Showing posts from October, 2013

Thursday (Eve of All Hallows)

Quality time on the treadmill first thing in the morning, per my Thursday custom. At the local urgent care clinic right when they open at 9:00 to obtain prescriptions for an antimalarial and a strong antibiotic--the former to take prophylactically and the latter to have on hand while in Tanzania. It was nearly 10:00 before I got out of there. Prepared the readings and mentally hatched a homily for the 12:15 cathedral Mass, which it was my turn to celebrate. Spoke by phone with Fr Swan in Decatur as he wore his Chair-of-Commission on Ministry hat. Began processing my email inbox, which was inordinately time-consuming because it prompted me to do such things as draft a fundraising appeal letter for Nashotah House and answer inquiries on a range of sensitive issues. Presided and preached at the regular midday liturgy in the cathedral chapel. Lunch from Micky D's (McRib is back!), eaten at home. Re-engaged the inbox. Journeyed to Illinois National Bank and obtained the cash th


More email processing and task organizing at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Took a phone call from my colleague and old friend Bishop Ed Little. We both served together as rectors in the Diocese of San Joaquin in the latter half of the 1990s. Yesterday the bishop under whom we served, John-David Schofield, died suddenly, but peacefully, at his home in Fresno. He touched both our lives in significant ways. Connected by phone with Fr John Henry in Carlinville, having just learned of this morning's passing of Fr Wayne Shippley. My trip to Tanzania will prevent me from taking part in the funeral next week, but it will be in the capable hands of Fr John. Returned a call from the rector of the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota, FL, where I am taking part in an ordination in December. Just getting some of the details nailed down. Sorted through the detritus--both physical and electronic--of last week's Nashotah House board of trustees meeting and plotted further actions

Tuesday (James Hannington & Companions)

Task planning and email processing at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Discussed some administrative matters with the Archdeacon. Visited by phone with one of our clergy who has been facing some serious health issues. Met with the rector (and eventually his wife) of a parish in another diocese for two hours in my office. We are talking about my becoming their DEPO (Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight) bishop. DEPO is available when a parish is alienated from their proper bishop for theological reasons. Lunch at home. Fleshed out and refined the fifth of my five meditations for the priests' retreat in the Diocese of Albany next month. Fleshed out and refined my homily to be delivered in St Stephen's Cathedra, Tabora, Tanzania on November 10. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

The Lord's Day (XXIII Pentecost)

Up at a very dark hour so we could be on the road by 6am so as to arrive in Bloomington in time for the 7:30am Eucharist. Presided and preached, chilled out a bit between services, then presided, preached, and confirmed (three adults and one older teen) at the 10am celebration. Lunch at a nearby Chinese eatery with Fr Dave and Amy Halt, along with the churchwardens of St Matthew's. HomE around 3pm.

Sermon for Proper 25

St Matthew's, Bloomington -- Luke 18:9-14 ; Jeremiah 4:1-10, 19-22 John Donne was a distinguished priest of the Church of England in the seventeenth century. He finished his career as the dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. But John Donne is probably best known as one of the greatest poets ever to write in the English language. There is scarcely a high school literature student who has not run across the poem that talks about a church bell tolling to call the townspeople to a funeral, and contains the lines, “No man is an island, entire of itself ... ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”  No one is an island, independent and self-sufficient. Even a professed hermit depends on other people to keep him supplied with food and water. We all live in a complex web of relationships. Some of our relationships are more important to us than others. These relationships that are important to us are the source of a great deal of anxiety over a lifetime. Will my parent


Up and to the diocesan office in time to sit in on a 10am meeting of the Commission on Ministry. They acted on three applications for ordination (two for the priesthood, one for the transitional diaconate), and interviewed two nominees for postulancy. We were there nearly four hours, but it was important and productive work. After lunch at home, I finished unloading and unpacking from my days away, took a brief nap and a long walk, and processed a few emails. Rather in need of some down time, which will begin tomorrow afternoon when I return from my visit to St Matthew's, Bloomington.


