Senate have nothing better to do? If not, perhaps they should all go on an unpaid sabbatical to save the taxpayers some money.

This is also a part of the reason why we have campaign finance problems - businesses are petrified of threats like this that may cause them to be irrationally regulated or driven out of business, so they have to 'legally' bribe politicians with campaign contributions. A few years ago, politicians started pressing for more regulations on airlines and baggage handling for safety's sake. The issue was later dropped. There was also a large number of contributions which appeared in the coffers of the the politicians and their parties on behalf of the airline industry. This was less money then the airlines would have had to pay in upgrades/improvements. Coincidence?

ARGH - okay - I will get off my soap box now.

"That they all may be one".....

...our Lord prayed in his High Priestly Prayer. Our divisions are a scandal to the body of Christ, and our inability to even be civil to one another in The Holy Land is a greater scandal yet!

May God have mercy upon us, and turn our hearts to keep his law (and commandment to love one another).
This article was in today's Breitbart news site.
Seven people were injured on Thursday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Following the Christmas celebrations, Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church, which is built over the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.
But the ladders encroached on space controlled by Armenian priests, according to photographers who said angry words ensued and blows quickly followed.
For a quarter of an hour bearded and robed priests laid into each other with fists, brooms and iron rods while the photographers who had come to take pictures of the annual cleaning ceremony recorded the whole event.
A dozen unarmed Palestinian policemen were sent to try to separate the priests, but two of them were also injured in the unholy melee.
"As usual the cleaning of the church afer Christmas is a cause of problems," Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh told AFP, adding that he has offered to help ease tensions.
"For the two years that I have been here everything went more or less calmly," he said. "It's all finished now."
The Church of the Nativity, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, is shared by various branches of Christianity, each of which controls and jealously guards a part of the holy site.
The Church of the Nativity is built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born in a stable more than 2,000 years ago after Mary and Joseph were turned away by an inn.

Happy 149th Anniversary St. John's Church!

149 years ago today, December 27th (the Feast of St. John), our parish was founded.
we will kick-off our 150th Anniversary Celebration, lasting until November 10th, 2009 (The 150th Anniversary of the dedication of the Chapel).
Details will be announced in the coming months as plans begin to come into being.
Updated from this blog's entry on December 27th, 2005
On The Feast of St. John the Evangelist in 1858, in the home of Mr. Henry Porter Baldwin, St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit came into official existance. A group of men had met twice, on December 6th and 13th (St. Nicholas' and St. Lucy's Day) to discuss the need to found a new parish 'out in the country', since the 3 existing parishes in the city were all on the river. Surely, they thought, Detroit would begin to expand northward, and not just up and down the Detroit river. Henry Porter Baldwin, then Senior Warden at St. Paul's (now the Cathedral Church later relocated further north at Woodward and Warren) donated a parcel of land where the Church and Parking Lot now stand, surrounded by what was then farmlands and orchards. He also paid for the construction of a Rectory (now demolished) and the Chapel. But it was on St. John's Day that the parish officially came into exisitence with the signing of articles of incorporation and the election of Wardens and a Vestry (hence the choice of the name St. John's) Within the first year of its exisitence St. John's built the Chapel (dedicated November 10th, 1859) found a Rector in Maine (William Armitage), formed a boys choir, and even grew out of the original building!!! Within one year of its founding St. John's was making plans to build a second building for worship (completed in 1861), to seat at least 1000 people which eventually sat 1300 before the reconfiguring of the building in the 1930's.We give thanks to Almighty God for those men and their famiies who gave of their prayers, fortunes, and time to get this parish up and running: Henry P. Baldwin, George C. Jones, John M. Reily, John P. Cook, William Brodie, John Roberts, John Rumney, James M. Johnson, Theodore J. Barry, George W. Rose, B.G. Stimson, L.L. Tiffany, T.B. Leavenworth, Henry Heames, Andrew Backus, A. Richmond, Robert M. Reilly, J. Parkinson, T.H. Armstrong, Hamilton Miller, John Campbell, Thomas G. Scott, James W. Hanford, John W. Strong, George Swift.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

He had a bigger congregation....

....but he draws from a larger (worldwide) community!

