Showing posts from March, 2012

Saturday (John Donne)

Morning: sleeping in, lounging around, treadmill workout, laundry Afternoon: Bishop Donald Parsons' 90th birthday celebration in Peoria Evening: Illinois Symphony Orchestra


Task planning at home, Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Processed about a dozen pending emails--some by creating a task, some by responding to on the spot, some by both. It requires some degree of wisdom--more than I have, I fear at times--to strike the right balance between availability, in the form of prompt response to emails, and a healthy boundary against being tyrannized by the urgent. Got my Easter homily to the point where it can be profitably and efficiently refined next week. Began working on my greetings to clergy and spouses who have birthdays and anniversaries in April. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Talked by phone for about 30 minutes with a potential candidate for one of our vacant cures.  Met with the Dean. Verger, Organist, Choir Director, and Office Manager of the cathedral to review liturgical plans for Holy Week and Easter. This took about 90 minutes. Met for a bit with the Dean on some other issues. Finished the cards for April milestone events, whil

Thursday (John Keble)

Usual morning routine; MP in the cathedral. Finished working on the program for next weeks Mass of Chrism and sent the draft next door to the cathedral office for printing. Began drafting my homily for Good Friday. Met briefly with the Board of Examining Chaplains ahead of a conversation with a veteran but now "transitional" deacon. This was by way of assessing where shoring up is needed in preparation for ordination to the priesthood. Lunch with the examiners at Dublin Pub, a one block walk from the office-cathedral complex. Met with another transitional deacon in the same situation and for the same purpose. Finished drafting the Good Friday homily. Laid out the broad strokes of a homily for the Second Sunday of Easter (15 April) at St John's, Centralia. Caught up by phone with an old and very dear friend and former colleague who has now become a Roman Catholic via the Ordinariate. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


Usual morning routine; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Finished preparing for tonight's final Lenten series presentation in Alton. Worked some on a General Convention resolution that some colleague bishops and I are planning to submit. Usual weekly desk clearing/scanning chores. Explored options and made a key decision about service music for next week's Chrism Mass. Lunch from China 1, eaten in the office. Refined my homily for this Sunday (St Paul's Cathedral). Refined my homily for the Chrism Mass (next Tuesday). Took care of some calendar-related administrivia. Left for Alton, filling the gas tank of my vehicle first, and stopping by home to pick up Brenda. Joined in Stations of the Cross at St Paul's, enjoyed the last of five Lenten soup suppers, and then gave my final teaching presentation on Patterns of Ministry. Home around 10.

Tuesday (Charles Henry Brent)

Slow start in the morning due to last night's late arrival from my Florida trip. Unpacked, and organized tasks at home. Short form of Morning Prayer in the office. Debriefed with the Archdeacon on his trip to Italy, as well as various ongoing administrative issues. Met, along with the Archdeacon and the Treasurer, with representatives of the cathedral parish to discuss matters of mutual concern. Began to process an extraordinarily thick stack of emails.  Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Re-engaged the email processing, which induced me to write  this brief blurb  on the subject of offering Holy Communion to persons who have not first been baptized. (When I travel, I can almost always keep up with reading emails, but it is usually awkward to give anything but a rudimentary response. Took care of yet more administrivia. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


Rose in time to have breakfast, repack, check out, and drive about five miles to the venue of the consecration and a 10am meeting of the bishops present to sign and seal the certificate (two, actually--one for the new bishop and one for the archives), then have and hour's worth of plenary conversation about whatever is on anyone's mind. The subject du jour seemed to be the various proposals that are floating around concerning restructuring the governance of the church. At about 11:45 we were served lunch, and the conversation continued informally as we moved on the direction of getting vested for the 1pm start time for the liturgy. The site of the event was the First Baptist Church of Orlando, which occupies a mammoth complex centered around a worship space that seats 5000. (Given that bit of data, I would estimate that there were about 3000 in the room.) The look of the place reminded me a great deal of where I was consecrated a year ago, so I was able to reconnect with that v


