Faith in a Fallen Empire
There is a section of Woodward Avenue—the spinal street of Detroit that runs 27 miles up to Pontiac, Michigan—that looks like a patch of quilt stitched in from Europe. Rows of neo-Gothic churches glisten in the dappled October sun, their limestone stairs and multicolored glass panes reflecting the prosperity of former times. There’s Metropolitan United Methodist, built in 1926 in ochre granite imported from Massachusetts. There’s the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, finished in 1930 to seat the archdiocese of Detroit, its wrought-iron gates preserving the church’s gleam over the past century. St. John’s (formerly North Woodward Congregational) boasts an unusual Gothic red-and-white brick design, as well as the honor of being the first black church on Woodward Avenue. Together these and other churches earned this stretch of Woodward the name Piety Hill. It’s a neighborhood that once pulsed with spiritual vibrancy and stability in a city rocked by economic and social upheaval.
“See that church?” says Piety Hill resident Lisa Johanon. She points to a Gothic beauty whose blood-red doors promise life inside. “For $125,000, it’s yours.”
Read more: Faith in a Fallen Empire | Christianity Today.