Thursday, April 30, 2020

Thursday

  • Usual early-AM weekday routine.
  • Traded emails with Canon Evans on some ordination-process issues.
  • Responded to an email from a colleague bishop over a mutual concern,
  • Attended via multiple emails to a communications process issue.
  • Fleshed out my homiletical message statement for Easter VI (when I am supposed to be, but won't be, visiting St Andrew's, Edwardsville) into a developed sermon outline.
  • Lunched on leftovers.
  • Attended to a routine monthly personal organization tasks tied to the turn of one month into another.
  • Hosted and chair a Zoom meeting of a Communion Partners subcommittee (on fundraising and staffing).
  • Opened the sermon preparation process for Trinity Sunday, which may actually happen at Trinity, Mattoon. Or maybe not. Living in hope.
  • Took an aggressive 65-minute walk.
  • Evening Prayer with Brenda.
  • After dinner: Wrote email greetings to clergy and spouses with nodal events in May. Scheduled for sending on the appropriate day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Wednesday (St Catherine of Siena)

The highlights:
  • Attended a 2.5 hour Zoom meeting of the Board of Directors of the Living Church Foundation, of which I am the Secretary. In the eight years or so during which I have served this body, it has never been in as good a shape, in every respect, as it is at this moment. This is very gratifying.
  • Set up, planned, recorded, edited, uploaded, and shared two video presentations: One my now customary midweek pastoral greeting to the diocese, and the other a time of catechesis for those who were scheduled to be confirmed at Emmanuel, Champaign this Sunday--an event that, of course, will not occur due to the pandemic protocols. 
  • Developed my outline of a homily for Easter V (sadly, when I won't be able to visit Redeemer, Cairo) into a rough draft.
  • Attended to an ongoing and still-emerging pastoral issue via email.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tuesday

  • Regular weekday early AM routine. Got started on laundry.
  • Set up my first Zoom meeting as a host. (This one is on Thursday, for a subcommittee of the Communion Partners--a gathering that would have happening on Zoom even without the pandemic).
  • Traded emails with Fr John Henry in his capacity as chair of the Commission on Ministry, looking forward to *their* next meeting happening on Zoom, and discussing those who need to be interviewed.
  • Took a phone call from one of our clergy on a couple of technical questions.
  • Scanned a dubious internet domain-name notice that came to my home address, and sent it off to Sue for further investigation.
  • Executed and put back in the mail a land-conveyance agreement for a corner of the property at the daycare facility at St Thomas', Glen Carbon. It's a mutually beneficial agreement with a developer.
  • Scoured my archives for letters-of-agreement with clergy who are not rectors, for the purposes of aiding Canon Evans in the drafting of a new one.
  • Scoured various diocesan sources for financial aid to seminarians, toward the end of devising a comprehensive strategy for the coming academic year.
  • Dealt with a small administrative matter pertaining to the diocesan Zoom account.
  • Walked a couple of blocks up to the nearby Subway--wearing a mask, of course--to pick up some lunch for Brenda and me.
  • Reached out by email to a colleague bishop on an emerging matter.
  • Took Brenda on a modest walk, then took myself on an aggressive one. It is wonderful to be free of the boot contraption. I feel much healthier already. I do believe that if there is a silver bullet for health maintenance as one ages, it's exercise.
  • Arranged Zoom meetings for the clergy of the diocese next week--two deaneries at a time on three consecutive days--and sent out an email to them with the appropriate links.
  • Attended to a small (but significant) matter pertaining to our companion Diocese of Peru. The COVID-19 shutdown has essentially cut off all the cash flow by which they pay their clergy and school employees. Anyone reading this who is in a position to help financially, get in private contact with me.
  • Attended to a matter pertaining to one of our discerners toward Holy Orders.
  • Evening Prayer with Brenda.
  • Processed a couple of emails in the evening--something that happens from time to time: Questions from people I don't know but who evidently know who I am.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

St Mark

The morning accomplishment was the exegetical work on the readings for Easter VII. The afternoon (and into the early evening) accomplishment was the plotting of sermon preparation tasks from June through November. As I have described before, this is an inordinately detailed and time-consuming project. It involves, for each Sunday, looking in my sermon archives to see whether there is a "vintage" text that lends itself to being reconditioned. If there is, that involves plotting two actions in the two weeks prior to delivery. If there isn't, it means plotting six actions scattered over the six weeks prior to delivery. (I have an abnormally long homiletical gestation process, but it's what works for me.) Also squeezed in a phone conversation with Canon Evans and with the Rector of Alton.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Friday (Melanesian Martyrs)

