Showing posts from May, 2013

Visitation of the BVM

Usual AM routine; MP in the cathedral. Spent the entire morning, and the afternoon until 3:00, preparing for tomorrow's Clergy Day. Things always take longer than one plans on. Took a break for lunch at home (carryout from McD's). Completed a working outline of my sermon for this Sunday. Friday prayer: Ignatian meditation on the office gospel reading for the feast of the Visitation. Took a first pass at the readings for Proper 14 (August 11 at St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel). Performed some routine personal organization chores pertaining to the end of the month. Wrestled some with my incubating sermon for Proper 7 (June 23 at Redeemer, Cairo), arriving at a message statement. Took a phone call from my ELCA opposite number, Bishop John Roth--just checking in to see how I'm doing in my recovery. Evening Prayer in the cathedral. Dinner out with Fr Dale and Deacon Jody Coleman, in town on the early side for tomorrow's Clergy Day.

Thursday (Corpus Christi / Eve of Visitation)

Usual AM routine; MP in the cathedral. Tended to some administrivia. Took a phone call from the Dean of Nashotah House, ensuring that we are both singing off the same song sheet on a potentially sensitive matter. Began to put some meat on the bones of my homily for this Sunday at St John's, Albion. Lunch from LaBamba, eaten at home. Stayed there for work0-from-home afternoon. Engaged in some particular preparation for my attendance (third and final year) at the Living Our Vows program for new bishops next month. Ran a couple of personal errands. Plotted the primary (and some secondary) moves in a sermon for St Barnbas' Day, to be given at St Barnabas' Church, Havana, on June 15. Loaded vestments and hit the road for Decatur at 5pm. 6:30 Mass at St John's with two confirmations and one reception, celebrating the eve of the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Back home around 9 to find a very large tree limb in our back yard. Only daylight wil

Sermon for the Visitation of the BVM

St John's, Decatur -- Luke 1:39-57 Although I am sorry that this is a “makeup” visitation because I had to miss my regularly scheduled visit to you after Easter, I’m kind of glad to be here to keep a feast that we don’t usually get to observe in a grand fashion—the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The story is not unfamiliar to us, because we hear it in connection with the Advent and Christmas cycle: When Mary is told that she’s going to become the mother of God Incarnate, the angel offers her a confirming sign: a relative of hers—cousin? aunt? we’re not told—who is herself beyond childbearing years, Elizabeth, had become pregnant, and was indeed already in her sixth month. So, rather soon thereafter, Mary packs up and heads from Nazareth to the Judean hill country, which was kind of an arduous trip, rather like going from Decatur to, say, Danville, only on foot, or at the speed of a donkey, and with bad roads and lots of hills. But Mary makes it to Judea s


Usual AM routine; MP in the cathedral. Processed a Marital Judgment request from one of our parish clergy. Began a Nashotah House-related project. Met with Fr Halt and Fr Wetmore on a youth ministry-related endeavor at the very incipient stages. Lunch from Hickory River, eaten at home. Met with Fr Evans and Sandy to debrief on their trip to Peru and make plans to cultivate that new companion diocese relationship. Finished the Nashotah project I began in the morning. Worked on the draft of my homily for Proper 5 (June 8 at St Paul's, Pekin). Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


Weekly task planning and some email processing at home over tea and breakfast. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Finished email processing. Began to produce a working script for the homily I will give Thursday night at St John's, Decatur, observing the eve of the Visitation of the BVM. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Resumed and completed working on the Visitation sermon. Made lodging arrangements in the Sewanee, TN area for Sunday night, when I will be visiting one of our seminarians. After realizing this morning that preparation of a sermon for this very coming Sunday had fallen through the cracks of my task planning system (can you imagine?!), I conceived and hatched a homily for Proper 4. It will require a couple of more sessions of work before the week is out. Edited and posted lectionary-based forms for the Prayers of the People on the diocesan website to cover June (except for this Sunday), July, and August. Hoping that more of our Eucharistic Communities will

Trinity Sunday

Out the door (solo, Brenda staying home to care for the sick dog) at 7:30 ahead of a 10am arrival for a 10:30 celebration of the Eucharist on Trinity Sunday at Trinity Church in Mt Vernon. I was very warmly received by the good people of Trinity and their rector, Fr Gene Tucker. After a delicious post-liturgical repast of road turkey and everything that usually accompanies road turkey, I was back on the road toward home at 1, which meant an arrival time of 3:30. 

