Showing posts from June, 2012


We left Springfield at 9:30 in order be in West Lafayette, Indiana in time for the afternoon wedding of a  young lady who worshiped in my former parish (St Anne's, Warsaw, IN) while she was a college student in the area. It was my honor to have been asked to participate in the ceremony. But it was outdoors, on a large pedestrian bridge over the Wabash River, and a thunderstorm hit right as the ceremony began. I gave a rather attenuated version of my planned remarks, because I was holding an umbrella and watching a bunch of people sitting in chairs getting soaked as I spoke! Blessedly, the rain let up soon thereafter. Following the reception, we headed west and south to Princeton, Indiana, where we are presently camped. Tomorrow's itinerary includes St John's, Albion at 9 and St Mary's, Robinson at 1. While all this was going on, I was, of course, dealing with the "breaking news" that I am one of ten bishops against whom a misconduct complaint has bee

Ss Peter & Paul

Morning Prayer in the car en route to the Hyundai dealer for scheduled maintenance. The Archdeacon picked me up and brought be back to the office. He briefed me on yesterday's auction sale of the property formerly used by St Alban's, Olney. We did pretty well, all things considered; the auction was well-attended, which puts upward pressure on price. Attended to the usual stack of emails, with intermittent confabs with staff over sundry administrative issues. This consumed most of the rest of the morning. Scheduled routine phone conversation with Bishop Ed Salmon, serving as Dean of Nashotah House, wearing my board chairman hat. I stayed in the office alone over the noon hour, since my car wasn't done yet. Staved off imminent starvation with a stash of cashews I keep in my desk drawer while I wrote milestone event notes to clergy and spouses. Got a ride back to Hyundai around 2, picked up the YFNBmobile, grabbed some Chicken McNuggets at McD's, and returned to the o

Thursday (St Iranaeus)

Morning Prayer at home. 9am scheduled conference call with three other bishops over a matter that has the potential to be a bother in the short run but will probably be OK long term. I'll share more if and when I'm able. In the meantime, if I'm your bishop, remember that prayer for your bishop is always appropriate. Went in to the office and had the rest of my morning hijacked by activity related to the subject of the conference call. Lunch from Da Catch, eaten at home. Walked Brenda's dog for the last time this stint. Gave birth to a working outline of a sermon for Proper 16 (August 26 at St Bartholomew's, Granite City). Loaded the schedule details of the Global South Anglicans conference in Bangkok that follows immediately on General Convention. Left the office early in order to be home when Brenda returned from her California sojourn. Dinner and a movie in the evening (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel).


Early morning dog-walker was a no-show, so the lot fell to me. Morning Prayer in the car on the way in, due to late start. Processed a handful of emails and took part in a couple of minor administrative conferences. Struggled with the readings for Proper 17 (September 2), having done my exegetical work last week, and finally gave birth to a message statement. Preparation on this sermon will not be put into cryogenic suspension until I return from my vacation on August 22. Spent time on a matter is that is equal parts administrative, pastoral, sensitive, and difficult. Met with the four members of the newly-constituted task team on Companion Diocese Relationships, under the leadership of Norm Taylor. We're pretty much pressing the reset button on this. Lunch at home (leftovers), and, of course, another dog walk. Made a couple of pastoral-administrative-sensitive-somewhat difficult phone calls.  Worked on the website (loading content). We are "this close" to going


Task planning for the week at home (still flying solo, not my favorite thing), Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Light administrivia and a handful of emails to process. Refined and printed my working text for this Sunday's homily (St John's, Albion and a special stop at St Mary's, Robinson). Signed documents in front of a notary giving the Archdeacon power-of-attorney with respect to some pending real estate transactions should they occur while I'm away in July and August.  Usual Tuesday desk-clearing. Lunch from China 1, eaten at home. Took Brenda's dog for her midday walk. She seems to tolerate me as a pinch hitter. Worked on my August 25 teaching day at St Thomas', Salem. Entered the details of the General Convention schedule into my calendar, while I will access via my iPhone and always know when I'm supposed to be where in Indianapolis. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