There seems to be an actual weekly routine developing during the lockdown (I know many people complain about one day being indistinguishable from any other, so this is a good thing). Fridays are about doing the finish work on my Sunday homily, setting up for and recording a video of it, editing and uploading the video. Also: planning, recording, editing, and uploading a pastoral greeting to the Eucharistic Community that the pandemic is preventing me from visiting (in this case, St Thomas', Salem). I also had a substantive phone conversation with Canon Evans, and dealt administratively with some issues pertaining to a couple of our seminarians. As a Friday ("day of special devotion") prayer discipline, I did an Ignatian meditation on the gospel reading from the daily office lectionary. Also managed to squeeze a walk in before ordering takeout for dinner.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Thursday (St George)

Today's highlights:
  • 75-minute scheduled phone conversation with a colleague bishop who is savvy about organizational dynamics and processes, picking his brain about an emergent issue. Followed up with some task creation.
  • Continued to work my way through the clergy list, making phone contact just as a pastoral check-in.
  • Sat with my exegetical notes for the propers of Easter VI and eventually got them to cough up a homiletical message statement for the sermon I won't be giving at St Andrew's, Edwardsville.
  • Attended to a handful of smaller administrative and pastoral concerns. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Wednesday

The highlights:
  • Attended the weekly hour-long video meeting of the Province V bishops, followed by then usual phone conversation with one of them.
  • Spoke by phone at some length with Canon Evans and two clergy of the diocese on an emerging issue.
  • Planned, set up, recorded, edited, and uploaded by weekly video greeting to the diocese during this season of Coronatide.
  • Grew my homiletical message statement for Easter VI (probably not at Redeemer, Cairo) into a developed outline.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tuesday (St Anselm)

The big rock today was the drafting of a sermon text for Easter IV, which was to have been delivered at Emmanuel, Champaign, but will be delivered instead to my iPhone and then made available to any who want it. Prayed both offices, EP with Brenda. Attended to some Communion Partners business, and to two emerging substantive pastoral issues. In bright afternoon sunshine, albeit brisk air, I celebrated yesterday's liberation from the book device that I've had to wear on my right foot for the last six weeks by taking an honest-to-goodness walk (careful, of course, to keep my distance from any oncoming pedestrians).

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Saturday in Easter Week

Devoted most of the day to domestic concerns (including my first try and biscuits and gravy, and smoking a pork shoulder). I did, however, spend a chunk of time in the afternoon with commentaries on John in preparation for an Easter VI homily (probably not at St Andrew's, Edwardsville).

Friday, April 17, 2020

Friday in Easter Week

I can't deny that I'm getting better and more efficient with making videos (and I think the technical quality is improving as well), but it still feels like doing so consumes an inordinate chunk of time compared with the length of the final result. But a sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter, and a word of pastoral greeting to St Paul's, Pekin (where I was scheduled to visit this weekend) are "in the can." (The sermon will post on the website tomorrow afternoon, and the pastoral greeting will be available to the people of Paul's about the same time. I also attended to some more Communion Partners business and traded emails with one of our postulants. As a spiritual practice, I went to YouTube and deeply listened to some hymns and choral anthems for the Easter season. Spoke by phone with Canon Evans. Squeezed in a workout on the Bowflex as well.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Thursday in Easter Week

The big rock today was to sit with my exegetical notes on the readings for Easter V (when I will probably not be at Redeemer, Cairo) and coax a homiletical message statement from them. It sometimes feels like giving birth (well, obviously not literally, right?), but success was had in the end. Attended to some business pertaining to my trusteeship of the Putnam Trust, and to a Communion Partners matter. Not my favorite thing, but I also had to devote some energy and time to my 2019 tax return. There are snags. Since the sun was shining, and it wasn't horribly cold, and Brenda was eager for a walk, I indulged in one with her. I have hopes of being free of my "boot," and my restrictions, early next week.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Wednesday in Holy Week

Two now "temporarily usual" Wednesday events were the "big rocks" of the day: a Zoom meeting of the bishops of Province V (followed by a phone conversation with one of them), and the recording of midweek video greetings to the diocese (including, of course, prep time, set up, and video processing before sending it off to Hannah). Also took my Easter IV sermon prep from "message statement" to the "developed outline" stage, as well as dealing with a Communion Partner issue. Throughout it all, I was trading emails with my tax preparer, who kept wanting more information. Plus ... it snowed. So I was not too bummed out about still being on lockdown.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Tuesday in Easter Week