Home safely from what may be the most productive, irenic, and engaged meeting of the Nashotah House Board of Trustees in living memory. Excellent academic convocation on Friday, during which it was my joy to award honorary doctorates to four accomplished church musicians.


Still with the Nashotah House trustees today. We unexpectedly entered into some choppy waters for a bit, but even that very emotional-laden conversation was carried on with civility, grace, and mutual forbearance. We were immensely grateful to complete our work a little past 3:00pm. It was by far the most substantive and productive board meeting since I have been a trustee. Every member made a contribution; it was truly a team effort. I'm proud to be part of this work. There is a regular solemn Eucharist on Thursdays at 5pm at the House, and it was my privilege to be the preacher for tonight's celebration. After an hors d'oeuvres reception in the refectory, trustees, faculty, and tomorrow's honorary degree recipients adjourned for the deanery for some more libations and dessert. My introverted self is ready for bed.

Sermon at Nashotah House Solemn Eucharist (Weekday Feria)

Chapel of St Mary the Virgin, Nashotah House- -Psalm 1, Luke 12:49-53, Romans 6:19-23 For those of you who are conversant with the Myers-Briggs typology, I am an INTJ—and on the P to J scale, I’m a quite  advanced  J, not off the chart, but not ambiguous either … which means that, as a Christian pastor and doer-of-theology (I would certainly never call myself a theologian, particularly in this setting) … as a pastor and “theologizer,” I’m very fond of the sheer notion of truth. When Pope John Paul II published his encyclical in 1993,  Veritatis Splendor —“the splendor of truth”, he had me just with the title, although I certainly do “resonate” with much of the content as well.  As Jesus said to the disciples of John the Baptist, “the truth will set you free.”  Of course, Christians believe and bear witness that Jesus himself embodies Truth“; he is, in effect, “truth incarnate.” Truth is life-giving, because it’s … well … true; it reflects reality, things as they actually are.

St James of Jerusalem

Pedal-to-the-metal all day and evening again with the Nashotah House trustees. It's exhausting, but we are making watershed progress on issues that have dogged the institution for decades. The ATS (the Association of Theological Schools, our accrediting agency) is providing "severe mercy," but it is all to our good. This is work to which I am passionately committed for its own sake, but Nashotah House continues to bless the Diocese of Springfield in tangible ways, training many of our clergy and renewing the ministries of others via graduate-level and continuing education programs.


Began the day with an hour on the treadmill in the fitness center at the Hampton Inn, Elkhorn, WI. From there it was only about a 45-minute drive to Nashotah House. The Executive Committee convened at 11:30. Then, after lunch, the full board came together at 2:00, and met until 4:15, when we adjourned for Evensong. I would say it was a very positive and productive session, devoted mostly to preparing for our interaction with the ATS visiting team. We also discussed our evolving mission statement, which is nearly completely refined. After Evensong I joined four of my board colleagues, plus one spouse, for dinner at Revere's in Delafield. The board then came back together at 7:30 for an hour of give-and-take with the two-person ATS visiting team. When that was finished, I met for another hour with the two of them privately. Long day.


Until 2:30 this afternoon, I was doing typical day off things--sleeping in, reading, walking. Then I had to pack and otherwise prepare for a 3:30 departure for points north--tonight in Elkhorn, WI ahead of tomorrow's first session of the Nashotah House Board of Trustees (which, for my sins, I chair), culminating with an academic convocation  and the awarding of honorary degrees on Friday.

The Lord's Day (XXII Pentecost)

St Stephen's, Harrisburg has adapted a building that began life as one of the hundreds of Carnegie Libraries that dot the U.S. landscape. This morning there was a spirited congregation of around 30--richly multi-generational, and I didn't lower that average age by being there. We received two adults and confirmed one. Very encouraging visit.