It was an undemanding start to the morning, as the usual Mass time at St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel is not until 10:30. Got there in plenty of time for a good visit with Fr Brant Hazelett before we had to get ready for church. The liturgy was in celebration of the parish's patronal feast--the Nativity of St John the Baptist. After a tasty repast in their newly-remodeled basement parish hall, I shared with them the broad strokes of the diocesan mission strategy, and how it will affect them. Shortly after 1pm, I headed north on Illinois 1 as far as Paris (where we had a congregation for several decades, until last December). Spent some time walking around the picturesque courthouse square, musing how county seat towns like Paris all across the country have largely turned into nostalgia-inducing artifacts of an era that will never come back, even as I told the people in Mt Carmel that Christendom will never come back--at least not in the lifetime of anyone now 98.6 and vertical--s

Homily for the Nativity of St John the Baptist

During Ordinary Time (the Season after Pentecost), when a major holy falls on a Sunday, parishes for whom it is the feast of title may celebrate it in place of the numbered proper (Proper 7, in this case) that would otherwise be observed. Luke 1:57-80 St John the Baptist, Mount Carmel   Do you realize how widespread the name John is, and how many forms it takes in different languages? In French, it’s Jean; in Spanish, Juan; in Italian, Giovanni; in the Germanic languages, Johann or Johannes; in Russian, Ivan; in Dutch, Jan; in the Celtic languages, Sean or Ian. And then there are the feminine equivalents: Jean, Janet, Jeanette, Juanita, Yvonne, Shawna, and on both counts, I’m probably forgetting more than I’ve remembered. All these names, and more, come from the Hebrew Yohanan , which means, literally, “the LORD is generous.” The LORD is generous. In view of this, we do well on this feast day of St John the Baptist, celebrated in the parish church of St John the Baptist, to ra


I had the pleasure of presiding at the 11am Celebration of a New Ministry for Fr Tony Clavier as Vicar of St Thomas', Glen Carbon and St Bartholomew's, Granite City--at Glen Carbon. Particularly gratified by the turnout of clergy; it speaks well for collegiality in the diocese. Following the reception, Brenda hitched a ride back to Springfield with Fr Matt (preacher for the occasion) and Leslie Gunter, while I visited for a bit with Fr Clavier at his vicarage. I then pointed the YFNBmobile eastward on I-64. Since I was making good time, I paused in Mt Vernon to take in a movie (Prometheus) and dinner (popcorn shrimp at Wild Wings).   On the way to my hotel reservation in Grayville (right on I-64 just before it crosses the Wabash River into Indiana), I swung by McLeansboro to check in on St James' Church, which we have sold to a local historic preservation group with the understanding that they were going to restore and maintain it as a community center. It doesn't a

Friday (St Alban)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Short administrative debriefs with the Archdeacon and Administrator. Brief attention to a diocesan communications-related issue. Processed a batch of emails. Doing so spawns phone calls and short chats with staff, among other things. Small Nashotah-related administrative task. Did the hot wax seal thing on the Letter of Institution for Fr Tony Clavier as Vicar of Granite City and Glen Carbon. Lunch at home. Initial study and exegetical work on a homily for Proper 16 (last Sunday in August) at St Bartholomew's, Granite City. Scheduled maintenance on one area of my electronic filing system. Lectio divina  on tomorrow's Daily Office reading from Numbers. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


Blew off my Thursday workout. Felt like I needed the extra sleep. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. This was one of those days when it just felt hard to get any traction with anything. Hard to even say why. Began to do exegetical work on my sermon for the first Sunday in September, to be given at Trinity, Lincoln. (Year B, Proper 17). Met with Pete Sherman, our communications chair, over issues related to communications strategy in general and the website in particular. We now have a clear path toward being able to go live with the new website very soon. Lunch at home. Continued my exegetical work on Proper 17, punctuated by frequent interruptions for emails, phone calls, and other such things. Added a bunch of new content to the website, cleaned up some of the detritus left behind by beta testing. Handled a delicate piece of Nashotah House business. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Administrivia with Administrator (who else?) and the Archdeacon. Produced a working draft of a homily for Proper 8 (July 1 in Albion and Robinson). Attended to some General Convention prep work. Lunch at home (from McDonald's, no less; everybody has to slum it sometime). Devoted a chunk of time and energy to preparing for a couple of teaching days at St Thomas', Salem in August and September ("Proclaiming the Gospel 101"). Three substantive phone conversations with colleagues on the Nashotah House board regarding an emergent issue. Worked on the third in a series of four blog articles on the issues facing General Convention. Evening Prayer in the office. Dinner from "Da Catch" on South Grand and 9th (fried catfish). Attended and participated heavily in the regular June meeting of the cathedral chapter. They are facing some substantial challenges, and I am committed to walking with them through this time. 


