Showing posts from April, 2011

Easter Saturday

Hit the road (with Brenda) shortly after 8am for St Matthew's, Bloomington, site of the annual Diocesan ECW meeting. Saw a lot of people outside the context in which I associate them, which is pretty confusing to this newbie in the diocese, though I try not to let on! Celebrated Mass for the assembled group (around 30), leaving a bit after 3:00 and arriving back home around 4:30. After a nap, a walk (my usual four miles in about an hour) and a little yardwork, Brenda and I went out for dinner. Returned home to study and offer comments on the draft parish profile from Trinity, Lincoln and respond briefly to about a half dozen emails regarding diocesan business of one sort or another.

Easter Friday

I'm not fanatical enough to have deprived myself of sleep in order to watch the royal wedding live, but I'm interested enough to have delayed the start of my work day a bit in order to watch the DVR'ed version. On the whole, it made me rather proud to be an Anglican today. Everything was stunningly beautiful, and the Christian vision of marriage was proclaimed winsomely and unashamedly. Morning Prayer in the car, using the memorized short form. More "important but not urgent" administrative tasks. Several, in fact. Met with the Archdeacon and with Vice-Chancellor Kevin Babb (for nearly three hours!), talking about canonical reform in general and in particular the revision of our canons to implement the drastic changes to Title IV (clergy discipline) that take effect on July 1. Relieved that we now have a plan. Lunch with Fr Denney at a mediocre Mexian restaurant. Still looking for  haute cuisine  with a Mexican accent in Springfield. Fiesta on Stevenson is evi

Easter Thursday

Processed a bunch of emails, including some responses that had been long overdue.  Took care of a several relatively trivial--but, again, long overdue--administrative chores. (When the same task has been in play for weeks, even if it's of less than critical importance, I eventually move it up in the queue just to get rid of it!) Met with Fr Dick Swan, Canon for Mission in the Hale Deanery cluster, and extensively discussed the five small congregations that oversees. There are copious challenges and copious opportunities in that rural and spread-out part of the diocese. I am eager to be a good steward of our mission there. Then I took Dick to lunch. Phoned the New Jersey office of Wippel's to complain about several shirts I recently ordered from them; the sleeves are too long. I was completely pleased by this particular customer service experience. Worked a bit on my homily for Easter III (May 8), to be delivered at St James', McLeansboro. Met with a representative of I

Easter Wednesday

Usual morning routine: newspaper, email, and task planning at home with tea and a muffin, Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Left a message on the home answering machine of (transitional) Deacon Jeff Kozuszek (in charge at St Thomas', Salem), who is dealing with a flooded basement and a leaky roof in the wake of recent torrential rains.  Monitored messages from Frs Dick Swan and Gene Tucker regarding the status of Redeemer, Cairo, which is at imminent risk of being flooded by the waters of the Ohio River as it flirts with overflowing its levee. Dashed off a letter to the Bishop of Upper South Carolina asking him to continue to license Fr Daniel Karanja, one of our priests who serves as a military chaplain in that area. Met with David Taylor, formerly a priest of the diocese who voluntarily renounced his orders in TEC in order to join the Orthodox Church in America. David now wishes to rescind his renunciation and return to ministry in the Episcopal Church. I shall assist him in d

Easter Day

Preached at the early Mass and presided and preached at the principal celebration at the cathedral. Both liturgies went smoothly and were well-attended. I was particularly moved by the choir's rendition, as a "gospel walkback" anthem, of the Orthodox liturgical text: "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life." I'm still embracing the learning curve of episcopal choreography; the moves with the mitre and crozier are not yet second nature to me. But all things in time, and I do feel incredibly blessed to be doing what I'm doing (and, I suppose, being what I'm being).  After a nap, afternoon festivities at the home of some parishioners of St Paul's who have been incredibly hospitable to us since our arrival in Springfield. Spent some quality time playing Wii-golf with their two teenage kids.  Now planning to take two consecutive whole days off. So plan on seeing something in this spa