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams' sermon is at http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/8669/#more

The Christmas Gift of a large congregation!

A hearty DEO GRATIAS for the wonderful congregation at the 9pm Service last night.
And the Children's Service had 110 people at it (in the Chapel that is pretty full!).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hope from Mariner's Inn

Mariner's Inn is an agency of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, and a neighbor to St. John's - just over the freeway and a few blocks down west. Thanks be to God for the work of Mariner's Inn.
Homeless men give their all
Shelter's residents help 3 families
December 22, 2007
Williette Dean's Santa Clauses came in the guise of an ex-heroin user, a former crack addict, an alcoholic and more.
Dean, 46, has six kids, ages 2 to 15, at home. She's been down on her luck since an injury temporarily put her in a wheelchair.
Advertisement"By the time I got things straight, I had lost a home, a car, a job and whatever," she said. "At this point I can't earn what I used to earn."
Dean is putting it back together and working as a youth home supervisor. But money's tight and times are tough.
On Friday, she wept and shouted for joy as a group of homeless men piled presents for her and her family on a table during a Christmas celebration.
"I just want to say: Thank you," Dean said. "We're strong just to be standing here now."
The homeless men, recovering from various addictions at the Mariners Inn shelter and treatment center on Cass in Detroit, banded together to raise money for clothing, toys and baby items for three families. The families were chosen with the help of Hope Community Baptist Center, which is across the street from Mariners.
David Sampson, interim director of Mariners, said the men raised $1,400 for presents and about $3,600 worth of donated gifts. They sought donations in many ways including at narcotics anonymous meetings and through a media campaign.
Another mother, Kenyetta Day, 37, ran out of the room crying shortly after receiving gifts. She composed herself and returned to offer her gratitude.
"No, I can't do it on my own and I thank God and thank you Mariners Inn," she said.
Later, she was still stunned.
. "I'm just so outdone that these men came together to see about me and my family," she said. "It's not even the gifts on my table. It's that they thought about people like me."
Richard Drewery, 57, a recovering heroin addict, brought the room of about 50 to tears as he spoke to 19-year-old mother Darlynn Little about his struggles. He told a story about a time when he took money for his then 5-year-old daughter's Christmas presents and spent it on drugs.
"Darlynn ... I took her Christmas from her," he said. "Remember this. And take it from me: Drugs and alcohol kill. There's a price.
"I'm doing this not only for you. I'm doing this for me, too. I don't know if I'm trying to make up for all the wrong I've done."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sometimes standing fast puts you in the right place

As we know, the trendy world is mostly cyclical. If we held fast to the traditional liturgy and teaching of the Church, I figured people would cycle back to us....now this cover article in the US News confirms the 'trend'.

Of course, our challenge now is to use the opportunity to attract those who are following the trend to bring them in and lead them to a conversion of heart to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost, and show them the holiness that this faith and worship engenders!
All by God's Grace and All to His Glory!


A Return to Tradition
A new interest in old ways takes root in Catholicism and many other faiths
By Jay Tolson
Posted December 13, 2007
Worshipers come to St. Mary, Mother of God in downtown Washington, D.C., for various reasons, but many say that a big draw is the Tridentine Latin mass that is said here every Sunday. Soon, St. Mary may be less well known for that distinctive liturgical offering than for the number of big-name government and media types that occupy its pews. Now that Pope Benedict XVI has loosened the restrictions on churches that want to observe the pre-Vatican II rite, more parishes are availing themselves of the option. Call it part of a larger conservative shift within the church—one that includes a renewed emphasis on such practices as personal confession and reciting the rosary as well as a resurgent interest in traditional monastic and religious orders.

