Wednesday, April 1, 2020


  • Usual weekday AM routine.
  • Participated in a long email thread with the CtO, the Treasurer, the Chair of Finance, and the Administrator around the CARE Act provisions for non-profits to receive forgivable loans for the purpose of maintaining payroll.
  • Logged on to a now weekly (for the time being) one-hour Zoom conference between the bishops of Province V.
  • Following the meeting, took a substantive phone call from the Bishop of Eau Claire.
  • Took yet another substantive phone call from a couple of lay leaders in one of our Eucharistic Communities.
  • Lunched on leftovers.
  • Had a 90-minute telemedicine appointment with one of Brenda's doctors. Even under normal circumstances, I would have appreciated this sort of thing instead of going into the office.
  • Consulted the Dean via email regarding Palm Sunday and Holy Week observances at the cathedral.
  • Endured Verizon's "digital assistant" toward the end of getting Brenda's new phone activated.
  • We are sharing more meals between the other family members in our building, and it fell to me to fix (with Brenda's active assistance) chicken enchiladas tonight. So I broke off from my task list a little early to see to that chore.
  • EP fells into the cracks tonight. Hate it when that happens.
  • After dinner, massaged my homiletical message statement for Easter II (a non-visitation to St Paul's, Pekin) into a developed outline.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tuesday (John Donne)

After the usual preliminaries, the working day began with Canon Evans and I emailing and phone-calling in an effort to get a diocesan Zoom account established. It felt like the blind leading the blind at moments, as we found ourselves in a sort of bureaucratic traffic circle without any clear exit strategy. Time along will reveal how productive our efforts were. I then got to work on an Ad Clerum (letter to "in-charge" clergy) about how we "do" Holy Week and Easter under present conditions. (Operating in the background of all this, of course, is grief and anxiety over those same "present conditions" and what it's doing to our social fabric and our souls and multiple levels.) With a break for lunch, this effort took me to the mid-afternoon. Ran an errand to a doctor's office to pick something up (observing all prudent protocols). Worked out on the Bowflex (which I should be doing anyway, but right now it's my surrogate for walking). Wrote emails to clergy with nodal events in April and scheduled them to be sent at the appropriate times. (With the retirement of a part-time staff member who used to prepare and organize my note cards and envelopes so I could hand-write these message, I've moved to an electronic format. In any case, my handwriting was getting less and less legible, so it's probably a good thing.) Evening Prayer with Brenda. After supper, I did some refurbishing work on a "vintage" sermon text for Maundy Thursday.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Fifth Sunday in Lent

Not much to report. House arrest continues. The big excitement was perhaps driving to Popeye's to get dinner from the drive-thru (interacting with a masked and gloved employee) Read a good bit, watched some old movies, attended to some routine domestic chores (periodic photo organizing, finances). Significantly, though, Brenda and I again did celebrate the Eucharist together. Here's what I wrote about it on Facebook:
I celebrated a private in-home Mass today for only the third time in my ministry of 30+ years. (The other two times were last Sunday, and Wednesday, which was a major holy day.) Under normal circumstances, that would be self-indulgent. I am not unaware of my privilege; since I'm ordained to do so in general, I *can* do so. But these are not normal circumstances, and I believe it behooves those who are so ordained to do as I have done. Some have suggested that clergy should fast from the Eucharist in solidarity with all the baptized faithful, since they are not similarly privileged. I *could* do that. When walking the Camino in 2016, I was without the sacrament for more than six weeks. I learned the art of spiritual communion, and grace abounded. But, today, I was scheduled to preside at the Eucharist, not in general, but concretely with the people of St George's, Belleville. My celebration at home was not *with* them, save mystically, but it was definitely *for* them, on their behalf, for their sake. That whole community was represented, recapitulated, in our domestic oratory (aka the back bedroom) by my wife and me. Doing so was our work, our "liturgy." We offered the sacrifice that must be offered perpetually, "until he comes." The Mass must go on.