Sermon for Proper 24

St Stephen's, Harrisburg -- II Timothy 3:14-4:5 Let’s talk about the Bible. You know, that’s something we don’t actually do it very much. We read it and study it, and, honestly, those are the best things we can do with it. But, once in a while, it’s a good thing to step back and ask ourselves some fundamental questions about our relationship with that collection of sacred writings that we call Holy Scripture. In the second reading for the past several Sundays, we’ve been working our way through St Paul’s two letters to his younger protégé Timothy, a man who held the position that we would now call Bishop in the Christian community of the great ancient city of Ephesus. Paul writes to Timothy, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” All scripture is inspired by God. Some find this sort of affirmation kind of scary,

Saturday (Henry Martyn)

I indulged myself in a leisurely morning. Breakfast, newspaper, fiddling with email and Facebook. Morning Prayer in my easy chair. Then a long and brisk walk, mostly around the beautiful Washington Park. Then it was time to pack for an overnight, enjoy a bowl of soup, and head out the door with Brenda at 12:30 for points south. We arrived at the community center in Carterville just ahead of the 4:30 start time for a celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary of Fr Tim and Carol Goodman. It was my honor to preside at the renewal of their vows, and then there was a nice party, with lots of stories, good food, and dancing. What a treat to be included in such things.

St Luke's Day

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Discussed some administrative issues with the Archdeacon. Processed my email inbox. Attended to some clergy deployment issues. Started in on a 700-word writing assignment for the Lent 2014 issue of the  Missioner , Nashotah House's quarterly magazine, in which I have a regular column. Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Resumed and completed the writing project. Made some personal preparations for next week's meeting of the Nashotah House board of trustees, which I chair. Plotted some tasks related to content on the diocesan website. Friday prayer: Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, in the cathedral (where, I was pleased to discover for the first time, there are tained-glass windows depicting each of the five, along the south side of the nave). Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Thursday (St Ignatius of Antioch)

The day began with a brisk 30 minutes on the treadmill before breakfast. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. More debrief with the Archdeacon and the Administrator on the recent synod, discussing some possible tweaks for next year. Reviewed, scanned, and emailed some financial forms to the representative of the other co-trustee for the Putnam Family Foundation, i.e. a Bank of America trust officer.  Prepared the paperwork for a wire transfer from my Discretionary Fund to a priest/seminary professor in Pakistan whom I met in Thailand two summers ago, and whose ministry operates on a shoestring under extremely adverse conditions. Walked the paperwork up the downtown branch of Illinois National Bank, and finally got the job done, but had to wait rather longer than I was happy about because they were short-staffed today. Lunch at home--more chicken soup. Refined and printed a working script of my homily for this Sunday at St Stephen's, Harrisburg. Processed the paperwork by which

Wednesday (Oxford Martyrs)

Began processing email at home over breakfast. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Continued to process email, now in the office. This consumed most of the morning, and included responding to a handful of Discretionary Fund requests that have been piling up of late. Celebrated and preached the regular 12:15 Mass in the cathedral chapel, keeping the lesser feast of the "Oxford Martyrs" (Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley). Lunch at home (Brenda's amazing spicy chicken soup). Spoke by phone with the rector of a parish in another diocese that is interested in establishing a DEPO relationship with me. Attended to some clergy deployment-related tasks. Clergy deployment is like trying to throw a football not through one swinging tire, but two. Attended to a pastoral/administrative matter that I wasn't necessarily sure how to handle, but in the end, it came to me. Refined and printed working notes for my homily on Proper 25 (October 27 at St Matthew's, B

Tuesday (St Teresa of Avila)

Task prioritization (from a list of 66 for the week; they won't all get done) at home; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Debriefed with the Archdeacon and Administrator over the recent Synod, making some mental notes and tossing around some tentative plans for the next one. After consultation with the Archdeacon, charted a response to the national church's request for some idea regarding our 2014 financial contribution. Began to work on writing a post for the  Covenant  blog, something I had been scheduled to do yesterday, but it got by me. Joined a scheduled conference call in my capacity as co-trustee for the Putnam Family Foundation, which benefits two of our churches in the diocese. Lunch from Smash Burger, eaten at home. Finished the blog post I began before lunch. It's about a rather c ontroversial hamburger . Conceived, hatched, and substantially developed a homily I will deliver next week at the Thursday evening Solemn Mass at Nashotah House. Evening Prayer

The Lord's Day (XXI Pentecost)

Alton Parish is one parish with two altars (St Paul's Church in "lower Alton" and Trinity Chapel in "upper Alton"--not to be confused, I learned today, with 'north Alton'). There are two quasi-distinct communities, worshiping at Trinity at 8:15 on Sundays and St Paul's at 10:30, sharing on priest, one vestry, and one set of finances. It seems to work, and is potentially a model for other areas of the diocese. So I reported to Trinity in time to preside and preach at the early celebration, and then spend some time with folks in the parish hall afterward. Then it was down the hill to St Paul's, where we confirmed seven adults at the later liturgy. Fr David Boase, their rector, has done a splendid job of pastoral care with both congregations, also managing to weave himself into the larger social fabric of the Alton-Godfrey area in a quite exemplary way. I got home around 3pm, in time for a nap, some relaxation in front of the TV, and a welcome

Sermon for Proper 23

Alton Parish -- Luke 17:11-19 Those of you who have been around during the cycle of liturgies that lead up to, and include, Easter each year know that these are very rich and spiritually rewarding experiences. They are the very essence of what makes us who we are as the people of God, the people of the New Covenant between God and humankind. They are also very intense and quite demanding, particularly on those who plan and lead and assist with them. Of course, planning and preparation is less of a burden for me than it was when I was a parish priest, but I still involve myself at the cathedral in everything that leads up to Holy Week and Easter. It’s a lot of work—work that can sometimes begin to feel like a chore, something to be endured until it’s over with. So every year, as the process of preparation picks up, I have found that it helps keep me focused, it helps keep my enthusiasm fresh, if I think of one person—there’s usually more than one, but one person, at least—who I kno


We reconvened the synod at 8:30am and were finished two hours later. No election required more than one written ballot, there was zero conversation about the budget, and no resolution were offered save the customary resolutions of courtesy. There was a positive spirit throughout. We are on our way into discipleship and mission. So I mean it when I say I have the best job in the world in the best diocese in the world. Home in time for lunch, a nap, a walk, and a little email processing before packing up once again and heading down to Alton, where I enjoyed a very gracious dinner with vestry and spouses (and, of course, their fine rector, Fr David Boase).

Friday (St Philip the Deacon)

Household chores and a couple of errands in the morning. Then it was time to pack for an overnight and head out to Decatur around 11:15 for the 1:30 start of the 136th Annual Synod of the Diocese of Springfield. We conducted some business, held some election, and I  delivered an address . At 4:15, we recessed and headed down to St John's Church for the Mass, followed by a lovely banquet at the Decatur Conference Center.

Sermon for St Philip the Deacon (2013 Diocesan Synod)

Synod Mass at St John's, Decatur -- Acts 8:26-40 , Matthew 28:18-20, Isaiah 53:7-11 There are two Philip’s in the New Testament: Philip the Apostle, who shares a feast day with James the Less on the 1 st  of May, and Philip the Deacon, whose feast day we celebrate at this liturgy. Philip was one of the original seven deacons, who were chosen to pursue administrative work and liberate the apostles for the ministry of teaching and evangelism. So it’s a little ironic that what Philip the Deacon is mostly known for has nothing to do with waiting on tables on serving the poor, but is a marvelous act of evangelism! It’s also providential that Philip the Deacon’s feast day falls during a synod—indeed, during a season in the life of the whole church—when evangelization is a frequent topic of conversation, and an ever-present concern. Back in the meeting hall, we’ve just talked about a vision for discerning those pockets of the population around us whom the Holy Spirit may be prepa