But this shift extends beyond the Roman Catholic Church. In Richardson, Texas, the congregation of Trinity Fellowship Church participates in something that would have been considered almost heretical in most evangelical Protestant churches five or 10 years ago: a weekly Communion service. An independent, nondenominational church of some 600 members, Trinity Fellowship is not the only evangelical congregation that is offering a weekly Eucharist, saying the Nicene or Apostles' creeds, reading the early Church Fathers, or doing other things that seem downright Roman Catholic or at least high Episcopalian. Daniel Wallace, a professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, which trains pastors for interdenominational or nondenominational churches, says there is a growing appetite for something more than "worship that is a glorified Bible class in some ways."
Something curious is happening in the wide world of faith, something that defies easy explanation or quantification. More substantial than a trend but less organized than a movement, it has to do more with how people practice their religion than with what they believe, though people caught up in this change often find that their beliefs are influenced, if not subtly altered, by the changes in their practice.
Put simply, the development is a return to tradition and orthodoxy, to past practices, observances, and customary ways of worshiping. But it is not simply a return to the past—at least not in all cases. Even while drawing on deep traditional resources, many participants are creating something new within the old forms. They are engaging in what Penn State sociologist of religion Roger Finke calls "innovative returns to tradition."
You see this at work quite clearly in the so-called emergent communities, new, largely self-organizing groups of young Christian adults who meet in private homes, church basements, or coffeehouses around the country. So free-form that many don't even have pastors, these groups nevertheless engage in some ancient liturgical practices, including creedal declarations, public confession, and Communion. They may use a piece of a bagel as the body of Christ, but the liturgy is a traditional anchor in services that may include films, skits, or group discussions of a biblical topic.

Read more at .....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Did they ever get it right!

The snow kept coming!

6 people at Morning Prayer

14 at 8am Mass

40 at 10am Mass

smaller crowd at our open house in the afternoon!

And sore shoulders and abs from shoveling!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


This is the third week in a row that they have predicted awful winter weather Saturday PM/Sunday AM.

This time it looks like they have gotten it right.

It is already snowing. They are talking 3 to 5 inches by morning, 6 to 10 more during the day.


Friday, December 14, 2007

What I have been/am reading

Recently finished
The Myth of the 200 Barrier - Kevin E. Martin
How to Read the Psalms - Tremper Longerman III
Marley and Me (audio) - John Grogan
Just as I am (audio) - Billy Graham autobiography abridged

In the middle of
His Excellency (audio - bio of George Washington)
Simply Bonaventure - Ilia Delio, OSF

The Way - Jose Maria Escriva
Soul of the Apostolate


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Not ours to disregard

Recently the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachuessets, Thomas Shaw, spoke to a student group and the Roman Catholic Boston College. The Student newspaper covered the event in which it stated..

"Public Answers to Private Questions" got off to a quick start as an anonymous audience member bluntly asked, "If God is supposed to be all-forgiving, why do some people end up in hell?" (Episcopal Bishop of Mass. Thomas ) Shaw responded by saying, "I'm not sure that I believe in hell," pointing out that there are places in the Scripture where no hell is mentioned and concluding that the subject is open to interpretation.

No hell? He's a member of the SSJE (Cowley Fathers Religious Order) which means he says the Apostles Creed 2x per day in the daily office, and the Nicene Creed at least weekly if not daily...and he doesn't believe Jesus descended into hell (meaning it must exist)?

Oh yeah, I forgot....the 1979 BCP re-translation of the creed says Jesus descended to the dead (eliminating the word Hell). But then again, is the fact that there are some places that something is NOT mentioned contridict that fact that is existance IS mentioned elsewhere in Scripture? Arguing from absence is a poor way to do any theology.

God help the Bishop, his diocese, and the Episcopal Church if we have lost site that there is a hell, and without Faith in Jesus at Lord it is our destiny.

With all the media coverage about ECUSA's problems with human sexuality, articles like this show that the problem isn't sexuality, the problem is biblical authority and the loss of all historic understanding of theology. A bishop's opinion (or the opinon of ECUSA 2007) does not trump Revealed Truth as the Church has received it and proclaimed it for nearly 2000 years.

The Boston College Article can be found at

Is Mormonism Christian?

Lots of public discussion on this topic, one which I have dealt with for years in my ongoing series of classes on American Heresies.