Sermon for Trinity Sunday

Trinity, Mount Vernon With the increasing ethnic and cultural diversity in our society, there is a great deal of discussion these days about what it means to be an American. What is it that is common to the American experience, whether our roots lie in Europe or Asia, Africa or the South Pacific … or among the first human settlers of this land? There are probably a number of plausible answers to this question, but one of them is certainly social mobility. We take it for granted that each of us has the right to live wherever we choose to and can afford to live, to pursue whatever livelihood may appeal to us—and to succeed or fail at it, as the case may be—to choose whatever hair style and wardrobe we deem appropriate, and to move in any social circle to which we may aspire, whatever the circumstances of our birth may have been. This is part of what it means to be an American, but it has not always been thus in the various lands of our ancestors. In medieval Europe, if your fat

Saturday (St Bede)

Stayed home all day, save for a trip to Smokey Bones for dinner. Did four loads of laundry (all mine), devoted 45 minutes to the treadmill, processed several emails, helped Brenda care for her ailing dog. 

Friday (St Jackson Kemper)

This was a day that just never did get off the ground for me. Felt just plain underpowered. My main accomplishment, beyond a scheduled phone call wearing my Living Church Foundation board member hat, was the production of a rough draft of a homily for the eve of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (next Thursday evening in Decatur, another "makeup" visitation). But it took me all day; I was just that unfocused. It could be a medication glitch. We'll see. In the meantime, Brenda's beloved 12-year old border collie, Lucy, is clearly quite sick--not eating or drinking and not interested in going outside. Brenda got her into the vet, who says her white and blood cell counts are both dangerously low. Brenda is devoted to that dog, and is praying for a peaceful end, if that is what it has come to. In the evening, I did manage to churn out  a blog post in response to a recent sermon of the Presiding Bishop . 


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Attended to a handful of items of pastoral and administrative detritus. Consulted commentaries and otherwise exegeted the gospel for Proper 7--the restoration of the Gerasene demoniac in Luke--in preparation for preaching at Redeemer, Cairo on June 23. Lunch (on the late side) from a "Chicago-style" place on West Jefferson (Italian roast beef), eaten at home. Back to the office for an appointment with Deacon Anne Flynn of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. She and her husband are now living in Charleston and attending Trinity, Mattoon, where they have already injected another layer of vitality into that community. We will be licensing Deacon Anne to function in this diocese. Wrestled a message statement out of the readings for St Barnabas' Day, in preparation for celebrating their feast of title with the people of St Barnabas', Havana on June 16. Scanned and otherwise processed an intimidating stack of hard-copy items that ac


Back to the usual weekday morning routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Returned some phone calls and processed some emails. Extended and substantive scheduled phone conversation with a representative of the philanthropic department of U.S. Trust--in effect, my co-trustee as regards the Putnam trust, which provides an income stream to two of our parishes. Impromptu conversation with Fr Roderick over some details in anticipation of the upcoming Clergy Day, and for a general check in on how his still-new ministry at St Paul's Cathedral is going. Back to email processing. Lunch from China 1, eaten at home, followed by a brief nap (in deference to my not-fully-recovered status), and a personal errand. Substantive phone conversation with Fr Dale Coleman over a pilot project called Renewal Works that St George's, Belleville has been involved in. Extended phone conversation with the Executive Director of the  The Living Church , wearing my TLC Foundation board member hat.


Began chipping away at my rather formidable to-do list for this week while still at home, over tea and breakfast.  In the office around 9am. Morning Prayer the cathedral. Conferred with the Archdeacon over sundry administrative and pastoral matters. Produced a working script of a sermon for this Sunday (Trinity, Mount Vernon). Took care of some business related to my membership in the group of Communion Partner bishops. Left at 12:15 for a 12:3o appointment with my local cardiologist, whom I did not actually see until 1:30, and it was well after 2 before I left the Prairie Heart Institute. Collected my computer at the office and headed home (via McDonald's). Fleshed out an printed a working outline for tonight's homily at St Andrew's, Edwardsville. Laid back in the recliner for about a 45 minute nap. This is by way of prudent personal resource management. I realize I can't yet operate at the pace that was my wont prior to the cardiac incident in March. Left t


Spirit-filled Pentecost celebration at Holy Trinity, Danville this morning. It was my joy to baptize an adult (shown here holding her son) and confirm a youth. Holy Trinity is a community that takes their worship very seriously ... themselves not so much, which is a great combination. 

Pentecost Sermon

Holy Trinity, Danville -- Acts 2:1-21  The story of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, recorded for us in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, is very familiar to most of us. We’ve heard it or read it dozens and dozens of times, or more. We could hit the high points from memory, without even cracking open a Bible: fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, ten days after watching the risen Jesus disappear into a cloud, all the disciples are gathered together in one place, in Jerusalem. There’s a loud noise, like the rushing wind; I’ve already imagined it sounded like a tornado, but what do I know? I’ve never heard a tornado! Then something that looked like tongues of flame appeared over each one’s head. Do you know something? This funny pointed hat that I wear is supposed to be a reminder of those tongues of flame, because one hopes that bishops operate under the authority and in the power of the Holy Spirit. One hopes. And then these disciples s


I've been at Nashotah House since midday Tuesday, but our otherwise quite comfortable guest accommodations lack an internet connection, and the agenda has been full, so this is the first moment I've had to steal some time in refectory, where the signal is strong. Ordained two transitional deacons in St Mary's Chapel Tuesday night, participated in Alumni Day activities yesterday, took part in Commencement this morning (including conferring two honorary doctorates, thus honing my Latin skills), and chaired the trustees meeting this afternoon (m0re of that tomorrow morning). With luck, we will be back in Springfield by dinner time Friday.

