Saturday, July 22, 2017

St Mary Magdalene

The highlight of the day, and it truly was that, was the privilege of ordaining Caleb Roberts to the priesthood at Emmanuel, Champaign. Fr Caleb is the new curate there, and the first curate in the Diocese of Springfield almost within living memory. There was a good turnout from among the priests of the diocese and it was a glorious liturgy.  

Now moving into vacation mode, where I will be until August 23. So ... I'll catch you back in this part of cyberspace then.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday

  • Task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral.
  • Conferred with the Archdeacon at some length about about an ongoing issue in one of our parishes.
  • Conferred with Paige a bit, making sure she's on track in her work as my vacation begins.
  • Met for nearly an hour with two clergy members of the Standing Committee over the same issue referenced above.
  • Spoke by phone with a priest of the diocese ... over the same issue that has dominated the morning.
  • Refined and formatted the draft Mission Strategy Report form that all Eucharistic Communities are now required to submit annually. Vetted it by email with a select group of rectors to get their input before going live with it.
  • Lunch at home. Leftovers.
  • Wrote out notes to clergy and spouses with August nodal events (birthdays, wedding anniversaries, ordination anniversaries).
  • Met with the Administrator and the Archdeacon over some detritus from yesterday's Finance Department meeting.
  • Friday prayer: Lectio divina on today's office OT reading.
  • Evening Prayer in the cathedral.
  • Scanned and otherwise processed accumulated hard copy.
  • Responded to those who had replied to a message I sent to the clergy earlier in the week asking for volunteers for the position of Ecumenical Officer. (It looks like we're going to form a four-person Task Force rather than appoint a single EO).

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday

  • Email processing and task planning at home.
  • Reported at 9:15am to an orthopaedic surgery center for a steroid injection in my tailbone joint. It has been getting progressively more painful to sit for extended periods of time for the last couple of years. X-rays indeed revealed a "displaced coccyx." The only working theory is that it's a delayed response to an accident that I suffered ... wait for it ... 30 years ago! Not implausible, says the doc. The procedure has only a 50% chance of working, I'm told. If it does, it does. If it doesn't, I'll be sitting on donut-shaped objects for the rest of my life.
  • Against medical advice, I went right from the clinic to the office, where I was only a few minutes late for the regular semi-annual meeting of the Finance Department. The work on our plate was the preparation of a 2018 operating budget for presentation to Council next month and to Synod in October. The canonical revisions have thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into established practices, but we were adjourned by 12:45--not a bad morning's work.
  • For the rest of the day, I sort of *did* take medical advice and worked from home. A big chunk was taking my prep for preaching the readings for Proper 18 (September 10 at Trinity, Yazoo City, MS) to the next level-- a succinct message statement. Another big chunk was just staying in front of the email tsunami. With my vacation approaching, demands/requests seem to be ramping up. And the third big chunk was a FaceTime conversation with a priest from outside the diocese who sought my counsel over an important work of discernment he is engaging in.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday (St Macrina)

  • Task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral.
  • Prepared to preside and preach at the midday Mass. The process, for various reasons, got a little longer and more convoluted than it usually does.
  • Substantial phone conversation with one of our parish clergy over an ongoing pastoral matter.
  • Dealt with some complications in a couple of my own health insurance claims.
  • Took a first prayerful pass at the readings for Proper 23 (October 15 at St Matthew's, Bloomington). Getting what appears to be an egregious head start because of a) my upcoming vacation, b) a House of Bishops meeting in Alaska in September, c) a board meeting in early October, and d) diocesan synod the following weekend. Life is busy. Planning required.
  • Celebrated and preached the Mass for the lesser feast of St Macrina.
  • Lunch from McD's, eaten at home.
  • Sat with the Administrator and Archdeacon for our annual ritual of "elections and appointments." The countdown toward Synod means this is the time to ensure that we have at least one person running for each of the elective offices, and names in the queue for the appointed ones. 
  • Wrapped up the homiletical task I had begun the morning.
  • Attended to a routine personal organization chore. It's the sort of thing that will probably never become an emergency, but makes my life more efficient if I don't let it go for too long.
  • Spent more quality time with Gnosis, the database system. Not as productive as the time I spent with it yesterday.
  • Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday

  • Usual weekly/daily task planning at home.
  • Read MP in my recliner while waiting for a repairman (who eventually gave us really bad news about our gas-powered generator that's suppose to cover power outages). Dealt with a pastoral/administrative issue and a Nashotah issue while this was all going on. At the office a little before 10:00.
  • Dealt with another pastoral/administrative issue.
  • Performed radical surgery on the text of a homily form Proper 16 (late August) that I gave several years ago, toward the end of preaching on that occasion next month at St John's, Albion.
  • Logged on to my Western Union account to wire some collected funds that we've been holding for the Diocese of Tabora. This bit should finish putting a roof on a priest's house so he and his family can move in and leave their rented digs.
  • Lunch at home. Leftovers. Stayed there to work ahead of an 3pm dental appointment.
  • Attended to an ongoing Nashotah issue. (It's always something.)
  • Dealt with a pastoral issue via email.
  • Went and submitted my teeth and gums to the hygienist's pick axe. Didn't get scolded about anything, so ... that's a win.
  • Spent the rest of the afternoon wrestling with the database system (with ultimate success) for the purpose of sending an email to all 72 of our canonically resident clergy. It will be easier the next time, and easier still the time after that. Full-featured technology comes with a steep learning curve.
  • Evening Prayer in my chair.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Lord's Day (VI Pentecost)

Today was a rare Sunday on which I had no scheduled visitation, so Brenda and I attended the Divine Liturgy at  nearby St Anthony's Greek Orthodox parish. I feel like I've taken a bath in wholesome, life-giving, historic devotion and theology. We were warmly welcomed. And even though we could not receive the sacrament, the "bread of hospitality" (antidoron) made that welcome tangible.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday

It was a joy to spend my morning preparing, celebrating, and preaching the Mass for the diocesan Cursillo Ultreya. I continue to have hopes for the Cursillo movement here as a significant source of renewal and discipleship formation. After a long walk and some email chores in the afternoon, we attended a backyard dinner at the home of a St Luke's parishioner who had recently spent time in Brazil in connection with his work and established some relationships with some Brazilians, who are now visiting the U.S. and were in attendance. It was a chance to keep the small bit of Portuguese that I have alive.