Showing posts from November, 2012

St Andrew

Task planning at home. Conferred with the Archdeacon on an administrative matter affecting one of our parishes. Morning Prayer in the office. Cranked out a brief memo to clergy in charge of congregations regarding a liturgical concern. Pastoral check-in by phone with a recently-retired cleric. Closed the loop by phone with another priest of the diocese on a matter of mutual concern. Spoke by phone with the rector of a parish coming up soon on my visitation calendar. Produced a first draft of a homily for Advent II (St Thomas, Salem). Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Hand-wrote notes to clergy and spouses with milestone events coming up in December. Took care of some personal organization technicalities related to the fact that this is the last day of the month. Cleared my physical inbox--lots of perusing, scanning, tossing, and task-creating. Evening Prayer in the office.


Organized my to-do list and processed a bunch of emails at home before breakfast. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Debriefed with the Archdeacon on sundry matters. Processed more emails (they tend to accumulate unduly while I'm travelling). The eight bishops who face disciplinary proceedings for filing a friend-of-the-court brief in some property litigation in Texas (I am one of them) only yesterday, after nearly six months, received copies of the actual complaints. One of them is 23 pages of legalese. I took some time to give it a careful look and trade some emails with my fellow  amici . Stopped by an urgent care clinic to get a splinter removed from the tip of my right forefinger. It's been fully embedded, and driving me increasingly crazier, for more than a week now, so it was time to get it taken care of. As a bonus, I walked out with a fresh tetanus shot, but passed on the offer of a lollipop. Lunch from McDonald's, eaten at home. Ran some errands from the da


We concluded our meeting of the Bishops of Small Dioceses around 11:30am. I came away with some helpful ideas, but also contributed, giving bits and pieces of what has become my parish hall stump speech in the diocese regarding the secularization of society. And apart from any of the specific content, the chance to just spend time with peers is invaluable. Time invested in relationship building will pay dividends in unexpected ways. The Bishops of Wyoming and Nevada rode with me to the airport in my rental car, and I hung out with them for a bit as we waited for our flights. The connection in Dallas was tight, but I made it, and was walking back into the house to an enthusiastic canine welcome a little past 9.


Still attending the conference for bishops of small dioceses. Nothing momentous, and we represent widely varying perspectives, but we are are all trying to fiathfully engage the challenges of church leadership in a rapdily and profoundly changing environment.

Monday (James O.S. Huntington)

Up and out in time to catch a 7am flight from Springfield to Dallas, then a connection to Salt Lake City, where I attending a meeting of bishops from small dioceses (there are no formal criteria for such a designation, so it's a self-selected group). I'll be here until midday on Wednesday.

Christ the King

Another welcome opportunity to approach Sunday morning at a humane hour and a humane pace. Presided and preached for the 10:15 liturgy at Christ the King, Normal. Wonderful hospitality from Fr Desmond Francis and the people of that Eucharistic Community. Home around 3pm, in time to relax a bit and take a vigorous walk, followed by some leaf processing in the yard just as it was getting dark.

Sermon for Christ the King

Christ the King, Normal -- Revelation 1:4b-8, Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 When I was growing up in the Chicago suburbs during the ’50s and ‘60s, there was a weekday afternoon children’s TV show called  Garfield Goose & Friends . Garfield Goose was styled “King of the United States,” and Frazier Thomas, the program’s human host, was his Prime Minister.  Of course, the reason they could get away with such a concept was because the whole notion of a “king of the United States” is utterly ridiculous. Americans fought a war in the 1770s to get rid of a king, and then set up a constitution that makes it pretty darn difficult to create a monarchy in this country. Now, that doesn’t stop us from being consumed by interest in royalty from other countries, especially the descendants of the one we got rid of in 1776! But we like to watch them at a safe distance, across the ocean, where they clearly don’t rule over  us . Still, regard for monarchy is in our DNA, not only as Americans, but si


On the road from Effingham at 7:30. Drove two hours through the fog on two lane roads. Dropped Brenda off at home and headed into the office. Took care of some administrative odds and ends until my 10am appointment with Fr Ralph McMichael. He has developed some catechetical materials regarding the Eucharist (not just the liturgy  per se , but how what we do and say in the liturgy connects with our lives as "eucharistic communities") that has great potential in the outworking of our vision for a church that can thrive in a post-Christian secular culture. We talked for two hours. Lunch at home. Worked on producing a rough draft of my homily for Advent Sunday (December 2, at St Paul's, Pekin). Processed a ton of emails. Usual weekly desk-clearing chores. Evening Prayer in the cathedral. Off in the morning for Thanksgiving with extended family at my sister's home in the Chicago suburbs. We plan to return home on Saturday.

