Number four on the list of churches I’ve seen thus far in Detroit is the now defunct Greater Faith for Deliverance Church (which operated under at least one different name in the past), in Detroit’s Petosky-Otsego neighborhood on Grand River. Though I know I still have a long way to go with this compilation, I can honestly say this is the most architecturally beautiful one I’ve profiled on this blog thus far, and undoubtedly the most decayed.
My love of urban decay is more complicated than it was before I moved to Detroit. When I lived in the DC area and Pittsburgh, blight wasn’t all that commonplace, and so whenever there was an abandoned building or house, it was always very fascinating to me. I’d been itching to check out Detroit since middle school (namely because The White Stripes were one of my favorite bands, and 8 Mile was one of my favorite movies), but later on as an adult, I wanted to visit to see the ruins. Yes, I’ll admit it: As a tourist, I came here for the ruin porn. And Detroit satisfied that desire more than I ever dreamt possible.
Yet things have changed slightly. I am not just some wide-eyed tourist anymore. By mid-May, I will have lived here for six months as a homeowner in one of Detroit’s most abandoned areas — abandoned not only by its long-time residents, but also by city officials who are focusing their efforts primarily on the downtown area.
Living in Detroit is great, don’t get me wrong, but it certainly comes with challenges. I’ve had people not take me seriously because I am white, yet all the while I’ve been told that Detroit desperately needs more people “like me”; I assumed they meant “young people moving from other parts of the country”, but they actually meant “white people with jobs who are willing and able to pay property taxes”. And these property taxes I just referred to? They are astronomically high, to the point where tax foreclosure is sadly so commonplace here.
Nevertheless, A LOT of positive things are happening here, with so much more to come. I am living in Detroit by choice, and I am happy to be invested in the city and its comeback. So when I see buildings like this scrapped, eroded shell of a church, I still look at them with curiosity and wonder… yet above all, I look at them and feel a certain sadness.
I am sad not just because of the evident systematic disinvestment, but also because I yearn for the civic pride that I hear used to be strong in the community but is now just a rarity. It’s sad that the people who make a difference in Detroit (for instance, my friend Jonathan Pommerville) are staggeringly outnumbered by those who loot and destroy their own communities; it’s even more devastating that the latter class of people are protected by the majority who turn a blind eye to the theft, arson, and mass destruction that happens so frequently. Maybe it’s a fear of speaking up, or indifference, or hopelessness… but it’s bullshit nonetheless.
But maybe this sadness is also steeped with impatience, because though I am confident that things will turn around in Detroit, I don’t want to wait forever to see this come to fruition.
And I do not want to see this building be destroyed any further. I’d love to see someone revitalize it one day, as it has some beautiful features and is in a central location. And before that ever happens, I would love to explore inside.
I will follow up on this post with more findings (which I am sure will be abundant), but from what I’ve seen thus far, this congregation is not active. So, I highly doubt that Greater Faith for Deliverance will ever return to this building, or that this city fine will ever be paid.