Another travel day. Hopped a 7am departure from Springfield to Orlando via Dallas-Fort Worth. Picked up my rental car,drove to downtown Orlando, and checked into the Grand Bohemian, the "official" hotel accommodation arranged by the Diocese of Central Florida for those attending the consecration of bishop-elect Greg Brewer tomorrow. Having about an hour to kill, I walked up Orange Street and tried to get a feel for the downtown vibe. Walked a couple of blocks east and took in Eola Lake Park, which actually looked a little familiar from my last visit to Orlando--45 years ago! After freshening up and changing into my "uniform" I met the limousine that had been dispatched to ferry visiting bishops to the Orlando Country Club for dinner with the bishop-elect and diocesan dignitaries. Cocktail hour out on the patio was scenic and lovely. After dinner I joined three bishop colleagues for a drink in the hotel bar.

Thursday (St James DeKoven)

Got going just a teeny bit slowly this morning, given my late arrival from a trip last night. Morning Prayer, eventually, in the cathedral, after debriefing with the Diocesan Administrator over an ... administrative situation that has gotten a trifle sticky. Plowed through the stack of snail mail on my desk, and did my usual weekly scanning chores. Took a phone call from one of our clergy over another "sticky" administrative/pastoral situation. Worked on the final session of my Lenten series in Alton, which happens next Wednesday.  Had a phone conversation with yet another parish priest over yet another sticky administrative/pastoral situation. It was one of those days. Lunch from La Bamba ("Burritos as Big As Your Head!"), eaten at home. Got a haircut. Processed an extraordinarily long stack of emails, clearing some on the spot, creating future tasks for others. After dinner, packed for tomorrow's trip to Orlando for the consecration of the next Bishop

Wednesday (Thomas Ken)

I'm always amazed and grateful when a travel day goes smoothly; there's so much that could go wrong. And it was a humane schedule: My shuttle left Camp Allen at 10am, depositing me at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport two hours ahead of my 1:30 scheduled departure, affording an opportunity to visit, over Texas BBQ, with Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina. My flight left on time and landed in St Louis slightly ahead of schedule. The shuttle from the Hilton Garden Inn arrived promptly; my car was right where I left it a week ago, and in good shape. The drive to Alton was uneventful, and Fr Boase was waiting for me curbside at St Paul's. He drove me to his home, where I freshened up and changed clothes. I was in the nave with time enough to actually do some praying before Mass. Visiting with parishioners during the soup supper was a delight, and my presentation (part 4 of 5) went, I think extraordinarily well. The drive home was smooth, I didn't get dr

Tuesday (St Cuthbert)

This was the final day of the House of Bishops meeting. We woke up to lightning, thunder, rain, and cooler temperatures--a marked change from the warm and pleasantly sultry days we have been enjoying. The meditation after Morning Prayer today was given by Julio Holguin, Bishop of the Dominican Republic. He spoke to us in Spanish, so this time it was the anglophones who had to don headsets and avail themselves of the services of the two-person simultaneous translator team that has been with us since we got here. His subject was the bishop's duty to lead the church in mission. This is, of course, a subject very close to my heart. In our table group discussion, I raised the delicate subject of the divergence of thought in the church over what mission is, exactly. It does no good to exhort one another to mission-mindedness if we're not actually talking about the same thing. Before lunch, we also heard from Bishop Justin Welby of the Diocese of Durham, who was our invited visit

St Joseph

I'm not by nature a "morning person." But this being St Joseph's Day, and the first anniversary of my consecration, I got up for the 7:30 Eucharist in a side chapel of the chapel (All Saints' Chapel is larger than many cathedrals). I can only be grateful for my first year as a bishop. It has been several degrees happier and more effective than I had anticipated. God is good. After breakfast, and following Morning Prayer, the retreat meditation was given by the Presiding Bishop on the vows bishops take to "guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church" and to participate in the governance of the whole church. During the reflection/prayer time afterward, I took a long walk through the piney woods (staying on Camp Allen property) and had ample opportunity to think about how I understand "guarding" to begin with acknowledging the given-ness of the Catholic Christian faith. It's not mine to make up; it's mine to hand along. Intact.

