June 1, 2011
The Honorable Dave Bing
Mayor of the City of Detroit
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
2 Woodward Ave., Ste. 1126
Detroit, MI 48226
Re: Lifting Up Detroit in Prayer
Dear Mayor Bing,
It has been several months since you met Fr. Paul Innes at the Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church Men’s Breakfast. At that time, he informed you that we at Mariners’ Church were praying for you and the Council to restore Detroit to its former greatness. We have prayed fervently that divine guidance will be provided to inspire that restoration.With that in mind, we look to scripture for inspiration: Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).
This verse is emblazoned on the Great Symbol Wall behind the statue of The Spirit of Detroit and it illustrates the intent and symbolism of the art commissioned in 1955 during the great renewal of Detroit. This was from a time when men did not speak only what is politically correct or expedient for public approval. This was a time when men recognized the need for moral decency, integrity, honesty, and a relationship with God.
There is a unique link and bond between The Spirit of Detroit and Mariners’ Church. When the statue was commissioned, in 1955, it was also a year of significant change for Mariners’ Church. Rather than impede Detroit’s Civic Center renewal, Mariners’ was lifted and moved to make way for the construction of the Veterans Memorial Building and Hart Plaza. When all other structures in the vicinity were razed, Mariners’ was saved from the wrecking ball by a community of believers, a family led by the Spirit of God; that same Spirit symbolized by The Spirit of Detroit.
Mayor Bing, we at Mariners’ recognize the crisis you and the Council face and it was through prayerful reflection we determined that there is a need for confirming action that demonstrates our commitment to God’s intervention and support of your office and the Council. Therefore, it is in the spirit of hope and grace that a daily prayer vigil will be undertaken throughout June 2011 at the City County Building. There will be a priest of Mariners’ praying at The Spirit of Detroit at some point every day this month.
We mourn the loss of financial freedom and the City’s decline which was triggered by corruption and evil intent. It is our desire that the Spirit of God will bind up and remove any forces of evil that remain. We look with hope to the future, entrusting all things to God, and praying for our elected leaders.
Following this month-long daily vigil, our congregation will process, on July 3rd following our 11a.m. worship service, to the plaza in front of The Spirit of Detroit and offer prayers and hymns to the Glory of God as an offering reclaiming Detroit. It is also the beginning of a year-long prayer devotion that will be offered for the City and its elected officials each week during our regular Sunday worship. We will also be partnering with other Detroit churches as they publicly lift up Detroit in prayer. For example, we will be joining Pastor Edward Branch’s congregation, from Third New Hope Baptist Church, as they worship on Hart Plaza on Sunday, August 7, 2011.
Mayor Bing, the days of deceit, immorality and corruption are over, and we support you and your Council’s new agenda, but you cannot do it alone. We are partnering with the City, petitioning God for the Lord’s intervention and support of your work in achieving the promise of prosperity and a better future for Detroit.
Fr. Richard W. Ingalls, Jr., Rector of Mariners’ Church
Fr. Paul A. Innes, Assisting Priest