Kendall Harmon had a great link to this website www.carm.org (Christian Apolegetics and Research Ministry), with a thorough answer.
Is Mormonism Christian?
"Is Mormonism Christian?" is a very important question. The answer is equally important and simple. No. Mormonism is not Christian. If you are a Mormon, please realize that CARM is not trying to attack you, your character, or the sincerity of your belief. If you are a non-Mormon looking into Mormonism, or if you are a Christian who is simply researching Mormonism, then this paper should be of help to you.
The reason Mormonism is not Christian is because it denies one or more of the essential doctrines of Christianity. Of the essential doctrines (that there is only one God, Jesus is God in flesh, forgiveness of sins is by grace alone, and Jesus rose from the dead physically, the gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus), Mormonism denies three of them: how many gods there are, the person of Jesus, and His work of salvation.
Mormonism teaches that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones (D. & C. 130:22) and that Jesus is a creation. It teaches that he was begotten in heaven as one of God’s spirit children (See the Book, Jesus the Christ, by James Talmage, p. 8). This is in strict contrast to the biblical teaching that he is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14), eternal (John 1:1, 2, 15), uncreated, yet born on earth (Col. 1:15), and the creator all (John 1:3; Col. 1;16-17). Jesus cannot be both created and not created at the same time. Though Mormonism teaches that Jesus is god in flesh, it teaches that he is "a" god in flesh, one of three gods that comprise the office of the Trinity (Articles of Faith, by Talmage, pp. 35-40). These three gods are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This is in direct contradiction of the biblical doctrine that there is only one God (Isaiah 44:6,8; 45:5). See Trinity for a correct discussion of what the Trinity is.
Because Mormonism denies the biblical truth of who God is, who Jesus is, how forgiveness of sins is attained, and what the gospel is, the Mormon is not Christian -- in spite of all his claims that he is.
Mormonism teaches
Mormon theology teaches that god is only one of countless gods, that he used to be a man on another planet, that he became a god by following the laws and ordinances of that god on that world, and that he brought one of his wives to this world with whom he produces spirit children who then inhabit human bodies at birth. The first spirit child to be born was Jesus. Second was Satan, and then we all followed. But, the Bible says that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5), that God has eternally been God (Psalm 90:2) -- which means he was never a man on another planet. Since the Bible denies the existence of other gods (and goddesses), the idea that Jesus is the product of a god and goddess couple is rejected. The Bible tells us that Jesus The Jesus of Mormonism is definitely not the same Jesus of the Bible. Therefore, faith in the Mormon Jesus, is faith misplaced because the Mormon Jesus doesn't exist.
Mormonism teaches that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross itself (and receiving it by faith) is not sufficient to bring forgiveness of sins. It teaches that the forgiveness of sins is obtained though a cooperative effort with God; that is, we must be good and follow the laws and ordinances of the Mormon church in order to obtain forgiveness. Consider James Talmage, a very important Mormon figure who said, "The sectarian dogma of justification by faith alone has exercised an influence for evil," (Articles, p. 432), and "Hence the justice of the scriptural doctrine that salvation comes to the individual only through obedience," (Articles, p. 81). This contradicts the biblical doctrine of the forgiveness of sins by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9) and the doctrine that works are not part of our salvation but a result of them (Rom. 4:5, James 2:14-18).
To further confuse the matter, Mormonism further states that salvation is twofold. It maintains that salvation is both forgiveness of sins and universal resurrection. So when a Mormon speaks of salvation by grace, he is usually referring to universal resurrection. But the Bible speaks of salvation as the forgiveness of sins, not simple universal resurrection. Where Mormonism states that forgiveness of sins is not by faith alone, the Bible does teaches it is by faith alone. Which is correct? Obviously, it is the Bible.
Mormonism and the Bible
In order to justify its aberrant theology, Mormonism, has undermined the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible. The 8th article of faith from the Mormon Church states, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly." This means that when the Bible contradicts Mormonism, the Bible isn't trustworthy. The interesting thing is that Joseph Smith allegedly corrected the Bible in what is called The Inspired Version, though it is not used by the LDS church. Though they claim they trust the Bible, in reality they do not. They use Mormon presuppositions to interpret it instead of letting it speak for itself. For example, where the Bible says there are no other gods in the universe (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8), they interpret it to mean "no other gods of this world" - which is not what those verses say. They do not trust the Bible and they often state that the Bible is not translated correctly.
Why is Mormonism a non Christian religion? It is not Christian because it denies that there is only one God, denies the true Gospel, adds works to salvation, denies that Jesus is the uncreated creator, distorts the biblical teaching of the atonement, and undermines the authority and reliability of the Bible.
CARM does not deny that Mormons are good people, that they worship "a" god, that they share common words with Christians, that they help their people, and that they do many good things. But that isn't what makes someone Christian. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (NKJV). Becoming a Christian does not mean belonging to a church, doing good things, or simply believing in God. Being a Christian means that you have trusted in the true God for salvation, in the True Jesus -- not the brother of the devil, not the god of Mormonism, not the gospel of Mormonism. Mormonism is false and cannot save anyone.