Easter Homily

(Cathedral Church of St Paul the Apostle, Springfield Easter Vigil and Easter Morning) Facebook makes some changes to its user interface, and the social networking world says, “Life as we know it will never be the same.” A couple of large countries unhook their own currencies from the U.S. dollar, and economists and pundits intone the same refrain, “Life as we know it will never be the same.”   The City of Springfield contemplates moving the passenger rail corridor from Third Street to Tenth Street, and what do we hear? “Life as we know it will never be the same.” As you can see, this figure of speech can have a wide range of meanings, from the trivial to the profound, from the planned to the accidental. But what about “life as we know it”? Behind the hype and beyond the humor, what are the defining characteristics of human existence? Should we be afraid if life as we know it will never be the same, or should we be grateful if life as we know it will never be the same? There is certa

Holy Saturday ... Easter Eve

Leisurely morning ... brisk long walk around Washington Park ... surfed the 'net reading seasonal miscallany, encountering some fine Holy Saturday poetry ... hosuehold chores. Took care of some personal planning tasks relative to continuing to connect authentically with the clergy of the diocese. Reviewed, with Brenda, the proofs from the portrait session following my consecration. Made some decisions and communicated them to the photographer. Hope to have 3-5 choices available soon to those who are interested. Headed downtown to the cathedral about 6:30 in order to get ready for the 8pm Great Vigil of Easter. The liturgy was performed in spirit and in truth. Deacon Marth Bradley sang the Exultet in truly exemplary fashion. Got to baptize little Camdyn Walsh Hammer, who is too young to give consent, but he certainly voiced no objections--no demons to come out of that kid when the water hit his head! And we had a fine trumpet player to add some extra joy to our singing.

Good Friday

Morning Prayer in the cathedral, in the somber nave, then some time praying in the chapel at the Altar of Repose. Finished and refined my Easter sermon.  Took a longish phone call wherein the subject was the special project I am working on in connection with my membership on the Nashotah House board. The issue is certainly getting more complex before we'll be able to do anything to make it simpler. Looked at propers for Easter III, gearing up for preparing a sermon for my visit to St James, McLeansboro on May 8. After a bit of wrestling, I feel like I have a sense of direction with it. Went home for a while to look at some troubling rain drainage patterns that Brenda had called my attention to. Ended up getting on a ladder and hand-clearing a couple of gutter downspouts of leaves and debris. Things are flowing a little better now. We've had lots of rain. Took my sermon for Easter II (May 1 at St John's Chapel in Champaign) to the next level or preparation. After a cou

Sermon for Maundy Thursday

Human beings are prisoners of time. Speaking theologically, I’m not sure whether to attribute that to God’s intention in creation, or to our fall into sin. But whichever it is, we cannot exist without reference to the past, the present, and the future. The mystery of time, this fundamental human experience, is something we can neither fully comprehend nor transcend. We don’t understand time, and we certainly can’t break free of it. Of course, this doesn’t keep us from fantasizing. Any new book that is well-written, any new movie that is well-made, and includes the theme of time-travel, is bound to be popular. We also process the mystery of time in more subtle ways. Those of my generation, those who came of age between the mid-‘60s and the mid-‘70s, will remember a film called The Big Chill . It was about a group of thirty-somethings—which is what we were when the movie came out—who had all hung out with one another when they were in college getting back together for a sort of house pa