Even though I never left the apartment, the Triduum still felt like it drained me in something resembling the usual way. Learning to be a video producer is stressful! Anyway, that's why you didn't hear from me on Sunday. Having celebrated the Vigil with Brenda the night before, I too the day pretty much "off" and watched a lot of movies on Amazon Prime. So ... back in the saddle today, so happy to be adding frequent Alleluias to the round of prayers that happens in our domestic oratory. Much of the morning was consumed by an emerging domestic concern, in addition to which I dealt substantively with an also-emerging administrative concern, with emails between myself and three others. After a lunch (picked up from a nearby hamburger/taco fusion place with plastic sheeting between the customers and the counter, and no handling of credit cards by employees, and me wearing a mask) of hamburgers, I got down to creating a rough draft sermon text for Easter III, which has been developed with St Thomas, Salem in mind, though I won't be there to give it, of course. I then spent 30-40 minutes on the phone, continuing to work my way through the diocesan clergy list. Next I opened a sermon file on Easter VII, which may or may not be delivered in the context of the celebration of the Eucharist at St Michael's, O'Fallon on May 24. This far out, I don't think there's any way of predicting what the situation will look like then. I try to live in hope. Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Holy Saturday/Easter Eve

Every day the strangeness gets stranger. For 27 consecutive years, Holy Saturday for me has meant presiding informally at the short proper liturgy of the word with members of the Altar Guild of whatever church I've been connected to, and then "puttering" the rest of the day with various chores associated with getting everything ready for the Great Vigil of Easter. Today I did the proper liturgy on Facebook Live (with 44 in "attendance"--so, a record). And my puttering toward the Vigil was by way of scrounging for adaptations and workarounds, being devoid of standard ecclesiastical paraphernalia. I also made a video recording of my Easter homily, which will drop on the diocesan website early tomorrow morning. As soon as it was mostly dark, Brenda and I celebrated the Vigil. We even had an alcohol fire in a wok in our backyard, and an improvised Paschal Candle. I sang the Exultet. Only three prophecies, and no baptisms, of course. It took barely more than an hour. There are moments when the whole effort to maintain some version of our liturgical observances on a miniaturized scale feels kind of silly. But there are other moments when it feels tremendously sweet. For some reason, Form IV of the Prayers of the People has just come alive for me through this experience. So I think it's meet and right that we, collectively, make the effort. May it please God that we never have to do this again, but in the meantime, I am glad we are trying to maintain the fa├žade. In such a recontextualized environment, we can see more clearly precisely how we have been formed by our habits and practices.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday

Once again, I was a video producer. With some input on spiffing up positioning and lighting from our Communications Coordinator (who has a degree in film), I recorded a Good Friday meditation (it required about four takes), trimmed the ends, uploaded it to Vimeo, and sent Hannah the link to take it from there. Brenda and I celebrated the proper liturgy of the day at noon. With a congregation of one in addition to the presider, we accomplished all four sections in 48 minutes, certainly a record in my experience--and this included the entirety of Hymn 166 for the Veneration of the Cross. Our domestic oratory is starting to feel prayed-in. I was then in the mood to make hot cross buns, but discovered we're out of yeast, so I made a (gluten-free, sugar-free) chocolate cake instead. Did some reading, Coaxed a homiletical message statement out of my exegetical notes for Easter IV. Prayed both morning and evening offices.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Maundy Thursday

Much of my day was devoted to simply ... observing the day. We have a mostly-dedicated room for prayer and worship in our apartment (I've actually always wanted a home chapel), but it's not very well-appointed, still very much a work in progress, which, under normal circumstances, is fine. But now it's being used for regular celebrations of the Eucharist, and with some extra bells and whistles needed for the Triduum. So there was a bit of work just figuring how to adapt things to these miniaturized and ill-equipped circumstances. The Lord provides! Mid-afternoon, Brenda and I had a Maundy Thursday celebration with all the requisite parts. I still have a deep sense that I'm doing so very much for and (spiritually) with the whole community of the Diocese of Springfield, even as we shelter at home outside the diocese. I'm grateful for this much. In other news, we noticed a moth problem in our coat closet recently, so another chunk of time was spent remediating that issue (which had the side-benefit of culling the closet of unused and unnecessary items); we'll have a big load for the thrift store when we're allowed to do such things. I also dove deeply into a commentary on John 14 in preparation for not preaching at Redeemer, Cairo on Easter V (May 10). 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Wednesday in Holy Week