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Being the Lord's Day, the schedule was appropriately relaxed (in welcome contrast to Sundays in previous meetings). After breakfast, I got a vigorous workout in on one of the treadmills in the exercise room. Eucharist was at 10, with a meditation from Porter Taylor, Bishop of Western North Carolina, taking the place of the homily. His subject was the vow bishops make at their ordination to be faithful pastors to their people. Different in style than either of the two previous meditations, it was nonetheless rich and stimulating. I am feeling spiritually fed by these talks. Today there was no table group unpacking session, so we adjourned to the common area and engaged in informal conversations as we waited for lunch to be served. Such moments of casual exchange are arguably the most valuable aspect of these gatherings. After lunch, various recreational opportunities were offered. I chose to go on a horseback trail ride with eight others. Interestingly, the last time I rode a hors

Saturday (St Patrick)

Do head over to my other blog for a synopsis of Day 2 at the 2012 Spring Meeting of the House of Bishops.


This meeting has a more humane pace than the other two I have attended, especially the one a year ago at Kanuga. There was an attempt among the planners to invoke more of a retreat atmosphere. Each morning there is a meditation by one of our colleagues on one of the vows from the liturgy for the consecration of bishops. Today we were heard from Tom Shaw, Bishop of Massachusetts, on the place of prayer and scripture in the life of a bishop. In the afternoon, there was a working session, with presentations from committees on two issues. The first was the development of a process--a canon, actually--to govern those relatively rare occasions when a bishop and the others leaders of a diocese come to an impasse in their relationship. There was vigorous discussion, and, I would say, a fair amount of pushback on the draft presented by the committee. I must confess that, while the situation that calls for such a canon does indeed occur, and can be quite vexing, it seems bad policy to make law


This was a day of travel and re-connecting. On the whole, everything went smoothly. My departure from St Louis was at 10:40, a humane hour, and the relatively short flight to Houston was non-stop, and United did not lose my bag. Blessings abound. Rode in a van with several colleagues to Camp Allen, a conference center owned and operated by the Diocese of Texas. Need I mention that everything here is on an oversize scale? We are, after all, in Texas. There is nothing formal on the agenda until tomorrow morning, so we've had time for what most bishops enjoy most at these occasions--informal conversation, sometimes serious and sometimes something else. 


Usual routine; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Finished my working notes for next week's Lenten series presentation (the 21st), since I'll be away from home and office between now and then. Took care of several concrete steps toward making the mission vision a reality. Tiny steps, in the larger scheme, but exciting nonetheless. We are broadening the base of those who will be involved in very tangible ways. Shopped for, and purchased, a new, and much lighter, case for my laptop computer.  Lunch from Chipotle Grill, eaten at home. One final long treadmill workout before an intense period of travel. Packed for being away seven days, then headed south to Alton for the third of five Lenten series presentations at St Paul's. Made my way into St Louis, where I am now camped out at the Hilton Garden near the airport (one of those park-sleep-fly arrangements). I catch a plane for Houston in the morning, then on to Camp Allen in Navasota for the regular spring meeting of the


Usual routine; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Debrief with the Archdeacon over a couple of pastoral-administrative concerns that remain in play. Finished my working outline for tomorrow nights third installment of my Lenten teaching series in Alton. Met with Deacon Dr Tom Langford, Chair of the Commission on Ministry. to discuss both general and specific issues regarding the work of the body and the formation of ordinands. Lunch at home (Brenda has perfected Cincinnati-style chili and then taken it to yet another level of delicious). Worked on several upcoming sermons, all at various stages of gestation: Palm Sunday, the Chrism Mass (aka Liturgy of Collegiality), Good Friday, and Easter. Usual weekly scanning chores. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Third Sunday in Lent

Woke up in Marion (which is a good thing, because that's where I went to bed!), slightly knicked by the time change, and reported for duty at St Mark's, West Frankfort in time for their 9am Eucharist. Celebrated, preached, confirmed one (the organist!), and had a lively discussion with those who stayed for coffee hour about our diocesan vision for mission and how it might impact St Mark's. It's a joy to see so many children and young families in that Eucharistic Community. Made one stop on the way home for a pastoral consultation, and again for a late lunch/early dinner in Hillsboro. Pulled into our driveway just past five.