Saturday, March 28, 2020


The productive part of my day was consumed by video-recording, editing, and uploading a homily for Lent V and a special pastoral greeting to St George's, Belleville, which I had been scheduled to visit tomorrow. Technology still tries regularly to gut-punch me, but today I was mostly victorious. The unproductive (though quite enjoyable) part of my day was spent finishing a streaming production of Wagner's Twilight of the Gods, which I began last night, but it has a 4'45" run time! This came from the Met in New York, but was made available via the Chicago Lyric because they had to cancel their much-hyped production of all four segments of the Ring Cycle due to the virus, and this is the one I had not yet seen on stage. I understand that Wagner is possibly an acquired taste, but it's one I have very much acquired, so it was ... sublime. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday (Charles Henry Brent)

Another day under house arrest. They're all starting to feel the same. I had a Skype conversation with an individual who is seeking access to the ordination process. I participated in the recording of another podcast for the Living Church Foundation, this time as one of two guests, along with two hosts. We talked about how the context of the pandemic recontextualizes how we think about the Eucharist. It should be available for public consumption next week. I also opened a sermon file on Easter IV, where the place I won't be delivering it is Emmanuel, Champaign. Wrote a recommendation letter for a seminarian's scholarship application. Weighed in on an ongoing email conversation about the diocese opening a Zoom account. (We clearly need to.) Worked out on the Bowflex, since I'm still not allowed to do any serious walking. In other news, spent about 90 minutes of my life that I'll never get back wrestling with Verizon in an effort to upgrade Brenda's phone; her device is about 110 in cell phone years, and has apparently given up the ghost. Prayed both morning and evening offices. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020


  • Usual early AM weekday routine.
  • Took care of an administrative chore for the Putnam Trust (executing a trade proposal recommendation on the part of U.S. Trust, the fund manager). I've tried to avoid looking too closely at either diocesan or personal stock market holdings lately. I'm pretty confident it will all straighten out, and suspect that money managers probably have a higher level of anxiety than many of their clients.
  • Aside from keeping on top of emails as they arrived, and paying attention to general developments on the pandemic front, I spent the rest of morning, and the early afternoon, immersed in commentaries on Luke and I Peter, toward the end of sermon preparation for Easter III, when the church I won't be visiting is St Thomas', Salem. It's necessary work for a preacher to study a scripture text quite closely, but, for me, it's also a treat, so ... win/win.
  • Shot emails to our three Nashotah House seminarians. The campus is on lockdown, with no communal worship or communal meals and classes conducted remotely. Our student each live alone, so it's a kind of modified solitary confinement. Do hold David Knox, Danté Anglin, and Mark Klamer in your prayer. Took care of some additional business with one of them.
  • Made arrangements for a video interview with someone at the beginning of the ordination discernment process.
  • Took care of a routine personal organization chore, a calendar maintenance task generated by the coming transition from March to April.
  • Spent about 45 minutes with the ongoing basement organization project. It really will never end.
  • Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


  • Regular weekday early AM routine (personal devotions, intercessions, Morning Prayer, tea, breakfast, Facebook, crossword, task organizing).
  • Exchanged a couple of email with Hannah about various things that we've got going.
  • Prepped for and recording a weekly video greeting to the diocese.
  • Participated in a video meeting of the Province V bishops, which looks to become a weekly thing during this extraordinary season.
  • Worked on editing my video greeting (with a little help from my son upstairs), got it uploaded to Vimeo, and handed it off to Hannah. (It's now on the website.)
  • Celebrated Mass for the feast day with Brenda in our domestic oratory (which I'm going to have to settle on a proper name for, I think), which included, of course, a recitation of the Lord's Prayer, in keeping with the request of the Pope, the Presiding Bishop, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • Lunched on leftovers, slightly on the late side.
  • Conferred by phone with Canon Evans over a few things.
  • Wrestled with my exegetical notes on the readings for II Easter and arrived at homiletical message statement that, barring a miracle, I won't be able to deliver at St Paul's, Pekin.
  • Too advantage of a beautiful early spring afternoon and, doing an end run around my foot doctor's orders, took a modest walk with Brenda around the neighborhood. The boot I have to wear actually makes me dial back my cruising speed to her natural pace.
  • Worked on developing a promised reading list for a postulant to the diaconate.
  • Evening Prayer fell through the cracks, as I got caught up in making chicken enchiladas for the other family members who live in our building, which we all ate together in our dining room.