Tuesday (St Edmund)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Debriefed with the Archdeacon and Treasurer over sundry matters. Attended to some Nashotah House-related business. Produced a refined draft of my homily for this Sunday (at Christ the King, Normal). Processed a batch of emails. Drove home to retrieve Brenda, pack, and load the car to the 3.75 drive to St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel and the ordination of Ann Tofani. Spending the night in Effingham.

The Lord's Day (XVI Pentecost)

A rare and welcome "late morning", as my visitation was at All Saints, Morton, only and 80 minute drive, and with an 11am liturgy. Got to read the Sunday paper with breakfast. Celebrated, preached, and pot-lucked with All Saints, which is in the capable pastoral hands of Fr Brian Kellington. (Deacon Laurie, his wife, was still in Kansas in the wake of her father's death earlier this week.) Made the short journey over to Bloomington, where I was privileged to serve as presider and homilist at the closing Mass for the Happening weekend (renewal program for high school youth), held at St Matthew's. It was a spirited group.  Home for a brief bit, then to the Round House for a 7pm meeting with the cathedral chapter, taking the next step in the process that will lead to the appointment of a Provost who will take the reins when Dean Brodie retires in February.

Sermon for Proper 28

All Saints, Morton -- Mark 13:1-8 , Hebrews 10:11-25 Although the objective definition of a “Christian” is “one who has been baptized,” in practical terms, we presume that a Christian is, or at least wants to be and tries to be a disciple of Jesus, a follower of the “Christ.” Unfortunately, you and I carry around some cultural baggage that makes it difficult for us to wrap our minds around that concept. Quite apart from being a disciple of Jesus, being a disciple of anybody is, for us, a strange and foreign idea. It’s not something we can readily identify with. We are accustomed to programs and processes and procedures, but discipleship is about a person. It isn’t registering for a course and reading a certain list of books or watching a series of videos or passing tests or writing papers. Discipleship is a personal relationship, a relationship in which the disciple, more than anything else, spends time with a Master, listening and learning. Yes, there is eventually an attempt to


Absent from this space for several days. Here's the summary: Monday and Tuesday: At the Diocese of Central Florida's conference center near Orlando with six other bishops and three rectors from the loose fellowship known as Communion partners. We produced a statement,  which you can see here , and made several other plans as well. Yesterday morning was spend regrouping at home--weight and treadmill workout, assorted emails. In the afternoon, we headed for Chicago. Had dinner with daughter Summer and her family, then headed to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for a splendid production of Massanet's  Werther . Today was supposed to be a "play day" in Chicago, but I spend the morning taking my "share in the councils of the church" by way of  last-ditch attempts  at intervention to forestall the cataclysm of the loss of the Diocese of South Carolina to the Episcopal Church. Brenda and I then enjoyed lunch downtown and a couple of hours at the Chicago Art Ins

Homily for Proper 27

St Thomas', Glen Carbon -- Mark 12:38-44, I Kings 17:8-16 Some of you who have heard me talk about my spiritual and religious past are aware that I was raised in a devoutly active Christian home, and that I had a conscious awareness of being a Christian from a very early age. I don’t know that anybody would have said this to me in so many words, but I somehow picked up the notion, when I was a child, that there are basically two classes of Christians, two levels of Christian faith. The first level is what we might cynically call “fire insurance”—that is, if we’re sorry for our sins, and trust that fact that Christ died to save us from their eternal consequences, and invite him into our heart, then, when we die, we’ll go to heaven and not to hell. A Level One Christian goes to church most Sundays and puts a fair amount into the offering plate and says grace before meals and tries to live a generally upright life. But beyond those norms, no excessive commitment is necessary

Saturday (St Leo of Rome)

Another great day with the clergy and musicians of the diocese. Our conference presenter led us through a liturgy planning "lab"--divided into "smaller church" and "larger church" breakout groups. Then we planned a Eucharist for the celebrate of the lesser feast of St Leo of Rome, which we then executed in the cathedral church. I am so pleased that we had this opportunity for learning and collaboration.


Spent the entire day, including the evening, at St Paul's Cathedral with the conference for clergy and musicians, led by the Revd Dr Walter Knowles. Full of good and stimulating material.


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Debriefed with the Archdeacon on my visit to Emmanuel, Champaign last night. Spent the rest of the morning taking care of several items of administrivua--all important, but none urgent. Lunch at home. Joined most of the clergy of the diocese during the afternoon and evening for the beginning of our conference for clergy and musicians (who arrive tomorrow evening), the goal of which is generally to help form the minds of those who plan worship to ... think liturgically.