Maundy Thursday

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Finished playing phone tag with the bishop of the diocese with which we co-sponsor a summer camping program. We had a helpful conversation. Processed several emails. Worked on refining my homily for tonight's liturgy. Met for 90 minutes with the Archdeacon and Deacon Dr Tom Langford, chair of the Commission on Ministry, to review where we are and where we need to be going with respect to that body's work. Productive conversation. Finished refining tonight's sermon, then swang by home to check on Brenda, who, alas, has the illness that I'm now recovering from. Fast food drive-through for lunch. Dashed off a few words "From the Bishop" for the May issue of the  Springfield Current . Put some meat on the bones of my homily for Easter (both Vigil and Day, same sermon). Worked a little more on the details for the May 15th event, then took care of a couple of mundane administrative chores. Evening Prayer in the cathedral. R
Uusual morning routine ... Morning Prayer in the cathedral. No appointments today, so it was a good opportunity to just punch out items on the do-do list:  Worked on sermons for Maundy Thursday, Easter, and Easter II. As one of those occasions is tomorrow night, it got the most attention. (I seem to settling into a three-week sermon incubation rhythm, so I need to yet get Easter III into the pipeline this week.) Processed items that had accumulated on my desktop (my literal desktop, that is) over the last seven days (this is normally a Tuesday task, but I didn't get to it yesterday). Wrote a letter to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Belleville seeking permission to use one of his churches for the ordination of Jeff Kozuszek to the priesthood on June 10. Returned a phone call and scheduled an appointment with a lay person seeking counsel in discernment for ministry (not necessarily ordained). Spoke by phone with another bishop regarding a clergy deployment issue. Spoke by phone
Task planning and email processing at home. In the office earlier than usual, given the heavy agenda of the day. Opened a package waiting on my office table: the white/gold cope, mitre, and stole just arrived from London and in time to be "blessed by use" at the cathedral's Easter Vigil. It's a lovely set. Managed a brief moment of prayer in the cathedral, but the actual morning office got away from me, as soon there were people around, full of question, in preparation for the Liturgy of Collegiality (aka Chrism Mass). I took the time to make sure everything I would personally need for the service was identified and prepared. Brief exchanges with Archdeacon Shawn Denney, Treasurer Jim Donkin, and Father George Pence. Worked at my desk on a pressing pastoral/administrative (sometimes it's difficult to make a distinction between the two) matter right up until it was time to go get vested for the Mass. The liturgy, on the whole, went smoothly. Father David Boase

Sermon for Palm Sunday

(St Matthew's, Bloomington) It feels almost presumptuous to say anything after reading St Matthew's Passion the way we’ve just heard it. Nonetheless, in order that the word of God not be obscure to anyone, in order that this too familiar but still overpowering story of one man's suffering and death be revealed clearly and compellingly as gospel, as good news, let me cut right to the chase. What's the point?!  What in heaven's name is gained by such a gruesome sequence of events as Jesus experienced?  And, if anything is to be gained, could it not have been gotten by some other means, some more elegant and less costly way?  Neither of these questions is particularly easy to answer, but the first one is less difficult than the second. What is gained by Jesus’ suffering and death?  I can think of no more concise and poetic answer to this question than that found in the words of the prayer by which we will offer to God the bread and wine of this Eucharist:  Holy and g

