Mariners’ Church

By: Sarah Jane

Jul 09 2013

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Detroit

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Focal Length:35mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D5200

From Wikipedia:

Established to serve mariners, the church holds a Blessing of the Fleet every March for those going to sea, and a Great Lakes Memorial Service every November for those who have lost their lives at sea.
The church’s bell tolled 29 times in November 1975 to mourn the loss of the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald; once for each of her 29 crew members. The church continued to hold an annual memorial, reading the names of the crewmen and ringing the church bell until 2006.
The church is referenced in Gordon Lightfoot’s song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald with the lyrics “In a musty old hall in Detroit, they prayed in the Maritime Sailors’ Cathedral. The church bell chimed ’til it rang 29 times for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Lightfoot himself performed the ballad at the tenth memorial service for the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1985. After viewing the sanctuary, Lightfoot proclaimed to the congregation that he wrote the song under a false impression and in future performances would refer to the church as a “…rustic old hall…”
On November 12, 2006, two days after the 31st anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the church broadened its memorial ceremony to include the more than 1,000 lives lost on the Great Lakes. In 2006, the bell at Mariners’ Church tolled eight times, not the usual 29: five times for the 5 Great Lakes, a sixth time for the St. Clair and Detroit rivers, a seventh for the St. Lawrence Seaway and an eighth time for military personnel whose lives were lost.


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