This morning was my first visit not only to St John's Church, but to Centralia. It's a lovely town that, sadly, has seen better days, with a huge part of its economic base (railroad, oil, coal mining, manufacturing) having steadily dried up over the past two or three decades. St John's as a congregation dates to well before the Civil War and the building to 1924. Some of their stained glass is among the finest I've seen, even in much larger churches.
As always, the Bishop of Springfield was greeted with great affection, fed sumptuously, and left bearing gifts. I don't know if I could stand this job being any more fun. What wonderful people we have in this diocese.
Here's a photo with Fr Gene Tucker and Deacon Sylvia Howard at the rear of the church following the Mass.
And here's the sign in front of the church across the street.
I told the people of St John's in my homily that we want St John's not to have a sign saying they are soaked in scripture, welcoming of sinners, and manifesting true community, but to be a sign of those things.
I the evening, I also posted something substantive on my "real" blog that you may want to check out.