Showing posts from September, 2013

St Michael & All Angels (transferred)

On the road at a leisurely how from Shelbyville, Indiana, in time for lunch beginning the fall meeting of the Forward Movement board of directors, on which it is my joy to serve. We discussed a range of issues, from the mundane to the speculative. I'm most excited about a program called Renewal Works, about which the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Springfield will be hearing a lot more about from me over the coming months.  Dinner was at a Scottish-themed restaurant (waiters in kilts) called Nicholson's. Good beer, which felt good on the sore throat that is gaining on me despite my attempts to keep it at bay with zinc lozenges.

The Lord's Day (XIX Pentecost)

Up in time to attend the 8am Eucharist at St Anne's, Warsaw, IN, where I served as rector from 2007 until early 2011, when I moved to Springfield to take up my current work. It was my first time back. For any cleric, this is a slightly surreal experience. But it was a good one, and fun to reconnect with people ... and with the town that was our happy home for three and half years. After Mass, I met another couple of parishioners and friends, who attend the later service, for a quick breakfast at Mickey D's.  Then it was a leisurely drive of 120 miles through the drizzle to Shelbyvile, where I had a hotel reservation 85 miles from Cincinnati, where I need to be at noon tomorrow for a meeting of the Forward Movement board. I checked in at 2:30, which left me lots of time to process my email inbox, rest a bit, walk a bit, and get some other odds and ends done.


Reported to the Van Noord Arena at Calvin College at 9:30 for a liturgy rehearsal for the consecration of Whayne Hougland as Bishop of Western Michigan. My role was just to be part of the gaggle of bishops who lay hands on the ordinand at the appropriate moment, so not much rehearsing was required on my part, but it nonetheless served a larger purpose for me to be there. Then, back in a vesting room, there was the curious ritual of the signing and sealing the new bishop's ordination certificate, along with an extra one for the archives. Then we had some unplanned and unstructured plenary conversation with the Presiding Bishop until it was time to get vested and line up for the procession. These occasions are always terribly important in the life of a diocese. Of course, it's still near enough to my own consecration that it sets off all sorts of associations and memories, all very positive. We got the deed done. I next proceeded south on U.S. 131 and eventually ended up in

Friday (St Vincent de Paul)

Up and at 'em in time to arrive for a 9am worship service (at Morningside United Methodist Church in Normal) marking the beginning of the Annual Assembly of the Illinois Conference of Churches. I was the preacher. It was a "raw and uncut" homiletical feed because I really didn't have any time to prepare, but the Holy Spirit, as always, was faithful. I ducked out of the meeting early because I needed to be in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a dinner engagement with other bishops attending tomorrow's consecration of Whayne Hougland as Bishop of Western Michigan. But I neglected to take into account either the time zone difference or the likelihood of a traffic jam on I-80 either side of the Illinois-Indiana line, so I didn't make it. However, I am safely ensconced in the Prince Conference Center of Calvin College. Tomorrow's liturgical event is on the Calvin campus.

Thursday (Lancelot Andrewes)

Glad to be back home, but it's just a pit stop. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Caught up with the Archdeacon on some pastoral/administrative concerns. Fleshed out the texts for three sermons: Proper 22 in Salem, Proper 23 in Alton, and Proper 25 in Bloomington.  Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Working from previously-confected skeletal notes, began drafting my synod address. Probably a couple of hours of work yet left on that task. Departed at 4 to read Evening Prayer in the cathedral, then go home and pack for five nights away and drive to Bloomington for a 6:30 dinner with other "judicatory leaders" (what an infelicitous expression) in advance to tomorrow's Annual Assembly of the Illinois Conference of Churches.

Tuesday (Our Lady of Walsingham)

And we're outta here: the  sixth and final day  of the fall 2013 meeting of the House of Bishops.


And it was evening, and it was morning, Day 5 of the 2103 fall meeting of the House of Bishops.

The Lord's Day (Proper 20)

Mostly a Sabbath--Day 4 of the fall 2013 meeting of the House of Bishops.

