Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Morning Reads & Rained-Out BBQs

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Melody Beattie

The church we are serving with, St. Peter’s Episcopal, has been around for about 150 years, the sanctuary built in 1929, on the cusp of the Great Depression. About 30 folks attend the Sunday morning service, an intimate group of seniors, 20-somethings, black, white & brown, middle-class & poor, homeless & upwardly-mobile, PhD’s & the mentally ill. And then there is Sammy, the spunky 17-year old with down syndrome, wearing a One Direction shirt this past Sunday morning, dancing her heart out during the final song (and not afraid to add a little booty shake here and there). There’s no doubt about it: God was smiling.

The church is open as a water station for any resident who has had their water shut-off by the city on Sundays, Mondays & Thursdays. We met Denicia yesterday. She drove 12-hours from Charlotte, North Carolina with a car full of bottled water because she heard about Detroit’s water shut-offs and was compelled to do something about it.

The church was right across the street from the old Tigers Stadium, in the Corktown neighborhood, until it was torn down after the city built Comerica Park in Downtown next to Ford Field (where the Lions play this Monday night!).

We live in the Larkins neighborhood of Southwest Detroit. Every Wednesday, there is a small farmer’s market where local residents sell some of their garden harvest. Tom sold a bag of his Ethiopian Yergacheffe coffee, fresh roasted in an air popper in our living room the night before, and we picked up our first house plant along with some of the hottest peppers you’ll find this side of the Mississippi!

This week, another house burned down three blocks from us (yet again, in the middle of the day), we finally bought a bed (from the warm, gentle & big hearted Oscar who has been selling cheap furniture since he retired from GM 10 years ago), biked down to the federal courthouse to stand with other faith & community leaders bearing witness to the start of the Detroit bankruptcy hearings, served at the water station & soup kitchen, got rained out of the neighborhood Labor Day BBQ (though the party kept going—no throwing in the towel for these long-time Detroiters!), got lessons on how to do proper pushups from a really excitable & friendly new acquantaince named Jimmy who we ran into in the park with his two pit bulls, ran from our church in Corktown around Comerica Park during a Tigers game (3.5 miles?), and continued our new Detroit tradition of morning readings together from our two daily “devotional” books: The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie & All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses For Our Time by Robert Ellsberg.


  1. SO GREAT!!! Thanks for the updates! love that beginning quote!!!