Will the City of Detroit’s “Code Compliance Demands and New Directives” to Perfecting Church Lead to Completion? 

Bishop Marvin Winans 


The majestic future home of Perfecting Church – under construction for almost 20 years – is impossible to miss for anyone traveling along Detroit’s Woodward Avenue just north of Seven Mile Road. And the question for many who pass the construction site regularly is, will Perfecting Church ever finish its new edifice? 

The question is also being strongly asked by the City of Detroit these days, according to a four-page letter sent to Bishop Marvin Winans and Perfecting’s Board of Trustees in early January 2023. On the City’s Law Department letterhead and signed by Corporation Counsel and the City’s top attorney Conrad Mallett, the letter addresses issues of great concern rooted in the project’s code compliance and construction timelines. 

In a copy of the letter obtained by the Michigan Chronicle from the city, the written correspondence emphasized, among other requests and directives, the importance of Perfecting renewing its building permits for the church’s construction project, submitting all prior proposals to the City’s Planning and Development Department for review and reevaluation; contacting the City’s Planning and Development Department to begin the process of negotiating a new development agreement; and submitting multiple documents and reports, including proof of financing from a financial institution for the completion of Perfecting Church at 19170 Woodward Ave.   

The city is also asking for a construction management report with timelines for completion.  Deadlines as to when the City expects to receive various reports, updates and other pertinent documentation were contained in the letter.     

“Every deadline is not absolute, but every deadline is critical,” Mallett told the Chronicle.  “We are hopeful that the Bishop and the leadership at Perfecting Church recognize the seriousness of the letter, but also the remaining opportunity to comply accordingly.”  

Mallett said the letter to Bishop Winans is straightforward in outlining what the city is requesting from Perfecting.  Mallet added that to the degree that the directions given in the letter are not met, the likely outcome would be litigation.     

“I have a profound respect for Bishop Winans,” Mallett said.  “Prayerfully, things will work out and litigation won’t be necessary.  So far, they are doing everything we have asked them to do. Communication and moving toward compliance are critical for these matters to be resolved.”  

The Chronicle attempted to reach Bishop Winans via phone at Perfecting Church for comment on the city’s letter and plans to complete the new edifice, but was directed to Cindy Flowers, Perfecting’s general manager. 

The future home of Perfecting Church

Flowers said Bishop Winans wasn’t granting individual interviews regarding the city’s letter at this time.  She also said she could not comment on the letter.  However, the Bishop, according to Flowers, will release a statement to the media about the matter soon.   

Nevertheless, Detroit City Council Member Angela Whitfield-Calloway, who represents District 2 where the future home of Perfecting will be located, commented.  

“I am in agreement with the letter sent by the city,” Whitfield-Calloway told the Chronicle.  “The letter wasn’t harsh; it was very clear and direct.  I hope that the city’s administration and Bishop Winans can come to an agreement that will move the construction project forward to completion without going to court.” 

Whitfield-Calloway, who holds a law degree, added that many residents in the immediate area are tired of looking at the two-decade-old construction site that has become an eyesore and has been racking up hefty fines for violations of property maintenance codes.  Yet, Whitfield-Calloway said she is a cheerleader for the completion of the new Perfecting Church.    

“Whatever the city can do to support Bishop Winans and the project, I would like to see happen,” the councilwoman said.  “Whatever I can do as the councilperson representing District 2, I would like to do if possible, but the Bishop has to complete the project or decide what he is going to do with the property.  Either he has the resources or access to resources and finances to complete construction, or he doesn’t.  He needs to tell the city what his intentions are, and we will go from there.” 

The successful completion of the new church appeared to be a foregone conclusion when on Sept. 3, 2003, amid excitement and anticipation, Bishop Winans convened a press conference announcing grand plans to construct a massive Perfecting Church edifice on 15 acres of land on Woodward Avenue and Seven Mile Road.  In addition to a new church accommodating 4,000-plus people, condominiums, an office building and a parking structure would be built.  The overall price tag in 2003 was announced at $60 million, with a completion timeline of three to four years.  

While movements to build the structure over the ensuing years have occurred, there have also been prolonged periods of delays and work stoppages.  Yet, some feel that If anyone can persevere through difficulties to finish the new church – even after two decades – it’s Bishop Winans.   

“You can look at the structure from the outside and see that it will be absolutely beautiful when completed.  I have faith that Bishop Winans can and will complete the church, perhaps in 2024,” said  Francis M., who lives near the future church.  “I pray that God will grant the necessary resources to Bishop Winans, the wise builder, to see his vision come to fruition.  His longtime track record for growing Perfecting is impressive.” 

According to the church’s documented history, then-Pastor Winans started Perfecting with eight members in his basement.  The first service was held on May 27, 1989.  After moving to multiple sites in Detroit to accommodate the growing congregation, Perfecting moved to its current east side location —  7616 E. Nevada at Van Dyke — in March 1996.  The current membership is believed to be north of 5,000.   

With the steady growth of the congregation, Bishop Winans, in the early 2000s, visualized building a new Perfecting on Woodward with amenities to empower the community.     

“I don’t know anyone rooting against Bishop Winans completing the new Perfecting Church,” Mallett said.  “I want to see him succeed.  However, the City has been patient and respectful toward the Bishop, but it’s time for answers as to when, how or if the new edifice can be completed.”   

“I’m believing God that soon and very soon, we will have services in a finished sanctuary, and we will begin the ministry where the world will be invited,” the Bishop said in a Dec. 2021 Prayer Building Campaign message on Facebook.  “People will come to hear the word of God preached, the sick will be healed and the city will be the better for it.”  























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