Sermon for Proper 20

St Joseph of Arimathea, Hendersonville, TN  --  Luke 16:1-13 If you were to inquire of anyone who has lived with me or worked with me closely, you will probably learn that I am—to an extraordinary degree perhaps—a creature of habit.  I am most comfortable when the incidental details of my life are routine and predictable. The things I eat for breakfast are on about a four day rotation. I like the various icons and alerts on my electronic devices set up in a certain way, and I get out of bed at precisely the same time every workday morning. I realize, of course, that I am not the only one who has likes and dislikes, quirks and pet peeves. We all do, to one extent or another. Most of the time, we look at these as little things. That’s why we don’t want anybody to mess with them; we don’t want to have to be thinking about them. I want a car that starts every time I turn the key, with vents that blow cold in the summer and warm in the winter, and otherwise keeps quiet and doesn't

St Matthew's Day

Day 3 of the Fall 2013 meeting of the House of Bishops. R ead all about it here .

Friday (John Coleridge Patteson & His Companions)

See here  for an account of Day Two of the House of Bishops' meeting.

Thursday (St Theodore of Tarsus)

Day One of the fall meeting of the House of Bishops is now history.  Read all about it here  (among other places). Now I lay me down to sleep.

Wednesday (Edward Bouverie Pusey)

After a treadmill workout, spent the morning packing and otherwise preparing for some time away. We got underway right at 2pm and arrived at the Airport Marriott in Nashville around 8:30. Checked in, got settled, grabbed a bite (Brenda and I split a shrimp and grits appetizer ... mmmmm), saw some people. The opening session of the House of Bishops begins at 9 tomorrow morning.

Tuesday (Hildegard of Bingen)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Visited with the Archdeacon and the Provost--mostly debrief on last Saturday's Celebration of a New Ministry. Discussed some travel arrangements with the Administrator. Prayerfully took a first look at the readings for the the Mass at which I am the preacher on Thursday, October 24, in the Chapel of St Mary the Virgin, Nashotah House. Worked on getting several documents into final form for submission to the Association of Theological Schools Board of Commissioners on behalf of Nashotah House. Lunch at home--leftovers. Resumed work on the ATS documents. Took care of some loose ends relating to the celebration of the Eucharist at the annual diocesan synod next month. Planned and scheduled individual actions for the preparation of sermons for the period beginning Advent Sunday and concluding on the Last Sunday after the Epiphany. Brief devotions in the cathedral; Evening Prayer in the car on the way home (it was already 6ish). After dinner:

The Lord's Day (XVII Pentecost)

Presided, preached, and confirmed at St Andrew's, Carbondale. Attended the pre-synod meeting of the Hale Deanery. After a dinner stop in Litchfield, we got home a little past 7pm.

Sermon for Proper 19

St Andrew's, Carbondale -- Luke 15:1-10; Exodus 32:1, 7-14 ; I Timothy 1:12-17 As the economy tanked over the years following the crash of 2008, a lot of good people have had to make some awfully difficult business decisions. Nothing personal, you know, but we have to lay a bunch of you off, or lay all of you off, or close the plant, or move the plant to another state or another country where the labor is cheaper. Sorry about that, but there’s nothing we can do. You understand, don’t you? It’s just a business decision. Various versions of this story have played themselves out all over the country, including several areas of Illinois, and certainly affecting Carbondale with the university hiring freeze. The phrase “business decision” may or may not be invoked, but the underlying assumption is the same—the assumption that the financial best interest of a corporation—otherwise known as the bottom line—must take precedence over the welfare of employees, customers, or whomever.

Holy Cross Day

Morning Prayer in my recliner. Customary Saturday morning exercise, with the walking component accomplished on the treadmill, as I'm not yet acclimated to a brisk 48 degrees outdoors. At the cathedral-office complex in time for an 11am Celebration of a New Ministry, as we inducted Fr Keith Roderick as Provost of St Paul's Cathedral. Grateful for about an hour of rest at home before packing and hitting the road at 3 for Carbondale, where we enjoyed a delightful dinner with vestry and spouses, hosted by the inimitable Trish Guyon. Bedding down now in Carbondale, looking forward to our visit with St Andrew's tomorrow.