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Refined the draft of my homily for this coming Sunday--at the parish of St John the Baptist in Mt Carmel, on their patronal feast day. Attended to a couple of personal vacation planning details. (Yes, to quote the Terminator: "I need a vacation.") This will happen in August. Attended to some Nashotah House business. Lunch at home. Had an appointment with my ENT doctor, following up on that thyroid business I went through last summer. After another ultrasound, all appears to be well in that area. Handled a marital judgment request from one of our clergy. Succumbed to the temptation to weigh in on the Deputies/Bishops listserv.  You can see what I wrote here . Processed a good-sized batch of emails. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Third Sunday after Pentecost

The ordination of David Peters went splendidly. Christ Church Georgetown was a warmly welcoming parish. Spent most of the afternoon circumambulating the entire national mall--from 11th Strett east to the Capitol steps, then west past the Washingtom Monument and on to the Lincoln Memorial and back east to my starting point. That's a long way. So I hailed a cab for my dinner date with friends in the Washington Cathedral area. My journey home in the morning begins with an 8:20am flight to Chicago.


This was a day of travel and anticipation. United Airlines took me from Springfield to Chicago, and then, three hours later, from Chicago to Washington, D.C. I had just enough time to check into my hotel near Reagan National Airport, freshen up, change, and catch a cab to Georgetown for dinner at the City Tavern Club. Joining me were Chaplain Major David Peters, whom I will be ordaining to the priesthood tomorrow, Fr Stuart Kenworthy, rector of Christ Church, Georgetown, where the ordination will take place, along with his wife Fran, Fr Gene Tucker and Deb, old friends of both the Kenworthys and Chaplain Peters, and Bishop Jay Magness, Bishop for the Armed Forces and tomorrow's preacher, and his wife Carolyn. It was a spirited time over wonderful food. One aspect of David's story is worthy of particular note: He left Springfield for Washington on May 26--on foot, and arrived just a few days ago! It is quite a saga, a unique act of devotion and pilgrimage.


Morning Prayer in the car again, owing to the press of business. This ought not to become a habit. Got squared away with some last minute preparations for my liturgical formation time with our transitional deacons. Had a scheduled phone conversation with a colleague on the Nashotah board over an emergent issue that needs to be dealt with. Spent the rest of the day until about 3:30 with our three transitional deacons talking about sacramental theology and liturgical practice. We got very "nuts and bolts." Conferred with the Archdeacon over sundry matters. Processed a batch of emails. Prayed the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary. Evening Prayer in the office.

Thursday (St Basil)

Up early for my now customary Thursday morning workout. (Also happens most Saturdays and Mondays.) Morning Prayer (memorized short form) in the car on the way to the office. Anxious about things needing to be done before getting back in the car. Reviewed three different pressing administrative matters with the Archdeacon. Good progress on all counts. Back in the bishopmobile at 10:15, arriving at St Matthew's, Bloomington at 11:30. Lunch and tour of greater Bloomington with Frs Halt and Francis as we discussed ways the mission strategy vision might play out in McLean County. Met with a potential aspirant for diaconal ordination. Headed back south, pulling into my parking spot a little past 4. Discussed yet more administrative concerns with the Archdeacon, answered a couple of emails and listened to a voice mail message. Evening Prayer in the cathedral. In the evening, wrote a substantive blog post on General Convention issues.