Homily for Lent III

Psalm 19:7-14, Exodus 20:1-17 St Mark’s, West Frankfort                                                             So it looks like I’ve got to say something about the Ten Commandments today. It’s probably not a preacher’s favorite subject—not this preacher, at any rate. We are, after all, more and more a hang loose kind of society. Live and let live. Don’t try to force your moral standards on other people. We all recognize the need for “law and order,” but we’re not too crazy about the concept when we’re on the receiving end. And you don’t get much more “law and order” than the Ten Commandments. But, hey, it’s Lent. So there they are, right in our faces. The notion of law seems obvious enough. Every human society has it in one form or another. If we break the law, something bad’s going to happen to us, either now or later. If we keep the law, the presumption is that we will at least stay out of trouble, if not otherwise prosper. But can it really be all that simp


Customary slow-start Saturday morning. Good long workout on the treadmill. Packed and hit the road at 2:30 for Marion, where we checked in around 6. Then we headed to Harrisburg for the annual Italian dinner, a very well-subscribed fundraiser for outreach, with this year's proceeds, of course, going to disaster relief right there and in nearby communities. Chatted briefly with the Vicar and key lay leaders. Also enjoyed seeing Fr Dick and Marv Swan, who were working the event since they used to serve in the Hale Deanery, and also Mary Ann and Lucas Denney, Lucas being the featured accordionist, a undeniably appropriate post for such an occasion.

Friday (St Gregory of Nyssa)

Between 10 and 4 I was with three of our long-time deacons who are no "transitional," in that they are on course for ordination to the priesthood. We spent the day talking about liturgy: sacred time, sacred space, and the nuts and bolts and ins and outs of the Eucharist. It was a stimulating experience for me, and I hope it was for them as well. Before 10 and after 4? ... a mountain emails to process. They just kept pouring in. I did manage to steal some time to walk the Stations of the Cross in the cathedral by myself before praying the evening office.

Friday Supplement

Part II of my Lenten teaching series in Alton: Baptism--The Mark of Ministry


Usual morning routine. Took care of some "administrivia" related to a time of teaching and learning I am sharing tomorrow with our three transitional deacons on the subject of liturgy, and to my May travel plans. Put some final touches on this Sunday's homily (reducing my text to a few verbal cues on a single folded sheet of paper, so I can preach from the aisle in a small congregation). Joined the Standing Committee for their routine (if not, strictly speaking, regular) meeting. At the encouragement of the Archdeacon, we all then adjourned to Taco Gringo for lunch. Having had their food only yesterday, I broke from my enchilada routine and had a chicken filet sandwich. Very gringo indeed! Met for a very productive two hours with three members of the Department of General Mission Strategy (DGMS), who formed what might be understood as an executive committee of the DGMS. Our goal was to get organized ahead of the next meeting of the full group. I am very pleased with

Wednesday (St Perpetua & Her Companions)

Task planning at home; Morning Prayer in my office. Processed several emails (requiring substantive attention). Conferred with the Archdeacon and the Administrator regarding a "situation" in one of our parishes. Met with Fr Gene Stormer regarding two of the "hats" he wears: Canon Pastor (to the clergy) and Chair of Ecumenical Relations. Lunch in the office (from TG). Finished prep for tonight's presentation in Alton. Took a phone call from Ruth Wene, Rector's Warden at St John's Chapel, Champaign regarding some technical details of their search process. Worked on transportation arrangements and registration for the second annual installment of the Living Our Vows program (aka "Baby Bishops School") in May. Began the preparation process for a homily that won't be preached until the Fifth Sunday of Easter. Seems a little OCD, I realize, but not so much when you factor in the amount of traveling I'll be doing between now and that


