The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, Community Service in the City, and Mariners Inn
The story of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan and the City of Detroit are intertwined. As the city has grown and changed, so has the Diocese of Michigan. Having organized its first church in the city of Detroit, now the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in 1824, the needs of city residents both within and beyond the household of the Episcopal Church became apparent. As an early response to those needs, a coalition of five city congregations created St. Luke’s Hospital for Women (later relocated to Highland Park), which cared for the health needs of women and their children as well as provided a place of safety and welcome for those in need. St. Luke’s has continued its ministry to the aged since 1861, a ministry now greatly expanded to Canterbury on the Lake in Waterford and to St. Martha’s Commons on Joy Road in Detroit.
With the rapid industrialization of Detroit in the twentieth century, the church was challenged to respond to the needs of workers. In 1923, The Rt. Rev. Charles Williams was notable in urging the Church to respond to persons working in the developing automobile industry and at the Port of Detroit. One such notable response began as a ministry of Old Mariner’s Church. The relationship between Mariners Inn and the diocese was redefined in 1954-1956, when the Inn was separated from Mariners Church and moved to Ledyard Street, a property that continues to be owned by the Diocese of Michigan. During the 1960’s and beyond services offered by Mariners Inn have vastly expanded. While there is continuing financial and volunteer support from the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, its congregations and people, the quality and array of services offered by Mariners Inn have drawn the attention of a wide array of supporters to insure the continuation of its good work. As a member of its Board of Directors, the Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr. continues to lead the Diocese of Michigan in its support of the mission and ministry of Mariners Inn, as well as many other social service and social advocacy programs and agencies in southeast lower Michigan.
For 180 years the Diocese of Michigan has sought to express the love of God in concrete and tangible ways to the people of the city of Detroit and beyond. Many of the ministries of the Diocese of Michigan, like Mariners Inn, have had long and distinguished histories of service which continue today. Some have done their work and become part of the community’s memory. All speak of the commitment of the Diocese of Michigan to express the love of God for all.
For this, we give thanks.
The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan
The Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr.