Showing posts from October, 2012

Eve of All Hallows

Usual morning routine; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Last minute consultation with Sue before she published my 2013 visitation calendar. Of course, it has already been tweaked several times as parish clergy have called in with requested and suggested changes. Made a condolence phone call to a cleric who has had a recent death in the family. Wrote my greetings to clergy and spouses who have birthdays and other milestone anniversaries in November. Met with a priest who is canonically resident in the Diocese of Chicago but physically resident in the Diocese of Springfield. We discussed possibilities for deploying him in this diocese. Lunch from Hickory River (chopped brisket), eaten at home. Participated in a conference call with a group of bishops who face the same emerging challenge.  Took care of some routine maintenance personal organization chores. Drafted an  Ad Clerum --letter to the clergy--which will be sent on Friday. Made travel arrangements for the annual meeting

Tuesday (James Hannington & Companions)

While still at home, pretended to organize an impossibly monumental list of 60 separate tasks that I ought to accomplish this week. They will not all get done. There will be a lot of triage involved. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Attended to a couple of administrative matters--one urgent and important, the other merely important.  Usual Tuesday informal debrief with the Archdeacon and the Administrator. Refined and printed the working script for this Sunday's homily at St Andrew's, Carbondale. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Processed a batch of emails. Usual Tuesday scanning and organizing chores. This generated some spontaneous hand-written notes and emails. Made a couple of final tweaks to my 2013 visitation calendar and gave Sue the green light to go public with it. Evening Prayer in the cathedral. Substantive after-dinner phone conversation with the Rector's Warden of one of our parishes regarding some transitional issues.

The Lord's Day (XXII Pentecost)

Apparently I brought a pretty nasty bug back with me from Wisconsin. It laid me low all day yesterday and this afternoon and evening. I did manage to pull myself together long enough to drive (with Brenda's companionship) the 47 miles to Havana to preside and preach for the people of the Eucharistic Community of St Barnabas. I'm generally recliner-bound, with that old run-over-by-a-truck feeling. This will pass.

Sermon for Proper 25

St Barnabas, Havana -- Mark 10:46-52 I’m going to date myself with this, but one of the memories of my teenage years is a record—an actual LP—of Bill Cosby doing comedy. The most memorable line from that recording was its first one, when Bill Cosby just says, “I started out as a child.” The one thing I can safely say, is that every one of us either is a child, or once was a child—there are no exceptions! Childhood carries with it both blessings and curses. Children themselves tend to see the curses—they’re smaller than adults, they’re physically weaker, and they’re forever having grownups tell them what they can and can’t do. It’s really a pain … as I recall. Adults, however, tend to get all nostalgic about the blessings of childhood, the chief of which is that if you get yourself into a jam, your parents will get you out of it—unless, of course, it’s your parents you’re in a jam with, in which case, if you can’t play one off against the other, you’re cooked! But if you’re in

Friday (Alfred the Great)

Checked out of the Hilton Garden Oconomowoc and on campus in time for 8am Morning Prayer and Mass. Looked at the high-card breakfast buffet in the refectory and decided to make a quick run into Delafield for some animal protein, accompanied by a fellow trustee who is also diabetic and so had the same need. Participated in the ceremonial rehearsal for the 10:30 fall Academic Convocation. Participated in the event by awarding the honorary degree to our distinguished guest, Metropolitan Hilarion Aleyev, top assistant to the Patriarch of Moscow. In addition to several published theological works, he is an accomplished musician and composer. He then proceeded to deliver a captivating lecture on "J.S. Bach as a Religious Phenomenon." I was once a scholar of music, so this appealed to a part of me that doesn't get to come out and play very often. Visited with students, faculty, alumni, trustees, and visitors over a buffet lunch in the refectory, then took my leave of the H


On campus at Nashotah for 8am Mattins (sung Morning Prayer), followed by breakfast in the refectory, followed by trustees meetings from 9:30 until noon and 1:30 until 3:00. There's a bit of a learning curve to chairing this group, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. I was grateful for the 90 minute break between adjournment and Evening Prayer, as it allowed for a long walk around the campus--including down at the lakefront--and a "for old time's sake" visit to the library, which may actually have been my true home when I was a student here. Said Evening Prayer at 4:30 ("Evensaid," as some of the students call it) was followed by a glorious Solemn Eucharist celebrating the feast of St James of Jerusalem, transferred from Tuesday. The preacher was Fr Chad Hatfield, a son of the House, and now chancellor of the Orthodox seminary in Yonkers, New York (St Vladimir's). Another scrumptious meal in the refectory, followed by a small social gathering at t


At Nashotah House. Morning Prayer and Mass in St Mary's Chapel. Breakfast in the refectory. Met with  a sub-group of the Administrative Committee of the board, then with the whole committee, including some time with the auditor of our financial statements. Quick lunch in the refectory before heading back to the chapel to record by video a brief interview wherein I shared some thoughts on stewardship and on Nashotah's ministry to the church in the 21st century. Chaired the meeting of the full board for most of the afternoon, then the Executive Committee. Evensong in the chapel, social hour and dinner in the refectory for trustees and faculty. Had a delightful time getting to know two faculty members and their spouses.

