Early this year, Bishop Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr, Tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan called me to serve as Missioner to Spirit of Hope, a mission community in Detroit, Michigan. Spirit of Hope began its life as a gathering of two congregations in North Corktown, Trinity Episcopal Church and Faith Memorial Lutheran Church.
As an interdenominational partnership, Spirit of Hope reflected the resilience of its neighborhood, striving to remain an open, relevant place of love and spiritual life.
Spirit of Hope’s community center offered space for neighborhood activism, feeding programs, recovery groups, and a Head-Start program in addition to worship services. Other churches came to serve in the city with Spirit of Hope, and Spirit of Hope became part of a larger network of churches that shared resources and clergy, called the Detroit Cooperative Church. Then, early in 2018, the Detroit Cooperative Church stopped worshipping in North Corktown, and returned the original church building to the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan.
The Spirit of Hope chapter has ended, and a new work building on a historic legacy begins. Trinity Episcopal Church is a new missional community, with a shared history and new purpose and vision for service and spiritual care in our neighborhood.
To build upon the strong foundation of mission and service to our community, we are committed to the following values:
- Worship Worship, we believe, is the essential thing we do to bring glory to God’s name and love to our neighbors. Worship is our first response to God’s love. It is core to our identity and a vital part of ministry in our neighborhood. We are renewed by the Holy Spirit to continue evangelizing through community service nourished by dynamic Christian worship. We meet on Sundays to proclaim God’s word and celebrate God’s redemption of the world with with Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper. We meet on Tuesday nights for fellowship and study the Holy scriptures together.
- Hospitality The message of Jesus Christ inspires us to open our hands and heart in hospitality. Even as our neighborhood changes, our commitment to God’s radical welcome remains steadfast. Without exception, Trinity’s mission and ministry is open to all persons. All races. All creeds. All walks of life. All are welcome including those of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, generations and socioeconomic classes.
- Engagement Sunday through Saturday, our doors are open to various support groups and community service organizations as well as our developing ministries. Trinity continues to meet and work with partners with whom we share a vision of hope for the people of Detroit, particularly North Corktown and its adjacent neighborhoods, including Corktown to the south, Midtown to the west, Woodbridge to the north, and Core City to the northwest. We are responding to the needs of our neighbors and continuing to offer places for neighborhood meetings and activism, feeding programs, recovery groups, recreation and Christian formation.
I am confident that by partnering together we can make an even more significant impact in Detroit. Heres you you and your organization or congregation can join us in our mission and help Trinity to grow and serve Detroit:
- Visit today’s Trinity. Though we have adopted a historic name, today, Trinity is a place full of new possibilities for worship, hospitality and community engagement. If you are new to the neighborhood or an old friend of Trinity, you are welcome to worship God here. Trinity is renewing and making new connections with its partners in ministry and its neighborhood.
- Consider supporting Trinity’s mission with financial support. With limited resources and a lot of help from our friends, Trinity has been able to provide space for prayer, outreach, and community engagement. Trinity uses its resources to support other organizations that love our neighborhood, from groups that serve lunch several times a week, to medical students who operate a free clinic. We do not and can not do this work alone. Join the growing list of individuals who dedicate their hands and financial resources to support our mission.
- Share your wisdom and experience with us. If you are already a member of a congregation or organization with a similar mission, we invite you to identify gifted representatives from your congregation or organization that may help teach and reach our neighborhood with value of living and working toward the common good of all.
- Pray for our city and our place in it. Trinity remains diligent in prayer for our leaders and our neighborhood. We pray for peace and justice. We pray for God’s blessing on us as we try to serve our city in Jesus’ name. We ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in all our doings. Your prayers for us help us to feel renewed and strengthened.
The other day I was talking with an individual who attended a worship service at Trinity. After worship, the individual told me they would return in a few weeks. After well-wishes and prayer, they were gone. Weeks later, when I saw the individual again, this person told me that the worship experience helped them decide to go for treatment for a narcotics addiction. And because we are committed to hospitality and community engagement, this person attends one of the various programs that meets in our church. Thanks be to God!
I sense this message resonates with other people and organizations who wish to make an impact on our city. This is a new start. The name on the door has changed, yet our mission is the same as it has always been. We are looking for the hurting to find solace here. We are looking for families who want a fresh start. We are looking for partners in the Gospel work. We can do good work together. Our hearts are dedicated, and our resources are limited. We know that with God’s help and your open hands and hearts, Trinity can continue its work for our community and God’s glory.
The Reverend Anthony Estes
Missioner, Trinity Episcopal Church Detroit