Usual morning routine.  Processed a batch of emails.  Drafted a working text for my homily at St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel on the dedicatory feast, June 24.  Lunch at home (leftovers). "Played with hot wax," as the Administrator likes to put it. Got it right on the first try all by myself, and now we have an ordination certificate ready to present to Chaplain Major David Peters when we make him a priest this Sunday morning.  Attended to some General Convention business. Lots of prep work necessary, both in connection with my committee assignment and otherwise.  Met with two lay leaders from one of our congregations over a matter of some serious concern.  More General Convention and Nashotah House business.  Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


Regular morning routine: Task planning, etc. at home, Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Consulted with the Administrator over arrangements for a planned conference for clergy and musicians in November. Attended to some General Convention business. (See here and here for some fruits of my labor, yesterday and today.) Attended to some Nashotah House business. Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Usual Tuesday desk-clearing work: lots of scanning, task-creating, quick reading, and emailing. Took an initial look and made some written reflections on the readings for Proper 17; this will eventually become a sermon to be delivered at Trinity, Lincoln on the first Sunday in September. (Why such a head start? General Convention and vacation intervene.) Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Second Sunday after Pentecost

We had a warm and energizing visit with the people of St Thomas', Salem. On a good day there are about 40 people in church there, and today was a good day. They were grateful to hear my announcement that I am consenting to their retired Vicar, Fr Tom Davis, serving as their Sunday supply priest on an indefinite basis, with the understanding that both he and they will respect his retired status in various clear and concrete ways. I promised to hold both parties accountable.  Home just past 3pm, having noticed that gasoline prices about about thirty cents lower in Marion County than they are here in Sangamon County. Hmmm.

Homily for Year B: Proper 5

Mark 3:20-35 II Corinthians 4:13-18  Genesis 3:8-21             St Thomas', Salem   June, of course, is the traditional month for weddings. Since becoming a bishop, I’ve kind of gotten out of the wedding business, but in 22 years of parish ministry, I certainly did my share. And I have to say, from the very first to the very last, I always got a little misty-eyed at that moment when the bride and groom first catch sight of one another across the length of a church aisle. There’s nothing quite comparable to the glow on the faces in that instant. There’s also nothing quite comparable to the adjustment two people have to make to actually living with one another! “How can you stand it so hot in here?!”—on goes the air conditioner.  “Hot?! It’s freezing in here!”—off goes the air conditioner.  “This is a lousy show; I don’t want to watch it.” —click  goes the TV remote.  “What do you mean? This is a great show; it never miss it!” — click  goes the TV remote.  I feel hot,

Saturday (St Columba)

Out the door at 7:30 and on the road to Todd Hall. Met with a group of diocesan youth and their leaders who had been involved with Work Week, which took place this year in Harrisburg, still recovering from a February tornado. I led the group in unpacking some of the spiritual and theological implications of their experience. Then we celebrated the Eucharist together.  Back home a little past 1pm. Took a good long and hard nap.  Did my usual thrice-weekly weights and treadmill workout (takes about an hour).  Packed and hit the road again, this time with Brenda. Dinner in Litchfield (where there's a Ruby Tuesday; for some reason, Brenda always feels uncommonly good on their food). Then on to Vandalia for the night, ahead of a visit tomorrow to St Thomas', Salem.


Ran out before breakfast to get blood drawn for some routine lab work, but ... the lab is closed on Fridays. I did not know that. Will try again on Monday. Breakfast back at home, then Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Once again, dealt with a handful of emails, though the stack was not as tall as the last couple of days. The rest of the day was pretty much devoted to General Convention preparation, mostly related to the subcommittee that I will co-chair--the one dealing with proposed changes to the liturgical calendar.  I did, however, spend a little over an hour with the Administrator and the Archdeacon, as be began to turn up the heat under getting ready for next October's annual diocesan synod.  Ignatian Meditation on the gospel reading for Evening Prayer--Jesus and Peter walk on water. Evening Prayer in the cathedral. ----------------- Forget to mention yesterday that I made a cameo appearance bringing "ecumenical greetings" to the ELCA Synod's Annual

Thursday (Corpus Christi)

Usual Thursday routine--up early for workout, in to the office just a bit later than usual. (The workout takes an hour.) Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Processed a batch of emails, a couple of them requiring some careful wordsmithing in response, which is time-consuming. Fleshed out the framework, and added some detail, on a homily for the Nativity of St John the Baptist (June 24 in Mt Carmel, at the Church of St John the Baptist). Lunch from China 1, eaten at home. Worked on the website for about 20 minutes. Drafted a resolution for General Convention which, if submitted an passed, would authorize parishes that wish to do so to use the lectionary for Sundays and Holy Days as it was originally printed in the 1979 Prayer Book (rather than the Revised Common Lectionary, which supplanted in in 2010). Needing one more bishop to sign on before I can submit it. Wrote a promised article for the Alton Parish newsletter providing some basic information about General Convention--what i