Palm Sunday

On the mend healthwise, more or less. The run-over-by-a-truck feeling is gone, at any rate. Still dealing with a hacking cough and head congestion. Delightful visit to St Matthew's, Bloomington this morning (where my symptoms gave the Proper Preface a Louis Armstrong-esque patina), followed by gracious hospitality extended by Fr Dave and Amy Halt not only to Brenda and me, but to vestry members and their families. Blessings abound in this new job of mine.
Bona fide  sick today. Not messing around. Spent the day in the family room recliner, wrapped in a blanket, medicated, and aggressively hydrated. Still some nasty stuff going on in the head and chest, but the run-over-by-a-truck feeling seemed to have abated late in the evening.
Still "under the weather." Chest and head cold. Email processing and Morning Prayer at home. Debriefed with the Archdeacon on sundry pastoral and administrative issues. Met with a potential aspirant to Holy Orders. Not only my first visit with him, but my first visit in that genre. I thought it went well. Hit the road to Champaign. Talked at length on the phone with two clergy on some pressing issues that affect them. (For the record, I have a wonderful Bluetooth connection between my iPhone and my car's audio system, so I had two hands on the wheel at all times.) Lunch with Fr Tim Hallett. He's retiring on Pentecost after 35 years at the Chapel of St John the Divine, so this was my opportunity to do a very informal exit interview as I prepare to colloaborate with the vestry in calling his successor. Nice tour of the University of Illinois campus and the chapel's physical plant. I'm excited about all the good things that can happen in campus ministry. Mor
Began to feel a little "puny" (as they say in the south) last night, so the day got off to kind of a sluggish start. Spent some 80 minutes on the phone (this was previously scheduled) with Bishop Bill Love (Albany), who is my "peer coach" for the first three years of my episcopate.  Navigated--veritably to the point of nerve synapses being fried--the labyrinthine canons on ordination (Title III), trying to figure out the steps we need to take to get an Army chaplain who wants to be an Episcopal priest through the process as expeditiously as possible. Canons are intended to be clear and unambiguous. When trying to apply them to concrete situations, however, they are often vexingly obscure and complex. (Have I mentioned I'm very much a "forest" person and don't care much for "trees"?) Accompanied Archdeacon Denney and Sue Spring, our Diocesan Administrator, to a delightful lunch at the Illini Country Club with Chancellor Rick Velde, at h
Task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Debriefed with the Archdeacon on last night's visit to Lincoln. Prepared some music (using the music publishing software Finale and converting it to a graphics file) for the cathedral staff for insertion into the Good Friday bulletin. Worked on planning music for my formal "welcoming and seating" (formerly known as "enthronement") in St Paul's Cathedral on May 15. Drove to Decatur to meet with the Rector of St John's over lunch and then with him and the Senior Warden for a while in the parish offices.  To my dismay, I spent the rest of the afternoon, interspersed with a couple of incoming phone calls, working on the seating/enthronement service. It's not all that simple, actually. The essential outline is found in the Book of Occasional Services, but it assumes that the opening formalities will be followed by a celebration of the Eucharist. In this case, we're transitioning into Evenson
Task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Consulted with the Archdeacon on sundry administrative and pastoral matters. Took a phone call from Fr Swan regarding Hale Deanery matters. Consulted with Treasurer Jim Donkin concerning the re-structuring of a loan at St Michael's, O'Fallon. Arranged for the licensing of Fr Ralph McMichael to serve as Interim Vicar (half-time) at St Michael's, O'Fallon. Processed the items that had accumulated on my desk since last Friday, and processed a load of emails. Worked on my sermon for this Sunday (Palm Sunday) at St Matthew's, Bloomington. Communicated with Fr Halt regarding some of the details of the liturgy. Walked (on a beautiful spring day) to an Italian eatery downtown for a meatball sandwich, then stopped to purchase some 99% cacao chocolate bars. They're a specialized taste. Not sweet in the least, but not bitter either. And very smooth. (Made by Lindt.) Met with Kathy Moore, our diocesan coordinat

Sermon for Lent V

John 11:1-44 Romans 6:16-23 (St Luke's, Springfield) Let’s remind ourselves where we’ve been on the three Sundays leading up to today. Three weeks ago, we were with Jesus and Nicodemus for their nighttime conversation about God’s great and the gift of new birth to eternal life. Two weeks ago, we were with Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well for their conversation about “living water,” which made us think as well of the Lord providing water from a rock in the time of Moses, and how the water that God provides quenches our deepest thirst. Last week, we were with Jesus and the man who had been blind from birth. Jesus gave him the gift of sight, and this makes us think of how, in baptism, God “turns on the lights”, and lets us see the real world for the first time. Now, if we consider these powerful signs all at once—new birth, living water, the gift of sight—if we look at these signs as a group, we notice that they kind of go together. Each one is more intense and more dram