St James of Jerusalem

Took an incoming phone call while eating breakfast from a colleague bishop who has some helpful and particular insights into the sad South Carolina situation. Morning Prayer in the office. Usual Tuesday catch-up with the Archdeacon and the Administrator. Substantive phone conversations with the Dean of Nashotah House and the Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees over an emerging issue ahead of tomorrow meeting of the board. Dashed off a pastoral email to one of our clergy. Produced and refined a working script for this Sunday's homily at St Barnabas, Havana. Took care of some administrivia. Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Worked from home for the afternoon, mostly processing emails and making phone calls. Took a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Packed and headed north at 5pm. While  en route  to Oconomowoc, WI, held five phone interviews with candidates for the position at St John the Divine, Champaign. It sure makes the drive time seem faster.  Check in at the Hilton G

The Lord's Day (XX Pentecost)

Up in time to have all four wheels on the YFNBmobile out of the garage while the digital clock still read 6:00am. Rolled into Edwardsville a little earlier than expected--around 7:20--in plenty of time for the first Mass of two at St Andrew's Church. It was a straight Rite I with no music, which I found oddly comforting, given that it was part of my routine for two decades, and now is a relative rarity. The principal celebration, a sung Rite II, was lively and well-attended. Both coffee hours demonstrated the warmt of the parishioners and gave testimony to the fine work Mother Virginia Bennett has done there over the last 17 years. Father George Pence is doing a fine job holding things together there while the rector, Mother Bennett, recovers from a nasty fall and fractured leg.  After a stop in Litchfield for lunch at Brenda's favorite eatery, Ruby Tuesday, we arrived home at 2:30. Nap, walk, lots of rest.

Sermon for Proper 24

St Andrew's, Edwardsville -- Mark 10:34-45 , Isaiah 53:4-12 For seven years of the first decade of this century, there was a TV show that became pretty much the highlight of my week whenever it came on. It was  The West Wing , and most of you are probably familiar with it. The ensemble of characters were all members of a fictional White House staff, plus Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlett. There was one particular episode that featured a great deal of flashback material, and let the viewers in on what the lives of these people had been like before Bartlett became a presidential candidate. Then it showed them all meeting for the first time as they were recruited, or volunteered, to work on his campaign in the early stages of the primaries. They worked hard for him, put their “real” lives on hold for him, sacrificed comfort and security and took great risks for him. When Josiah Bartlett became president, they were understandably rewarded with challenging and powerful job


The Saturday session of the 135th diocesan synod got underway promptly at 8:30am and we were adjourned by mid-morning. That's what happens when there's only one contested election, finances are in the black, the budget is not controversial, and the only policy resolutions have to do with companion diocese relationships. (We voted to retire our relationships with Barbados and Recife and take on new ones with Tabora [Province of Tanzania] and Peru.) Home just past noon, Processed some email and prepared a bit for the Nashotah House board meeting during the afternoon, but saved time for a long walk in the beauty of fall foliage. Enjoyed the Illinois Symphony Orchestra concert in the evening.

Friday (Henry Martyn)

Stayed home in the morning to prep for an 11am departure for Bloomington and the 135th annual synod of the diocese. We banged the gavel at 2:00pm and banged in again a little past 3:30 as we recessed for the Eucharist at St Matthew's. In the meantime, we got through the organizational formalities, heard greetings from the Bishop of Chicago, I gave my address, we heard reports from the Youth Department and the Episcopal Church Women, and held an election. We observed the lesser feast of Henry Martyn, Priest & Missionary at Mass, then enjoyed a delicious banquet back at the Chateau Hotel & Conference Center. I am so incredibly blessed to be doing what I'm doing.

St Luke the Evangelist

Got to the office and was immediately distracted by conversations with the Archdeacon and the Administrator. Managed to slip into the cathedral for a few minutes of private devotions, but Morning Prayer drew the short straw today. It happens. Produced a semi-rough draft of a sermon for All Saints (observed on November 4), to be delivered at St Andrew's, Carbondale. Processed a largish batch of emails.  Lunch at home (grilled panini sandwich made from sprouted grain bread, smoked turkey, sliced parmesan cheese, and Thai peanut sauce). Worked on a Letter of Understanding between a particular vestry and a particular rector. Produced a tentative version of my 2013 visitation calendar. Sue will make sure I've covered all the bases and make it public soon. Took a late afternoon/early evening phone call from an old clergy friend who wanted to process the developments in the Diocese of South Carolina. Evening Prayer fell by the wayside, as it was already almost 6:30. Took some

Wednesday (St Ignatius of Antioch)

After a trip to my doctor's office to get some blood drawn, it was a "normal" morning. MP in the cathedral. Made some technical preparations for the presentation of proposals to synod regarding our companions relationships with other dioceses. Refined my homily for the synod Mass. It's now "in the can" (which means it lives in a file folder in the back seat of my car, a routine procedure). Worked on some details of the upcoming clergy/musicians conference. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Weekly scanning/filing chores. Doing this always generates a few secondary tasks, which take up time. Administrivia. Refined my homily for this Sunday (St Andrew's, Edwardsville). It is also now in the can--and you know what that means now. Worked on a rough draft of a sermon for Proper 25 (October 28 at St Barnabas, Havana). Evening Prayer in the cathedral.  Dinner from Chine 1, eaten in my office. Attended the regular monthly meeting of the cathedral chapter. Pr

Tuesday (Oxford Martyrs)

Somewhat of a regular morning routine, though MP got pushed to about 9:45 because of various conversations with staff prompted by my arrival in the office. Hand wrote two notes: one of thanks, one of condolence. Worked on some Nashotah House-related business in advance of next week's Trustees meeting. Prepared materials for tonight's meeting with the vestry of Emmanuel, Champaign. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Worked on my address to the annual synod of the diocese this Friday. I believe it is now "in the can." Took a brisk walk up to the old state capitol area and back, on a fine day for such an activity. Left at 4:30 for a 6:00 meeting in Champaign. Discussed nuts and bolts of transition issues with the vestry of Emmanuel.  My trip home coincided almost precisely with the time of the presidential debate.

The Lord's Day: XX Pentecost

Woke up in Marion (which is, in fact, where I had gone to bed, so that's a good thing!). Headed east to Harrisburg in plenty of time to preside and preach at the regular 10am Mass At St Stephen's. Very nice potluck afterward, featuring roast pork and BBQ sauce. (Oh, the bread pudding deserves an honorable mention as well.) St Stephen's is one of those communities where I don't lower the average age when I walk in; it's not a large group, but they have a good proportion of younger folks. Larry Black, husband of Mother Sherry Black, who takes care of St James', Marion, has recently learned of an adverse development in his health that brings with it a challenging prognosis. So I leveraged my presence in the area to have a visit with both of them in their home. Through the sacrament of Unction, we consecrated Larry's illness to be a tool at God's disposal in the manifestation of His redemptive grace. Do hold them in your prayers. I arrived home around 4:

Homily for Proper 23

Mark 10:17-31 (Redeemer, Cairo and St Stephen's, Harrisburg) As we hang out with Jesus in Mark’s gospel in his ministry of proclaiming in word and deed the good news of the Kingdom of God, we encounter an interesting young man today. Apparently, he’s one of those fortunate few who are born with the proverbial “silver spoon” in their mouth. He was not only young; he was young and rich. A lot of things had broken his way during his short life. But he had also tried to be wise; that is, to not squander what had been entrusted to him, to see his good fortune in the context of larger and deeper concerns. We might infer from what we’re told about his conversation with Jesus that he wanted to be responsible, to do the right thing, to move beyond a concern for creature comforts that his wealth made available to him, and consider the deeper mysteries of human existence, to find a profound meaning and purpose for his life. “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” It’s esp


The morning had a slightly gentler start than an ordinary weekday, but I did have to be dressed, packed for an overnight, and at the diocesan office for a 10am meeting of the Commission on Ministry. Deacons Bill Howard and Ann Tofani were interviewed and recommended for ordination to the priesthood. We then discussed some broader conceptual matters regarding the work of the COM. Southbound on I-55 shortly after noon, arriving at my hotel in Marion just before 3:30. Met by Fr Keith Roderick, Rural Dean, who kindly offered to do the driving for both of us for our appearance at the special 5pm Eucharist at Redeemer, Cairo. There were 21 people in the room, which, in that context, is a bumper crop. Redeemer is in a relationship with the ELCA congregation in Cairo, Emmanuel, that is rapidly becoming much closer. This is an opportunity for Bishop Roth and I to get creative about exploring some of the dimensions of Called to Common Mission, the covenant between the Episcopal Church and the


The goal was to have something of a "normal" day, but it was not to be. Consulted with Sue regarding several details of next weekend's annual synod. Slipped into the cathedral for some short devotions. Produced a working draft of a homily for this weekend (Cairo and Harrisburg). Welcomed my Roman Catholic counterpart, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, to the diocesan office and took him on a quick tour of the St Paul's Cathedral. We then walked up to the eatery Obed & Isaac's on 6th Street for a nice lunch, after which he reciprocated the hospitality and showed me around Immaculate Conception Cathedral and his private residence on the third floor of the rectory. It had been my hope for some time to meet him, and I'm glad we were able to connect. I then dashed off to my primary care physician to consult over my recent kidney stone attacks. As soon as I got back to the office, around 3:30, I felt another one coming on, so I drove home to where my supply of pain-


Ate breakfast and checked out of the Ambassador Hotel in Milwaukee (it's a "vintage" property from the 1930s that has been painstakingly updated to maintain many of its period features) in time to get back to the All Saints Cathedral/Diocese of Milwaukee complex at which the offices of The Living Church are housed. Today was the annual meeting of the larger group--the Foundation. This is the body that takes counsel for the "big picture," helping develop and refine mission and vision, while the Board of Director's looks after strategy, and staff handles tactics. It was a stimulating day. It was my privilege to deliver the homily at a Requiem Mass before lunch. We concluded our business around 4pm, and I immediately hit the road, which put me back in Springfield right at 9:00. Grateful for safe (and healthy!) travel.


I had to pop a couple of pills to deal with resurgent pain as I was going to bed last night, but they did their job and I slept well. Today has been pain-free and drug-free. Today was another productive day with the Board of Directors of The Living Church Foundation, and dinner was with the larger group of foundation members themselves, with whom we will spend most of tomorrow.

Tuesday (Robert Grosseteste)

I had the morning free--unexpectedly, due to s scheduling snafu--to I used it to (naturally) process a bunch of emails, pay some bills, and get the oil changed in the YFNBmobile. Participated (robustly, I would probably say) in my first meeting as a member of the Board of Directors of the Living Church Foundation. TLC has played a huge role, since the mid-1970s, in my formation as an Anglican Christians, and is making a major contribution to the ongoing life of the Anglican Communion. It is my joy to "give back" what I can at this stage of my life and ministry, While at dinner with the group, at a charming Serbian restaurant on the south side of Milwaukee, the left kidney decided it didn't like feeling neglecting and started with Level 7 (on the 1 to 10 scale that they now always ask you about), soon shooting up to an 8. I had just placed my order and hadn't even finished my beer, but I was quickly "intervened on" and driven to the ER at Columbia St Mary


Very grateful to be writing from a Milwaukee hotel room, after an uneventful five-hour drive from Springfield, all of which was on the calendar. What was  not   only the calendar was a four hour visit to the ER at St John's Hospital with a kidney stone. Since Vicodin is not compatible with driving, I was on the verge of having to cancel my travel plans (I'm here for a meeting of the Board and Foundation of  The Living Church ). But when the moment of decision arrived, I was pain free and had been med-free for five and a half hours, so all systems were Go. I am incredibly grateful for the prayer support I have received over the last 24 hours.

The Lord's Day (XIX Pentecost)

Up and out of my Effingham hotel at 7:30 for the short drive to St Lawrence's Church in advance of their regular 8am Eucharist. Presided and preached for a congregation of nine: the six regulars, plus two family members visiting from out of town, and YFNB. The Word of God was duly preached and the Blessed Sacrament duly administered. After a nice post-liturgical social time, I was back on the road at 9:30 and home at 11:30.  Devoted most of my afternoon to writing an article for the next edition of the  Springfield Current,  now under new editorship. As a token of the new order of things, however, that article is already available on the diocesan website (currently appearing on the Home page right under the "sticky" Welcome). 

Sermon for Proper 22

Given the small size of the congregation at St Lawrence's in Effingham, it seemed more appropriate to preach from notes rather than a fleshed-out text. The relevant scripture reading is the day's epistle:  Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12 . Reading from Hebrews paints compelling picture of God’s final victory over everything that ails us—in fact, the exaltation of humankind to a position almost of co-ruler with God (“all things in subjection under [our] feet”) But this vision does not usually correlate with our actual experience. We see massive suffering in others, and inevitably suffer greatly ourselves (“As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection …”) “But we do see Jesus … now crowned with honor and glory because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” We live in a “time in between”—Analogy/illustration: Battle of New Orleans, Japanese snipers on Pacific islands after WWII—the realm of sin and death still casts a shadow,

Saturday (William Tyndale)

"Soft"morning--read the paper, read M.P. in my recliner. Household chores. Weight & treadmill workout. Took care of some administrative flotsam and jetsam via email. Reviewed some materials related to my impending attendance at meetings of the Foundation and Board of Directors for The Living Church. Departed early evening for Effingham, in advance of tomorrow's 8am visitation to St Lawrence's.


