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

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

'Back to Normal' Annual Parish Meeting - Rector's Rambling for January 29, 2023

     For the first time since January of 2020 we are having a ‘regular’ Annual Parish Meeting at St. John’s.  In 2021 we were not permitted to meet in person for the meeting because we were restricted to “9 people plus the priest” for public worship and livestreaming - and we were doing 10 worship services a weekend to accommodate all who wanted to attend. That meeting was done via Zoom.

In 2022, having been restored to a modicum of normalcy for worship service attendance, we had coffee hour, meals, and other gatherings restricted once again by the diocese so we had a truncated meeting in the church itself.

So once again we get to gather for a meal and a chance to share the joys of what God has accomplished for us in the past year, and share our hopes, God being our helper, for the year ahead.  After the 10 AM Meeting come downstairs for a quick bite to eat and the meeting.

The first official meeting of the parish occurred on November 21, 1859.  The chapel had been consecrated for worship by the Bishop of Michigan the previous Thursday, November 17th, and the first Sunday of worship was held on the 20th.  On Monday night the Parish meeting had two items of business.  The re-election of the Vestry, and pew rents. 

Until 1936 the budget was set and met by the renting of pews for the year, rather than by the passing of the collection plate.  At that first meeting in 1859 they ran into a remarkable problem!  The 125 seat chapel, which they thought would be sufficient for 5 to 10 years for the parish built in the then rural outskirts of the city of Detroit, had 600 people apply to rent pews!!!  Within a week the Vestry approved plans to begin raising money to build the large church we also have now.  It was opened two years later!

In my time here at St. John’s (22 year anniversary comes up next month) we have had a few major building projects, including our most recent - the new Burton Ministry Center and undercroft renovation.  No building project on the agenda this year.  Join us to see what has been accomplished, and our hopes for the year ahead.