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Joyful visitation to Christ the King, Normal ... lunch at a Turkish restaurant (tasty) ... safe drive home ... Cubs win ... solid nap ... long walk (almost hitting the 10,000 step barrier today) ... some important work done in the evening ... a good day.

Sermon for Easter VII

Christ the King, Normal -- Acts 16:16-34, John 17:20-26 This is, if anything, the age of mission statements. Every group from Fortune 500 companies to the sixth grade classroom at the local elementary school has one, and many of you have, I’m sure, spent hours of your life at work—hours that are now lost and gone forever—hammering out a mission statement for your department or other working group. I don’t mean to sound too cynical here. I am myself responsible for subjecting many people to mission statement development processes, and sometimes they actually accomplish their intended purpose, keeping a group focused, and empowering its members to say No to attractive distractions. As Episcopalians, our overarching mission statement is provided for us in the catechism of the Book of Common Prayer: Q: What is the mission of the Church? A: The mission of the Church is to reconcile all people to God and one another in Christ. Simple, direct, clear. One might also argue, imposs


Up and out the door around 9:30. Mingled in the diocesan office/cathedral parking lot with members of Diocesan Council as they began to arrive. Participated in the Eucharist as part of the congregation, grateful to Fr Roderick's willingness to celebrate and preach.  Presided over the regular quarterly meeting of the Diocesan Council, aware that everyone these was probably grateful that they're only quarterly (in many dioceses, Council meets monthly). It was a good meeting, as far as the current structure allow for such things. But the time approaches for us to turn up the flame under the process of re-writing our diocesan constitution and canons. Home for lunch, nap, and a walk. It was a beautiful fall day ... except that it's May. Worked through some emails ... one series involving setting up a "makeup" visitation for one lost to my illness. Out to dinner at a Mexican place we hadn't tried yet--Los Agaves. We liked it. Spent the evening putting meat o


Usual weekday morning routine, at just a slightly slower tempo. When I finally got settled in at my desk, the first item on my task list was to process about a dozen emails. When I went home for lunch at noon, that task had not yet been completed, though I did take some time out to put wax seals on two ordination certificates for next week, and on a Letter of Institution for this evening. Lunch from LaBamba ("burritos as big as your head", but I ordered chicken tacos and pork enchiladas to share with Brenda). As part of my "ease in gently" program, I didn't go back into the office, but indulged in a nice nap. Then I got back to the emails (with more having arrived by this time). At 3:30, it was time to gather vestments, through them in the car, and hit the road for Champaign. The Celebration of New Ministry for Fr Sean Ferrell at the Chapel of St John the Divine began at 6pm. Matthias anthem, Elgar Te Deum, soaring treble descants, and an organ sounding l

Ascension Day

Surgery + four weeks ... the day I am allowed to drive once again and officially return to work, though I am not under any illusion that it can be at the same pace to which I was accustomed prior to my "cardiac incident" on March 25. Easy does it. After arriving in the office around 9am, I discussed several ongoing issues with the Archdeacon, who has stepped in very graciously in some matters that would otherwise have been squarely on my plate. I'm very grateful. Went into the cathedral to pray the morning office for Ascension Day. Took care of some administrative chores pertaining to the impending retirement of a priest. Devoted some prep time to the June 1 clergy day. Prepared some material for the diocesan website. Attended the 12:15 Ascension Day liturgy in the cathedral chapel. Lunch from Mickey D's, eaten at home. (I have a secret appetite, not often indulged, for Chicken McNuggets with hot mustard sauce.) Finished the website task I began before lunch

Update: Surgery + Three Weeks

Recovery progress is very slow but very steady. I'm getting a modest amount of work done every day via internet and phone. I haven't taken any pain medication for nearly 48 hours now, and my "incision awareness" is lower every day. Showering and dressing is no longer the ordeal it was a couple of weeks ago. I'm walking around the neighborhood every day, and gradually expanding my range. Broke the 5000 step barrier on my pedometer for the first time since surgery yesterday, and will do so again today. It still hurts a good bit when I cough, sneeze, or laugh, and there is certainly not yet a "spring" in my step. My heart rate--both resting and active--is also higher than I would like it to be, but I'm told this is quite normal after surgery, and that it will come down in time. I get very light-headed immediately upon standing up, but that, too, is par for the course, and it resolves in a matter of three or four seconds.  I'm pre-cleared by my