Woke up (as planned!) in a Mt Vernon hotel room. Gassed up and headed down I-57 to Marion, and then west in IL13 to Carterville, where I had a 10am rendezvous with Mother Kathryn Jeffrey, rector of St Andrew's-Carbondale-with-St James-Marion, Trish Guyon, a long-time parishioner and leader at St Andrew's, along with a local real estate agent. We looked at a piece of property that may have some good potential as a site for combining and replanting both of the churches already named. A number of current unknowns will need to align themselves in the right way for this to work, but it is definitely worth exploring. The four of us then repaired to Chili's in Carbondale for an early lunch during which we continued our musings.
After a walk through the mall in Marion to kill a little time and respond to some emails, I headed south for a 2pm appointment with Fr James Muriuki, the incoming priest-in-charge of the Church of the Redeemer in Cairo. We had a very good one hour visit. I cannot contain my delight at having a full time priestly presence in that community.
Back north again, this time on IL37, just for the sake of variation, which took me through Mound City (where we used to have a church) and the Ohio River Scenic Highway. Arrived at St James, Marion in time to prepare for and the preside at their regular eve-of-Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. Candidly difficult but grace-touched conversation over food in the parish house after the liturgy. I invited them to continue into the grieving process over the fact that they are going to have to say goodbye to the buildings and location that have meant "church" to them for many decades.
Now ensconced in my happy home away from home, the Hampton Inn. Since I've already "done" Sunday, I'll spend the morning tomorrow driving home. It will feel weird.