A sane appraisal of 'global warming'


The Pope condemns the climate change prophets of doom
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.
The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.
The German-born Pontiff said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement.
His remarks will be made in his annual message for World Peace Day on January 1, but they were released as delegates from all over the world convened on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali for UN climate change talks.
The 80-year-old Pope said the world needed to care for the environment but not to the point where the welfare of animals and plants was given a greater priority than that of mankind.
"Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow," he said in the message entitled "The Human Family, A Community of Peace".
"It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances.
"If the protection of the environment involves costs, they should be justly distributed, taking due account of the different levels of development of various countries and the need for solidarity with future generations.
"Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken."
Efforts to protect the environment should seek "agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances", the Pope said.
He added that to further the cause of world peace it was sensible for nations to "choose the path of dialogue rather than the path of unilateral decisions" in how to cooperate responsibly on conserving the planet.
The Pope's message is traditionally sent to heads of government and international organisations.
His remarks reveal that while the Pope acknowledges that problems may be associated with unbridled development and climate change, he believes the case against global warming to be over-hyped.
A broad consensus is developing among the world's scientific community over the evils of climate change.
But there is also an intransigent body of scientific opinion which continues to insist that industrial emissions are not to blame for the phenomenon.
Such scientists point out that fluctuations in the earth's temperature are normal and can often be caused by waves of heat generated by the sun. Other critics of environmentalism have compared the movement to a burgeoning industry in its own right.
In the spring, the Vatican hosted a conference on climate change that was welcomed by environmentalists.
But senior cardinals close to the Vatican have since expressed doubts about a movement which has been likened by critics to be just as dogmatic in its assumptions as any religion.
In October, the Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, caused an outcry when he noted that the atmospheric temperature of Mars had risen by 0.5 degrees celsius.
"The industrial-military complex up on Mars can't be blamed for that," he said in a criticism of Australian scientists who had claimed that carbon emissions would force temperatures on earth to rise by almost five degrees by 2070 unless drastic solutions were enforced.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another busy day around St. John's

Some days the office is quiet with a regular routine. The Chapel gets used for Communion at 12:15pm and the Church is opened and watched by Anthony from 11:30 to 1pm. Various visitors, deliveries dot the day.

The Furnance People and the Gas Company are 'discussing' whose problem the furnance not working is, going and coming from office to furnace room in basement.
The Security Company is in and out installing the last of the new cameras and getting the system on line.
The Organ repair guys are working on the Church keyboards and Chapel bellows
And the office is being rearranged (moving furniture) to accommodate the arrival of the new curate.

And now I am off to visit the hospital and police precinct (roll call).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

So far,so good

After the dire predicitons, I awake this AM to find no snow at all on the ground, and the weather channel radar looking promising for most of the messy stuf to stay to the south!

Have we dodged another wintry mix Sunday trying to mess up travel to Church?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Another prediction of Sunday bad weather!

Last week we had Sunday predictions of snow followed by ice. We got a small layer of snow, the ice didn't appear.

Now here it is, Saturday PM and altough WWJ has downgraded the overnight snow amount from 2 to 4 inches to only a dusting, it is the 'wintry mix' of freezing rain/sleet that follows that is troubling.

I guess most of the world finds not having this weather on Monday AM comforting for their drive into the office, but I find these Satuday PM predictions for Sunday AM disheartening and a threat to people discerning driving down to St. John's for Mass in the AM.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Massive trade for the Tigers

Mike Rabelo, Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin - GONE (plus a few prospects from the deeper minors) for two All-Star Caliber players: Pitcher Dontrell Willis and Third Baseman Miguel Cabrera.