Wednesday (St Willibrord)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Attended by internet and phone to a pastoral matter. Walked to Illinois National Bank to deposit my paycheck. Could have driven? Yes? Why did I walk? Because it's all about racking up steps on my pedometer. Conceived and hatched a homily for the feast of Christ the King, at the parish of Christ the King in Normal, on November 25. Lunch at home. Conferred with Walt Knowles, an old friend from college and priest of the Diocese of Olympia, who is in town to lead our upcoming conference for clergy and musicians. Participated in a conference call with other leaders of a Communion Partners event next week in Florida. Ground out a rough draft for the above-mentioned sermon. Left at 4:00 for Champaign, where I had a dinner engagement with the Rector's Warden of Emmanuel Church and his wife, then a 7pm congregational meeting to discuss transitional issues. Home around 9:45.


Task planning at home, Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Usual Tuesday informal check-in with staff. Took a phone call from the Dean of Nashotah House. Processed a goodly batch of emails ... and Facebook messages, which some people seem to prefer to email. (I should add, by way of fair warning, that it is several times easier for me to lose track of a Facebook message than an email.) Produced and refined a working draft of my homily for this Sunday at St Thomas', Glen Carbon. Lunch at home. Hatched a rough draft of a sermon for Proper 28 (November 18 at All Saints, Morton). Finally attended to an administrative/pastoral matter that has been "triaged out" for longer than I am happy about. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

The Lord's Day

Due to the end of Daylight Savings Time, it felt like we had a luxurious morning, packing up and checking out of our Marion hotel, enjoying a leisurely breakfast at the Bob Evans next door, and still making it to St Andrew's, Carbondale in plenty of time to preside and preach at their regular 10am Eucharist. The liturgy was well-attended, had lots of energy, and was followed by a well-subscribed potluck meal. There is a fine sense of community there, testifying to the solid pastoral leadership of Fr Keith Roderick. We made it back home around 3:30, in time to get some rest, scrounge up some dinner, and head out to catch of movie (we saw  Looper ). 

Homily for the Sunday after All Saints

St Andrew's, Carbondale --John 11:32-44, Wisdom 3:1-9, Revelation 21:1-6a, Psalm 24:1-6 So it’s All Saints Day … or, the Sunday following, at any rate. I don’t know precisely where “All Saints” ranks among the most popular names for Episcopal churches, but it’s in the top five, I would bet. Our diocese has only one—way up in Morton, actually our northernmost parish. The word “saint,” of course, means “holy one,” and one of the ways it’s used in the Christian tradition is to refer to all Christians, all those who have been set apart in baptism and thereby made “holy to the Lord,” to borrow a phrase from the Old Testament, regardless of their particular moral character. But the way we’re using the word today, it has a more specific meaning. It singles out a minority of Christians, all of them now having passed out of this world, who are deemed worthy of remembrance by all, people who get churches named after them, and appear in stained glass windows, and have their own days on

Saturday (Richard Hooker)

Out the door with Brenda at 8:30 so we could be at St George's, Belleville in time for an 11am Eucharist in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the relationship between St George's and St Mark Lutheran Church; they share facilities. We were joined by Bishop John Roth, my ELCA counterpart, who preached. After the liturgy, we adjourned to a nearby catering facility for an elegant luncheon banquet. Back on the road at 3:30. Checked in at the Hampton Inn in Marion at little past 5:00. We were met at 5:30 by Fr Keith Roderick, who drove us to the home of Trish Guyon, one of his parishioners at St Andrew's, Carbondale, for another elegant meal, this time with St Andrew's vestry and spouses. Looking forward to tomorrow's official annual visit, and grateful for an extra hour's sleep!

All Souls

Morning Prayer (Office of the Dead) at home. Weight and treadmill workout. Processed a batch of emails. Took care of some administrative odds and ends pertaining to an upcoming ordination. Lunch while still at home. Drove in to the office around 1:15. Responded to an important email that has been in the queue for a few days. Wrote letters to the dioceses of Recife and Barbados, explaining the decision of our recent synod that it is time for us to release one another from the ties of a formal companion relationship. (We do this in order to enter into new relationships with Tabora and Peru.) A letter of this sort requires a certain delicacy of wording. Posted some major new material to the website:  alternative forms for the Prayers of the People  for the Sundays from Advent II through Epiphany Last.  Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

All Saints

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Sundry administrative flotsam and jetsam. Produced a working draft of a homily for Proper 27 (St Thomas, Glen Carbon on the 11th). Attended to some Nashotah House board business. Lunch at home--leftovers. Did some master homiletical plotting and planning for the Sundays between Advent I and the Last Sunday after the Epiphany. This was time-consuming. Cranked out a Chairman-of-the-Board article for the Lent issue (yes, you read that right; the lead time is that long) of  The Missioner , Nashotah's quarterly magazine. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.