Lent V

The day began in a relatively humane fashion, as my visitation was in town (St Luke's) and the liturgy was not until 10:30. Read the paper and prayed the morning ofice at home. Brenda and I got to St Luke's in time for me to meet for a few minutes with the group of ten confirmands (mostly young teenagers). They seemed quite well-prepared, and excited about what was taking place. With only a couple of minor missteps, the service went very smoothly, and was a joyous occasion all around. It is beginning to dawn on me that I will be posing for A LOT of pictures in the coming years.  I'm particularly excited about the ministry of St Luke's because it is so much a neighborhood parish, and is truly incarnate in its neighborhood in a way that relatively few congregations are. This is a missional model I suspect we will be seeking to emulate and replicate in lots of other places.  Got home after being well-fed at St Luke's and dozed in and out during what turned out to be
Morning Prayer and some time with the Journal-Register at home. In the office by 9am to meet with Fr John Bettman. Because he is now retired and about to move to North Carolina, he tendered his resignation as diocesan spiritual director for Cursillo and diocesan coordinator of Education for Ministry. I'm sorry to see him go. Both positions will be hard to fill. Celebrated and preached at the Mass for the Grand Ultreya of the diocesan Cursillo community. We commemorated the lesser feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pastor and Theologian. The opening line of the opening song was "We celebrate our life together." I don't think it was planned this way, but it could hardly have been more appropriate for the feast, given the title of one of Bonhoeffer's books. Fr Bettman gave the Witness Talk, after which we broke into several group reunions, with the clergy gathering in my office. Serendipitously, I was able to enlist the help of Fr Tim Goodman, a master wood worker, to
Task organization and email processing at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Responded via email to several detailed questions from the cathedral staff regarding Triduum liturgies.  Pondered, and consulted with the Archdeacon and others, over some delicate administrative issues related to our diocesan summer camping program for children and youth. This will certainly test whether I received any extra dollops of tact and wisdom when I was consecrated! Took my ordination certificate (an impressive document, with two large purple ribbons and 21 red wax seals) in to be framed. Caught a meatball marinara at Subway on the run for lunch. Accompanied the Archdeacon to a downtown religious supply store to look at crucifixes. I've been hunting a largish one (30', ideally) for one of the walls in my office. We came back with a potential candidate for a "tryout." Back to the camp issue. Made a call to the (provisional) Bishop of Quincy (TEC) to discuss some points. Call
Task organization and Morning Prayer at home. Spent yet more time trying to find the best way forward for the parish that is embroiled in rector-vestry conflict. Reviewed and approved a request from a priest to solemnize the marriage of divorced person. Researched the canonical requirements for rescinding the deposition of a priest who had voluntarily renounced his orders in the Episcopal Church, scheduled an appointment with said priest, and planned the actions necessary for making it all happen. It's fairly complicated. Lunch with a local Unitarian Universalist minister (at his invitation) who is active in interfaith activities in Springfield. We ate at Incredibly Delicious, a sandwich and (gourmet) pastry joint in an historic mansion over on Seventh Street. Spoke by phone with a former staff member of the aforementioned parish-in-conflict. Gained a great deal of insight as my view of the situation is coalescing and clarifying. Wrote a substantive email to the head of our D
Planned tasks and processed several emails at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Continued to process written materials about last night's meeting, and debriefed on the matter with the Archdeacon. Planned the order of service for the annual Liturgy of Collegiality (aka Mass of Chrism), which will take place in the cathedral on Tuesday in Holy Week. (This is when the clergy renew their ordination vows and the Bishop consecrates oil used in healing and baptism.) Consulted with the Dean on some of the details. Took a phone call from Bishop Ed Salmon, chair of the Nashotah trustees, regarding the special project I am working on. Lunch with the Archdeacon at a Thai-Vietnamese restaurant. Tasty. Spent more time than I wanted to looking at flight schedules to determine whether I can attend the consecration of the next bishop of Western New York (Buffalo). Finally came to the conclusion that it is not prudent, given my visitation obligation the next morning. Just can't comple
Task organization (a veritable mountain!) at home over tea and breakfast. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Debriefed with the Archdeacon over diverse matters, including my visit last Sunday to St Michael's, O'Fallon. Prepped with the Treasurer for the upcoming meeting of the diocesan trustees. Met with the trustees and representatives of Bush O'Donnell, our asset mangament firm in St Louis. Cleared desk of accumulated correspondence and other detritus. Lunch at home, then voted in Iliinois for the first time. Worked on a Nashotah House-related project. Talked by phone with a potential interim priest-in-charge for St Michael's, O'Fallon. Then talked with the Bishop's Warden at St Michael's about that particular priest. Met with the Dean and Verger of the cathedral to discuss the liturgies of the Paschal Triduum. Drove to another city in the diocese for three and a half hours of meetings with the vestry of the parish there, in three groups of three. T