Begs the question - what happens to Brandon Inge? Does he become a utility infielder/outfielder? Trade bait? Convert to a catcher again (he has said he doesn't want that - but they did trade Rabelo and Vance Wilson was on the DL all last year)? He's a great fielder and an outstanding person - but Cabrera's batting average/home runs/RBI's are higher.

Think of this line-up - Pudge catching, Guillen 1B, Polanco 2B, Renteria SS, Cabrera 3B, Granderson, Jacque Jones, and Magglio in the outfield! Add a healthy Sheffield at DH, (God Willing), and the pitching including Verlander, Willis, Rodgers, Bonderman, Robertson and a stable of middle men and Jones closing...

105 days to opening day......

Developments around the neighborhood

For the Super Bowl two years ago they tore down the donovan building, across the freeway from St. John's, promising a big development including a new Motown Records Museum. I had a feeling it wouldn't work.....

This was in yesterday's Detroit News. New Motwon Museum is dead - and hope is renewed that the new Hockey arena could go there instead of behind the Fox (hope because St. John's would do better for parking income, I think).

INSIDER SCOOP - I spoke yesterday with an interested party in the neighborhood, who said her boss said yesterday they the city is to announce by the end of January a 28 billion dollar development plan, which would be very good for the area. She asked the boss if it involved "ice" and he just looked and her and chuckled. We will have to see if this is reality or wishful thinking on the boss' part.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Motown museum plans fall through
Berry Gordy's group couldn't raise money to build $28M facility north of the Fox Theatre.
Robert Snell / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- A deal to build a $28 million Motown museum and entertainment facility at Woodward and Interstate 75 is dead after record label founder Berry Gordy Jr. and city development officials mutually terminated the project.
The development was killed, according to the city, because nothing had been built in the six years since a deal was reached; Gordy blamed a lack of money.
The deal's unraveling gives the city of Detroit ownership of 15 properties near the intersection, which would have been developed by Gordy's nonprofit group, the Motown Center. The city has reclaimed the land and can sell it to the highest bidder or offer it up for redevelopment. The land is along a critical stretch of Woodward north of the Fox Theatre, Comerica Park and Ford Field.
The proposed Motown Center project would have included an interactive museum featuring Motown memorabilia and an entertainment facility. Its demise coincides with the fabled label's 50th anniversary celebration, which started in October, and derails an effort to build a prominent Motown presence downtown honoring the company's legacy and musical stars such as Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.
"I may not live in Detroit now, but it is on those streets where my heart lies," Gordy wrote in an e-mailed statement. He moved Motown to Los Angeles in 1972 and later sold his interests in the record label.
A smaller museum could be built, but it is a matter of "where and how," said Motown Center President Tanya Heidelberg-Yopp.
"The economic climate makes it not feasible to move forward," she said.
Gordy spokesman Paul Freundlich said the nonprofit group itself might not survive. That's because Motown Center has posted a more than $1 million deficit from 2004-2005, according to the group's most recent tax filings.
"There was a lot more than $1 million lost," Gordy said. "There was the time spent, the work and the selfless commitment from a lot of loyal people that were passionate about making the project a reality for Detroit."
The nonprofit group simply couldn't raise enough money to build the project, Gordy said.
The group spent a lot of money trying to raise the cash, tax records show.
The group paid a professional fundraiser $87,500 in 2004, yet the center only raised $30,000 in contributions, gifts or grants, tax records show.
The group listed more than $3 million in assets in 2005, most of which was three parcels of land along Woodward. The three parcels -- just north of the proposed Motown Center site -- were given to the Detroit Economic Development Corp. this summer as a condition of the deal falling through.
Group's future in jeopardy
The financial situation leaves the Motown Center's future "very much in doubt," Freundlich said.
Gordy has options, however.
He is president of real estate firm Cherrylawn Realty, which owns seven properties at or near the intersection of Woodward and I-75, including land that once housed the Donovan Building.
The 10-story Donovan Building, torn down last year ahead of the Super Bowl, was Motown's headquarters from 1968 to 1972.
"There are no specific plans for the development of that land," Gordy said.
The Motown Center project would have provided a larger, additional facility complementing the separate Motown Historical Museum on West Grand Boulevard, which is headed by Gordy's sister, Esther Gordy Edwards.The historical museum could be expanded now that the Motown Center project is dead, said Robin Terry, Motown Historical Museum chairwoman and chief executive.