All the usual daily stuff, plus these highlight:
  • Attended the weekly videoconference meeting of the Province V bishops.
  • Checked in by phone with the Canon to the Ordinary.
  • Took care of some dangling Living Church Foundation business.
  • Recorded, edited, posted on Vimeo, and shared with the Communicator my weekly Coronatide greetings to the diocese.
  • Edited and refined my Maundy Thursday homily (not being delivered at Springfield Cathedral). Recorded it, which required several takes for various reasons. Edited the video, uploaded it to Vimeo, and sent the link to Hannah.
  • Developed my homiletical message statement for Easter III into an outline which can become the basis of a text.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Tuesday in Holy Week

The major accomplishments of another day on lockdown: 

  •  Prayed Morning and Evening offices, plus intercessions. 
  • Developed my outline for a "Low Sunday" homily (not-at-St-Paul's-Pekin) into a draft text. 
  • Checked-in by phone with more of our clergy. 
  • Allowed myself to be interviewed by a fellow Living Church Foundation board member who is heading the group tasked with developing a strategic plan. 
  • Opened a sermon file on Easter VI (probably-not-at-St-Andrew's-Edwardsville): pray, read, reflect, make notes. 
  • Exploited the excellent (and not soon to return) weather for a modest and short (by usual standards) walk with Brenda.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday

Using boxwood clipped from plants in our front flower bed as surrogate palms, Brenda and celebrated the proper liturgy of the day, together with the Eucharist. Read and dealt with an email from one of our clergy. Did a bit of Living Church Foundation business. Read a teaching document from a seminary professor on how to think about the Eucharist in a time of social isolation. Spent time with family and attended to personal chores.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Saturday (Martin Luther King)

Well, it isn't like the pandemic hasn't dominated our lives for nearly a month now, but, for me, the loss of the annual Chrism Mass, scheduled for this morning, brings the pain home in a fresh way, and it will only get more intense over the coming week. I am in profound grief over not being able to be and do what I am called to be and do. Today's major accomplishments, were the recording, editing, uploading, and sharing of my Palm Sunday homily and a word of greeting to the congregation of St Paul's Cathedral, Springfield. I also opened a sermon file on Easter V ( committing in prayer, taking a first pass at the readings, and making a few notes). In the evening, I adapted some materials for an at-home emulation of the Easter Vigil, which I will pass on to the clergy tomorrow, along with an extra Solemn Collect for use in the Good Friday liturgy, one that takes specific account of this time of plague.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Friday (St Richard of Chichester)

  • Usual AM preliminaries. Got started on four loads of laundry.
  • Attended to a small bit of Living Church Foundation business.
  • Established a Zoom (video conferencing) account for the diocese. It will be used a great deal, I expect, during this season of "coronatide."
  • Spent the rest of the morning wrestling my exegetical notes on the propers for the Third Sunday of Easter (when the church I will not be preaching in is St Thomas', Salem), finally resulting in a homiletical message statement for the non-occasion.
  • Lunched on leftovers. Continued with laundry. 
  • More sermon work: Quality time with commentaries on the readings for Easter IV, when I'm not preaching at Emmanuel, Champaign.
  • Decided not to waste 61 degrees and sunshine and, still against medical advice, took a modest walk (wearing my boot, of course).
  • For my Friday devotion, did a lectio divina on the daily office Old Testament reading for tomorrow.
  • Responded to a newsy email from a military chaplain who is canonically resident with us
  • Got some jambalaya for dinner into the oven, then read the evening office with Brenda.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Thursday (James Lloyd Breck)

Much of the morning was consumed by discussions with the family with whom Brenda and I share a building about how I might approach the responsibilities of my ministry between Palm Sunday and Easter. It had seems prudent to me--an acceptably low risk--to travel to Springfield and be part of the live-streamed liturgies at the cathedral, with only about four people in a large church with circulating air, maintaining a ten-foot distance. It was my fervent hope. My children disagreed with my assessment of the risk. For the sake of these important relationships, I made the decision to stand down, and, with great sadness, informed the Dean. 

I went on, then, to record on video my regular midweek greeting to the diocese. I ran into some unexpected technical glitches, so the whole effort of recording, editing, and posting ran well into the afternoon. Some of that involved waiting for stuff to upload, so I able to proofread the draft of the next issue of the Springfield Current, and get back to Hannah with some tweaks, while this was happening. Spoke by phone with three parish priests of the diocese, and the rector of my DEPO parish, just to keep in touch pastorally during what has been dubbed "coronatide." Caught up on some Covenant blog reading. Refurbished a "vintage" Easter sermon text for use ... via video recording ... this year. Prayed the evening office with Brenda.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wednesday

  • 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.