Sermon for Lent IV

(St Michael's, O'Fallon)                                                                       John 9:1-38 I Samuel 16:1-13                                                                                                                                                            In years past—though, thankfully, not so much lately—one of the “social outreach” ministries of the Martins household has been to serve as a home for pregnant, unwed cats. So we’ve seen lots of litters of kittens. And one of the more conspicuous characteristics of newborn kittens is that they don’t open their eyes for the first couple of weeks of their lives. They are born blind. They join together in a pathetic whining mass of fur constantly scrambling to find that special spot on the mama cat’s body from whence they receive nourishment and comfort. Yeah, I know. They’re cute.  But cats, of course, are not the only ones who are born blind. Our eyeballs and our optic nerves are, with a few exception

Lent IV

Wonderful visit with St Michael's, O'Fallon. The turnout was excellent in comparison with recent Sundays, energy was high, and God was worshipped in spirit and truth. Having worked with a deacon for as long as I have now, I had to awaken some habits that had grown dormant, but I seem to have remembered everything that needed to be remembered. For a congregation of its age, St Michael's has a superb physical plant, the envy of many churches, I'm sure. Then we had a quite productive meeting with the Bishop's Committee, with a lot more clarity now about the steps that need to be taken toward the end of securing permanent pastoral leadership for them.
Indulged myself a leisurely morning: read the paper, helped Brenda get ready for her trip to Chicago, began laundry, updated the software on my iPad, examined and processed yet another batch of photos from the consecration, took a brisk and long walk (about four miles in a little under and hour). Finished refining sermon for tomorrow, and worked a bit on next week's as well. Went by the office to retrieve the tools of my new trade. Drove down to O'Fallon and enjoyed the entertaining hospitality of Jack Moelmann (Mission Warden at St Michael's), who is a theater organ aficionado extraordinaire, and has a Rube Goldberg-like installation--pipes, electronics, and acoustic tuned percussion--taking up his entire basement. And he can really play. We were joined later by Bishop's Warden Ann Wilt and her husband Nels, who provided me with some very valuable background information on the history of St Michael's (our newest church plant and the largest mission congregation o
Morning Prayer and daily task organization at home. Tried on new rochet and chimere that arrived during my absence. Consulted with the Archdeacon on some personnel and deployment issues. Reviewed a list of items that the Diocesan Administrator had stored up for me to make comments and/or decisions. Signed a form giving my consent for the Diocese of Haiti to elect a Suffragan Bishop. Processed a pile of correspondence that was waiting on my desk.  Read, pondered, and processed the resume of a potential aspirant to Holy Orders. Spoke on the phone at some length with the past Senior Warden of a parish where some serious conflict is brewing. Composed and sent an email to the members of a working group I am convening in connection with my membership on the Nashotah House board of trustees. Spoke on the phone with a Nashotah administrative staff member on the same subject. Studied materials sent to me by the vestry of the parish I am set to visit this Sunday (St Michael's, O'