"We certainly are exploring that opportunity," Terry said. "We're limited by our current space. We have a responsibility to future generations, to really give them an appropriate space."
Money issues aside, Motown Center successfully created a pilot program last year at Southeastern High School, helping kids create a student-run record label, Heidelberg-Yopp said. The center brought in musicians, industry executives and veteran Motown producers Brian and Eddie Holland.
"The whole goal is using the Motown legacy to touch people, and we've done that successfully without having to build a building," Heidelberg-Yopp said.
City officials now have a chance to redevelop a key chunk of land.
The development deal was signed Oct. 1, 2001, and Motown was to start construction within 20 months and finish within 36 months. As part of the deal, the Economic Development Corporation gave Motown $2.5 million plus a dozen properties near the Woodward/I-75 intersection.
The city later extended the deal, and construction was supposed to be finished Nov. 1, 2008.
"We gave them as much time as we felt was reasonable," said Art Papapanos, vice president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., a public/private agency promoting Detroit development.
The Economic Development Corp. gets to keep those dozen properties now that the deal is dead.
And as a condition of the deal falling through, the city received three more Woodward properties from Motown Center in lieu of the $2.5 million being paid back, Papapanos said.
Hockey arena a possibility?
The three Woodward properties faced foreclosure April 1, 2008, because Motown Center owed about $14,000 in unpaid property taxes dating to 2005, according to the Wayne County Treasurer's office.
The back taxes were paid Nov. 29, days after The Detroit News first called Heidelberg-Yopp, asking about the delinquency.
The Woodward land could be combined with the other parcels owned by the Economic Development Corp. and the city, and sold to a developer, Papapanos said.
The city and the Detroit Economic Development Corp. own about half of the land within the first four blocks north of I-75, between Woodward and Park.
But the cost of acquiring other parcels and offering the space for one development has been too expensive, said Brian Holdwick, the growth corporation's vice president of business and financial services.
The city has marketed some of its land to prospective developers, perhaps for a mixed-use development, Holdwick said. The nearly four-block area has been called an ideal spot for a new Detroit Red Wings hockey arena according to one development expert. But Ilitch Holdings spokeswoman Karen Cullen declined to discuss specific locations for a new arena.
One development official suspects the land would give Mike and Marian Ilitch, owners of the Red Wings, an option other than building behind the Fox Theatre, where the family empire has acquired a wide swath of land.
"Ilitch always has two or three areas (in mind) to stay ahead of the speculators," said Patrick Dorn, executive director of the Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corp. "You can't get a better, sweeter spot for an arena," than the Motown Center land and surrounding properties.
Cullen acknowledges the company is considering more than one location. She was unaware of the Motown Center property, but wouldn't rule it out.
"In the broadest sense, I don't want to get into various sites," she said. "We haven't made a decision on the arena and are still considering all of our options, both whether to renovate (Joe Louis Arena) or build new."
James Canning, spokesman for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, has not heard of any city effort to offer the land to Ilitch for a new hockey arena.
"It's a great parcel of land and our development guys will go out and market it," Canning said.
Though the Motown project won't be built, Canning said: "We have an awesome Motown museum (on West Grand Boulevard). The community needs to continue to embrace that location."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Wow - what a service today!

First the weather conspired to bring down attendance - snow Saturday PM until 5am, followed by rain - basically ALL DAY.

And then when I got to the Church - no heat! The gas level input dropped and set off a sensor on the new furnances. So although the Church was only 58 - not unbearable for people - it caused the organ to slip out of tune....something the Choirmaster wasn't happy about!


Temperature Engineering was on the scene by 8:30 and the furnance was up and running shortly thereafter. Not perfect but closer to tuned than not.

There was enough rain to make the roads slushy but not icy or slippery so we had a pretty good attendance anyway.

Advent Lessons and Carols were AMAZING.
Deo Gratias for our outstanding choir, and the direction of Dr. Lewis as well has his and Richard's accompaniment!

Hopefully the recording came out well (the cold also affected the direction of the hanging microphones, twisting them to the side slightly). If we have a good recording some of the music will appear on the website.