Email processing and task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Minor administrative detritus. Prepared for a scheduled meeting about the next iteration of the diocesan website, currently in beta. I wanted to at least be able to ask intelligent questions. Met, from 11:15 until nearly 1:00, with Pete Sherman, chair of our Department of Communication, Betsy Schroeder, editor of the Current, and Sue Spring, Diocesan Administrator, each with an open laptop computer, and the conference table in my office. Major progress was made in getting the new website ready for prime time. Usual Tuesday scanning chores. Refined the draft of my homily for this Sunday (St Mark's, West Frankfort). Plotted some tasks related to following through on a discussion at the clergy retreat regarding events for clergy and families. Wrote a reply to letter from a priest who is canonically resident but lives elsewhere. Conceived and hatched a homily for the Chrism Mass (Liturgy of Collegiali

Second Sunday in Lent

Rose at an early hour--in time to be in Decatur by 7:10--to preside and preach at both morning liturgies at St John's. Met with the vestry between services, and confirmed one adult at the main celebration. There is a very, very positive spirit in that parish that is a joy to behold.

Homily for Lent II

Mark 8:31-38 St John’s, Decatur As the presidential election season heats up, we hear a great deal about the religious faith and practice of the various candidates. They seem to be trying to outdo one another in establishing their Christian credentials, which is a little difficult for one of them, who practices a religion that most of the Christian world doesn’t believe is actually … Christian. What I find strange about all this is how few people seem to realize that to be a Christian is not really to be conventional. To be a Christian is actually to be rather an oddball in the world. Christians navigate through the spiritual universe using a different map than the world uses. Christians navigate through the moral universe using a different compass. Simple words like success, health, peace, happiness, shame, embarrassment, and suffering—these each mean one thing in our culture, our society, our day-to-day world. But in the Church, among Christians, within the community of faith—t

Saturday (John & Charles Wesley)

Usual Saturday leisurely morning. Morning Prayer in the recliner, there being no episcopal chapel staffed by sacristans, clerks, and choristers for sung mattins. 70 minute workout on the recliner. Caught up on some administrative detritus. (See what the internet makes possible on a Saturday when I'm two miles from the diocesan office?) Drafted an  Ad Clerum  (letter to the clergy) that will go out by email on Monday. Caught up on some household chores. Got properly dressed and drove off with Brenda to Decatur, where we met Fr Dick and Marv Swan for dinner before heading to Millikin University for a concert by the Decatur-Millikin Symphony Orchestra. Lovely program, and there were several St John's parishioners there. We'll be back in the morning for two liturgies in that beautiful church.

Friday (St Chad)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Took a first pass at Session Three of my Lenten teaching series in Alton (probably 75% done, ready to be fleshed out and refined the day before the event). See here for a video of the first session this past Wednesday. Sundry "administrivia" (a word I learned from a Canadian colleague earlier this week, and which is eminently useful). Lunch at home. Took a broad look at my Sunday homilies for the Easter season: Looked at appointed readings, considered the venues, looked at old sermons for material that might be reworked or adapted, plotted the appropriate tasks for the appropriate weeks and days. Planned out the day I will spend next week with three transitional deacons, where we will talk about the planning and practice of liturgy. Prepared and sent an email message regarding the ordination process. Plotted and scheduled the various chores I will need to take care of in preparation for the annual Chrism Mass (Liturgy of Collegiality)

Thursday (St David)

Task planning and a little bit of reading (while I at breakfast) at home; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Took a phone call from the Bishop of Chicago, inquiring about the situation in Harrisburg, which was struck by a powerful tornado Tuesday night. It's a little early to know what resources we might need to help galvanize, but his concern was much appreciated. Of course, we took the opportunity to discuss other mutual concerns. To my chagrin, the process of assembling documentation for refinancing two real estate loans consumed most of my morning. To good news is, everything I needed was available "in the cloud." But it still took an inordinate amount of time. Yuck. Lunch at home (leftover chili, homemade by Brenda, "Cincinnati style." Yum) Sent out an email blast to the greater diocesan family regarding Harrisburg. Some of "ours" sustained non-catastrophic property damage, but nothing worse than that. Of course, the whole community is on edge;