Sermon for Holy Cross Day (Institution of Fr Keith Roderick as Provost of St Paul's Cathedral)

St Paul's Cathedral, Springfield -- Galatians 6:14-18 , John 12:31-36a  “Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” I find myself grateful for the peculiar circumstances under which we are celebrating this feast day of the Holy Cross. There’s something about celebrating a new shared ministry between a particular priest and a particular congregation in a particular diocese, all under the sign of the cross of Christ, that is quite compelling. Of course, we already get the chance to focus attention on the cross of Christ during Holy Week, but it’s different then. On Palm Sunday and Good Friday, when we read the narrative of our Lord’s passion and death, and on Maundy Thursday, when we’re with him in the Garden of Gethsemane anticipating that suffering, we are very much in the moment. The cross is so close to us that it dominates our field of view; we can see little else. Moreover, u

Friday (St Cyprian)

Morning Prayer in the car  en route  to a 9am meeting in Decatur. St John's is hosting the 136th synod of the diocese, so I got together with the rector and the music director (and the deacon in the room to keep us honest) to plan the details of the synod Eucharist on October 11. Back in the office around 10:30. Played with hot wax, preparing the Letter of Institution for the celebration tomorrow of the new shared ministry between St Paul's Cathedral and Fr Keith Roderick. After processing a few emails, I got to work on a rough draft of the sermon I expect to deliver in the cathedral of the see city of Tabora (Tanzania) when I lead a delegation from Springfield to our companion diocese in November.  Lunch at a downtown Mexican-ish joint with Fr Gene Tucker, for the purpose of taking counsel together over the future of two Eucharistic Communities in the Eastern Deanery that are currently under his oversight. Back to work on the Tabora sermon. Took a phone call from Canon M

Thursday (John Henry Hobart)

Customary Thursday morning exercise routine; in the office around 9:20. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Attended to some Living Church Foundation business left over from yesterday's phone call. Produced a working script for this Sunday's homily at St Andrew's, Carbondale. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Dental hygiene appointment (my favorite thing!). Finished writing, refined, and printed a working text of my homily for Saturday's institution of Fr Roderick as Provost of St Paul's Cathedral. Tied up a few loose ends in the ongoing project of preparing for Nashotah House's evaluation by the ATS. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


In the office nearly a half hour earlier than usual, but found it difficult to get focused and get traction. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. My day for the noon Mass, so I made sure all was ready: missal marked, readings found, Prayers of the People prepared, homily mentally plotted. Refined and printed my sermon for this Sunday, at St Andrew's, Carbondale. Attended to some items of administrivia. Laid out the broad strokes of a sermon for Proper 25--October 27 at St Matthew's, Bloomington. Presided and preached at the regular 12:15 cathedral chapel liturgy, celebrating the votive Mass, "For the Nation." Went to lunch at Clay's Popeye's BBQ on South Grand Avenue East, with the Provost and the Archdeacon. A little bit more administrivia. Substantive phone conversation with Fr Thomas Fraser, president of the Living Church Foundation board, in our capacity as two of the three members of the nominating committee. Consulted with the Administrator over s


Three scheduled obligations today:  A meeting with Fr Brien Koehler, a priest of the diocese and a colleague on the Nashotah House board, to talk through some of the issues around the accreditation review process. A "webinar" offered by the Association of Theological Schools on issues related to the same subject of my meeting with Fr Koehler. A conference call between some of the Communion Partner bishops who visited Canterbury last month and the three CP rectors who will soon be making the same trip. Before, between, and after those items, I managed to clear out my email inbox. That was it. Read both morning and afternoon offices in the cathedral.

The Lord's Day (XVI Pentecost)

Enjoyed a thoroughly energizing visit with the people of St George's, Belleville--met with candidates for baptism and confirmation yesterday afternoon, dinner with vestry and spouses last night, confirmations at both services this morning (four early, one late), blessed the newly-renovated Godly Play room, stimulating adult forum interaction, and an adult baptism at the main liturgy (nothing more fun than that). Then ... relaxing lunch with Fr Dale and Deacon Jody Coleman. St George's is a hoppin' place. May their tribe increase.

Sermon for Proper 18

St George's, Belleville -- Luke 14:25-33 , Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Philemon 1-20 They say a preacher’s job is to both comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. Brenda occasionally tells me I do a little too much afflicting and not quite enough comforting. I don’t know; she may be right. For the last several weeks, at least,  the appointed scripture readings have tended to be challenging, and lend themselves to calls for decisive action and sacrificial behavior. The problem is compounded by the fact that a preacher never knows exactly who’s going to show up on any given Sunday morning,  and what baggage they’ll be bringing with them—especially a preacher like this one who’s in front of a different congregation every week. In my experience, from time to time,  someone walks through the doors of the church who is a virtual blank slate in terms of Christian faith or practice. When this happens, chances are the person is in some sort of internal crisis, or is at least serio


After a morning of exercise and household puttering, Brenda and I left the house at 2pm, heading south toward Belleville. After a little construction detour, we arrived at St George's just a few minutes late for a 4pm meeting with six candidates for confirmation/-re-affirmation tomorrow, and one adult catechumen whom it will be my privilege to initiate into the Body of Christ through the sacrament of the font. Next it was dinner with the vestry at the home of Fr Dale and Deacon Jody Coleman. Wonderful time. Looking forward to a great day tomorrow.


 Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Two-hour conference call with a working group of the Nashotah House board of trustees. We are a bit "under the gun" as regards some work that needs to be accomplished in order to retain our accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools. It is challenging, but we are making excellent progress. While these duties do indeed consume a noticeable portion of my time, when it all shakes out, I believe there is a net benefit to the diocese that I attempt to serve. It's not always quantifiable, but it's there. The hour between the conference call and lunch was devoted to a series of consequent "house cleaning" tasks--emails, phone calls ... and just trying to recover some of the energy expended in the conversation. Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. (Yep, Chicken McNuggets with hot mustard sauce. Judge me if you must.) Read, digested, and responded to a document related to an individual in the ordination process.

Thursday (Ss Boris & Gleb)

Customary Thursday morning exercise at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared (readings, Prayers of the People, think through a homily) for the 12:15pm Eucharist at the cathedral, which I was scheduled to celebrate. Worked on my address to the annual Synod--broad strokes laid out and a few of the macro-details filled in. Attended briefly to some Nashotah House business. Began close exegetical study of the readings on which I have been asked to preach in the cathedral in Tabora (Tanzania) when I am there in November. Presided and preached the regular 12:15 liturgy in the cathedral chapel, celebrating Ss. Boris & Gleb. Lunch at home (leftovers). Continued working on my Tabora sermon. Back to Nashotah business. I'm spearheading a task group charged with proposing some fairly radical and far-reaching changes in the governing structure of the seminary, and there's a major conference call tomorrow. The day was interspersed with email and Facebook exchanges reg


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Consulted with the Administrator and the Archdeacon over an emerging situation. Attended to some clergy pastoral care and some details of the clergy deployment process. Met with Jason and Lisa Cerezo (of Emmanuel, Champaign), our new  Current  editors and website overseers. Lively discussion about communication strategy for the diocese. I was energized. Lunch at home--leftover brisket from Monday. Phone call with the Dean of Nashotah House, nailing down some details of our conversation yesterday. Scheduled telephone appointment with a potential candidate for one of our clergy vacancies. Worked on sermon development for Proper 19 (St Andrew's, Carbondale) and Proper 20 (a guest appearance at St Joseph of Arimathea parish in Hendersonville, TN on the weekend of the House of Bishops meeting in Nashville). Laid out the broad strokes of a sermon for the installation of Fr Keith Roderick as Provost of St Paul's Cathedral, on the 14th of this


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Consulted with the Archdeacon and Administrator over some administrative details. Took a phone call from the Dean of Nashotah House and a couple of his staff members, dealing with a presently emergent but quite passing concern. Refined and printed a working script for this Sunday's homily, to be given at St George's, Belleville. Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Visited a travel agency to see if I could get some help with making arrangements for three from the diocese (including YFNB) to visit our companion Diocese of Tabora (Tanzania) in November. They were not able to help much, and I left disappointed. Continued to work on travel arrangements, from the comfort of my own office and computer. Made some incremental progress. Met for an hour and a half with the Archdeacon and Fr Philip Boeve, priest-in-charge of St Barnabas, Havana, over some emerging concerns in that parish. Continued to work on travel arrangements until I was astonished to

Sermon for Proper 17

St Christopher's, Rantoul- - Luke 14:1, 7-14 Sometime during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, I had a career as a Boy Scout.  It lasted all of about one month. The brevity of my own time in scouting, however, is no reflection of my opinion of the organization.  I have particular respect for Boy Scouts who make it to the rank of Eagle. Having served on an Eagle Scout board of review, I am very impressed with the strength of the requirements, and the strength of character needed in any young man who would attempt to meet them.  It’s a demanding process that many begin and few finish.  It’s not easy, but it is doable.  It can’t be done absent-mindedly or half-heartedly, but it can be done. The required steps are clearly laid out in the Boy Scout manual. Boys who attain the rank of Eagle Scout do so as a direct result of their own initiative and dedication.  Many times, Christians think and act as though our standing before God, the process by which we achieve a right relatio