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Processed a stack of emails. They just keep on coming. Produced a sermon for this Sunday, to be delivered at St Thomas', Salem. This is an "off the books" visit, so I didn't have one in the pipeline. Took an incoming call from a retired priest outside the diocese whom I am recruiting to help us out part-time in our mission strategy project. Ran a personal errand, then had lunch at home (Italian Beef from Fat Moe's, in a strip mall where Lawrence crosses Monroe). Plotted the tasks necessary to being the conductor of the diocesan ECW retreat next March. Spoke by phone with the deployment officer of another diocese who was inquiring about a priest who is canonically resident here. Performed some "scheduled maintenance" on my electronic filing system. Tended to some General Convention business. Being aware that I've been falling down on the amount of blogging I would like to be doing, I sketched out ideas for a

Tuesday (St Boniface)

Morning Prayer at home, since a carpenter's truck was blocking my way out of the driveway, and the carpenter was in our attic prepping for the installation of a new range hood. Took an incoming phone call from the Bishop's Warden of one of our mission congregations. Processed a fairly long list of emails. Incoming phone call from the Dean of Nashotah House, something that is bound to be happening with much more regularity in my new role as Chairman of the Board. Discussed some non-urgent administrative issues with the Archdeacon and the Treasurer. Made air travel arrangements for a trip to Bangkok in July, right after General Convention. I have been asked to join the Bishop of North Dakota in representing the Communion Partner bishops at a meeting of Global South Anglicans. (The cost of this trip is being underwritten by generous contributions from the CP bishops who are not traveling to tropical Thailand in July.) Lunch at home--leftovers. Tied up some loose ends gene

Trinity Sunday

On the road at 6:30am to arrive at Holy Trinity, Danville two hours later and prepare the celebrate and preach the 9am Mass there. Holy Trinity is our most card-carrying Anglo-Catholic parish, but not in a way that is either pretentious or stuffy. It is a vibrant community, with an attention-getting proportion of children and young adults. The worship and devotion are palpably heartfelt. We baptized a young adult and confirmed two middle-aged folks. After coffee hour, I had an opportunity to offer my mission strategy sales pitch. It was a joy. 

Homily for Trinity Sunday

Isaiah 6:1 8 Holy Trinity, Danville                                                                                                                  This is Trinity Sunday, but I’m not really going to try to explain the doctrine of the Trinity to you. It’s pretty complicated, as doctrines go, with a lot of ‘i’s to dot and ‘t’s to cross. And it’s a doctrine I love and would die to uphold. But I don’t believe Trinity Sunday is even about the doctrine of the Trinity. Trinity Sunday is about the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There’s a big difference between the doctrine of God and God himself. Doctrines are important. God is more important. God came first, then the doctrine. First the experience, then the interpretation of the experience. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah, in the eighth century before Christ, had an experience of God which left him marked for life. He had a vision, a vision simultaneously terrible and wonderful, a vision at the same time both horri

Saturday (Martyrs of Lyons)

Between 9:30 and 2:30, shared a challenging but very upbeat time with the great majority of the clergy of the diocese (nearly 40 in all). We got one level closer to the "nuts and bolts" of our emerging mission strategy vision. I had a sense that a time for collegiality was greatly enjoyed by those who attended. I came away very grateful for the work to which I have been called and the people with whom I have been called to pursue that work.

Friday (St Justin Martyr)

Usual morning routine: task planning and light email processing at home, Morning Prayer in the cathedral. The Archdeacon and I had to office to ourselves today, which some might consider dangerous. Spent the bulk of the morning preparing for my role at General Convention, where I will serve on the Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music, and co-chair the subcommittee that will deal with matters affecting the liturgical calendar. Lunch from China 1, eaten at home. (The last time I was there, it was with several members of Diocesan Council, so the proprietor asked where all my friends were!) Reviewed some information online in connection with preparing to lead a pilgrimage of youth from the diocese to Canterbury sometime next year. Added some links and content to the still-in-beta diocesan website. Reviewed and responded to a canonical request from a priest for permission to solemnize the marriage of a divorced person. Took care of some Nashotah House business. Attend