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Three substantive meetings today: Father Dick Swan and Camp Board chair Dave Lattan. We discussed some administrative and policy issues related to the summer camping program for children and youth that we operate jointly with the Anglican Church in North American Diocese of Quincy. Father Dale Coleman of St George's, Belleville. We discussed some administrative and policy challenges and opportunities facing the leadership of St George's. Father Keith Roderick of St Andrew's, Carbondale and dean of the Hale Deanery. We discussed some broad concerns related to our mission in the southernmost part of the diocese. Between these appointments, I managed to produce a rough draft of my homily for Proper 23 (Cairo and Harrisburg, weekend after next). Friday prayers:  Lectio divina  on tomorrow's daily office reading from Hosea. Evening Prayer in the office.

Thursday (St Francis of Assisi)

Up and out for three mile brisk walk at 6:45 Started in on task list at home while waiting for breakfast to cook (some Nashotah-related business) Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Processed some detritus from the Forward Movement board meeting (some very interesting detritus, that is, which I expect may eventually have a large footprint in this diocese). Produced a working outline for my homily this coming Sunday at St Lawrence, Effingham. Finished a first draft of a sermon for Proper 24 (October 21 at St Andrew's, Edwardsville). Worked on the liturgy booklet for the synod Eucharist. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Continued work on the liturgy booklet for the synod Eucharist. The job took me down some unexpected rabbit holes, but it got finished. Left at 3:45 for Bloomington, with Brenda and the Archdeacon accompanying me. Arrived at St Matthew's in time for a 5:15 rehearsal and a 6:30 liturgy at which we ordained Bruce De Gooyer to the priesthood. Left Bloomin

Ordination to the Priesthood of Bruce DeGooyer

John 6:35-38, Ephesians 4:7, 11-16 St Matthew’s, Bloomington                                                                                 Virtually from the moment I first shook hands with Bruce DeGooyer, in a Decatur banquet room when the three candidates for Bishop of Springfield were being introduced to the diocese more than two years ago, I have thought that he has the charism of a priest, the persona of a priest. So it came as no shock to me at all when Bruce told me he was discerning a vocation to the priesthood. My outward response was something like, “Well, let’s pray on that.” My inward response was more like, “Duh. Of course!” So here were are, and what a joy this is. Tonight Bruce is accepting a vocation, responding to a call, to be an icon of Christ the Good Shepherd. Jesus, of course, is the only true shepherd in the deepest, truest sense. But he calls some from among his people to be particular signs of his own pastoral ministry, and he shares that ministry


Morning Prayer at home, With the exception of of about 20 minutes spent in a pastoral phone conversation with a priest from outside the diocese, my entire morning (until 12:30) was devoted to processing some 30+ emails that had accumulated while I was out of town. After lunch at home, in the office a little before 2. Debriefed with the Archdeacon on sundry emerging concerns. Consulted with the Administrator on various details regarding the upcoming diocesan synod and a clergy/musicians conference in November. Cleared the "snail mail" off my desk and processed some materials I brought back with me from Cincinnati. Took a phone call on some Nashotah House-related business. Assembled, prepared, and sent (electronically) materials on four more potential candidates to the search committee chair at St John the Divine, Champaign. Completed and refined my sermon for tomorrow night's ordination of Bruce DeGooyer to the priesthood. Evening Prayer (memorized short form) i


Finished up with the Forward Movement board meeting around 3pm (eastern). I had planned to spend another night in Cincinnati and drive home tomorrow, but that was assuming a dinnertime completion of our work. As it was, I did some quick mental math and determined that I could make it home at an eminently reasonable hour, so I fit the road and pulled into the driveway a little past 8:30. Very excited about a new project that FM is taking on. Details will emerge in due course.

Monday (St Remigius)

Got a late start to the morning (late arrival last night in Indianapolis, plus losing an hour to the time zone), but still made it to Cincinnati in time for lunch, and the beginning of the Forward Movement board meeting. It continues all day tomorrow, at the retreat house operating by the Community of the Transfiguration, an Episcopal religious community for women.