Decaying Churches of Detroit

You enter the dark church through the sacristy. When you stand in its former sanctuary, you immediately notice the churches badly vandalized state, broken wooden benches in disarray, a half-destroyed grand piano lying on its side, and the letters HELP spray-painted in silver onto a wooden beam of the confession box. On the side, you read the words “Detroit is not dead”. You then notice the many half burned candles and a prayer book on the podium. You realize the candles have been used very recently. Someone still uses the church! Detroit is not dead, despite the disarray.
The name of the church I visited is the former St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church. It was commissioned in 1920 and the St. Margaret Mary School was added in 1923. In 1982 the Detroit Archdiocese closed St. Margaret Mary Church, I guess due to the stark decline in Detroit’s population. Since 1984 the church, after being sold off, was used by the Hill of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church until it was broken into and vandalized in 2012. I heard that police were called but – unbelievably – never arrived at the scene. Next door, in St. Margaret Mary School a black board still depicts the date of the last day when the school was in service: 11/8/83. Next to the date, the written rules for the last day of class are still visible and an abandoned atlas clings to the wall.
At my second visit, there are no more candles in the church, more decay, and a dancing skeleton has been spray-painted where once hung the cross. The words “Detroit is not dead” that I saw during my first visit had been altered into “Detroit is dead” and then re-changed to its original form.
As far as I know you can even have a wedding in one of Detroit’s abandoned churches but I don’t know who would actually perform the service. There is always room for change.

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