Monday, June 27, 2016


June 25, 2016

We are driving to Detroit. Ahead of us in the distance are tall skyscrapers, buildings and various businesses amidst traffic congestion, when we suddenly see it. There in the middle of the busy, crowded city stands a 14th century English style cathedral, a symbol of the spiritual world from a time gone by. It is majestic and magnificent. It is even more awe inspiring on the inside. I gaze around the sanctuary in amazement noting  hints of medieval construction – pointed arches, stained glass windows, massive pillars, painted ceilings, intricate wooden carvings, marble basins and symbols everywhere of the splendor of churches from long ago. The Cathedral Church of St. Paul was constructed in 1907, although their parish has been in existence since 1824. It is listed on the U.S. National Registry of Historic Places. In fact, Henry Ford’s funeral was held here in 1947, a significance for me considering we recently visited the Henry Ford museum. Steve Kalnoske was the contact for us at this church. He and Charles Miller, the current music director, worked together for 3 years at the National
City Christian Church in D.C. In fact, Charles Miller subbed for Steve at DUMC one time when he was away. 

Our youth arrived early so they could rehearse processing into the sanctuary, sitting in the choir loft and doing the proper things during this formal Episcopal service. To me, the formality of the traditional service combined with the breath-taking surroundings gave an atmosphere of reverence that is sometimes missing in the more casual modern churches. I truly felt like I was walking on holy ground, taken back in time to the foundations of faith in this city. Our youth were singing a beautiful hymn about faith as that thought came to me. “Faith is the end from the start and beginnings in endings.” I hope they sing that hymn for you at the Welcome Home concert. It is so moving and beautiful. 

As usual, Steve outdid himself playing their beautiful organ (although he admitted to me that our Skinner organ is better :). We had a funny little incident at the beginning of the service after Steve played the voluntary. When his song ended, a high pitched fire engine-type siren sound continued coming out the organ. It went on for 5 minutes. (Maybe all of our joking on the bus about Harry Potter magic followed Steve into the church and manifested itself inside the organ?) Even the priest
quipped that everyone was so excited having a choir from Damascus visit us, even the organ. Steve explained to me that what actually happened is that the upper valve got stuck and the air inside was trapped and was shooting through the pipe, creating the squeal. The music director had to climb up and pull the pipe out to make it stop. Mischief Managed.

After the service, we were given bag lunches and headed to Belle Isle Park, a 985 acre island park, surrounded on all sides by the Detroit River. The designer of Belle Isle Park is the same person who designed Central Park in New York City. Across the water in the distance, one can see the International Bridge crossing into Canada. The park has many attractions, including a Conservatory with 13 acres of different varieties of plants (the oldest in the nation), a small aquarium (also the oldest in the U.S.), playgrounds, a giant slide, basketball and soccer fields. Everyone broke up into
groups and headed out to explore for a few hours. Many youth found their “Jimmie Cone away from home” ice cream truck and stood in long lines to get some cold, delicious refreshment. Our athletic hardy boys took over the soccer field with another fast action frisbee  game, even though it was crazy hot outside (you will notice in my photos that most of them took off their shirts.) 

Back in the bus, we headed to our next venue, Westside UMC in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our Greeters for the day were Jessie Marshall and Dee Robertson in the morning and Sydney Fennington and Calista Kibak in the afternoon. Sydney  Fennington was finally awarded her fork award for her Harry Potter memorial room story that she told a few days ago. I have included a few photos of that room in our photo album today that she took when she was there. Our host church had provided a lovely pot luck dinner for our group. There was plenty of food to choose from. Angela Nardone gave a beautiful prayer to bless our food and Jessie Marshall stood and thanked the ladies for their hospitality. Polly presented the choir director with another lovely piece of artwork with the border drawn by our own Kitty McNaughton Ayers. He promptly hung it in his choir room for all to see.Our big surprise of the evening was seeing Kelly Bratburd walking through the door! She will be joining us for the rest of the tour. Phil Hulcher also had family members arrive to watch the concert. The crowd was enthusiastic and appreciative. They sang along with a few songs and were clapping loudly as Julia Bratburd belted out “He Never Failed Me Yet.” As usual, the youth wowed the audience with their singing skills and beautiful music. Tonight we are staying in host homes. Maybe we will have some new fork stories tomorrow! 

Who will our next winner be? Check in and see! 
This is your Michigan blogger Sue, signing out.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my! That magnificent Cathedral, those awesome organ-pipes, the gorgeous gardens, the action-filled frisbee games by youth and leaders alike, fantastic! what a great story telling of the day! I was practically there with you! Thanks for sharing. God bless you.