Once again, Morning Prayer in All Saints Cathedral, Milwaukee at 9am, this time with the whole membership of the Living Church Foundation, in addition to the board. Productive Foundation annual meeting in the morning, electing two new members to the Foundation and two new members of the Board of Directors. We also received the resignation of long-time board president, Fr Thomas Fraser, after 12 years in that job, and 24 on the Foundation. We celebrated a Requiem Mass for departed benefactors of the Foundation, at which it was my privilege to serve as Presider. Lunch in the cathedral library. Our afternoon session featured to short talks on issues of leadership--one by YFNB, and one by Fr Michael Cover, a priest of the Diocese of Dallas currently living in Northern Indiana. This was followed by a very rich a fruitful free-ranging discussion. The board reconvened at 3:30, upon the conclusion of the Foundation meeting, and elected officers, with Bishop Bruce MacPherson (recently ret

Wednesday (Robert Grosseteste)

Morning Prayer at 9am in All Saints Cathedral (Milwaukee) with the Living Church Foundation board. The board meeting resumed from yesterday and continued until around 3pm, with a break for lunch eaten in our meeting room. It was productive and positive, but TLC faces some daunting short-term challenges. When we get past this bump, by the grace of God, this ministry is poised to play a major role in the life of the whole Anglican world. After accompanying Executive Director Christopher Wells as he purchased supplies for tonight's Foundation dinner, we both paid a brief visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum, which is itself a work of art, set on the scenic shore of Lake Michigan.  The larger circle of Foundation members (as distinct from the smaller circle of board members) joined us for dinner, catered by some of the TLC staff and friends in the library of All Saints Cathedral. 


Woke up in the Chicago condo where my son and daughter-in-law live, having had a good visit with them the night before. It was easy to make it to downtown Milwaukee in time for a lunchtime beginning to the fall meeting the Living Church Foundation board. We had a productive afternoon and a lovely dinner together. Work continues tomorrow and Thursday.

The Lord's Day (XX Pentecost)

Out the door at 7:15 and back home at 3:30. In the meantime, we celebrated the Lord's Day with the people of St Thomas' Church, enjoyed a sumptuous roast beef meal, and engaged in a lively discussion about the future of that Eucharistic Community.

Sermon for Proper 22

St Thomas, Salem -- Habakkuk 1:1-13, 2:1-4; Luke 17:5-10 ; Psalm 37:3-10 OK, I’ve got to level with you right at the beginning here. This gospel passage is not one of my favorites. I’m talking about the little mini-parable Jesus tells about the landowner who has a field hand working beside him all day, working just as hard, doing the same stuff, and when quitting time rolls around, the boss puts his feet up and makes the field hand—now turned into a domestic servant—he makes his servant fix dinner and serve it to him, and only then can the servant sit down and have some for himself. The insufferable arrogance of that landowner! The obvious injustice of it all! And we’re supposed to see this guy as a symbol for God, and identify ourselves with the hard-working but exploited servant? Who would want to serve that kind of God, anyway? He certainly isn’t the kind of God that makes you proud to call Him your own! I suspect that many of you have a reaction similar to my own, and in t


Usual Saturday morning exercise and long walk. Spent most of the rest of the day producing a first rough draft of my homily for the Synod Eucharist, commemorating the lesser feast of St Philip the Deacon.

Friday (St Francis)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Spent the morning refining and printing my synod address, creating and editing the PowerPoint slides to go with it, and preparing an online version that will go live on the diocesan website about an hour after it's delivered. Lunch at home ... leftover brisket ... yum. Began drafting my homily for the synod Mass, celebrating the lesser feast of St Philip the Deacon. Took a call from the President of the Living Church Foundation board, in advance of next week's meeting in Milwaukee. Friday prayer--lectio divina on II Kings 19 (tomorrow's daily office lection). S ee reflections here . Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


Woke up feeling a great deal better than I had 24 and 48 and 72 hours earlier. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Took care of a long-delayed response to an administrative/pastoral issue. Refined and printed a working script for this Sunday's homily at St Thomas', Salem. Took a call from the rector of Alton Parish regarding some of the details of my upcoming visit there. Took a call from a colleague bishop who has a parish that would like to engage me as a DEPO bishop. Began refining a working script of my homily for Proper 23, to be delivered in Alton (Trinity Chapel and St Paul's).  Served as a last-minute pinch-hitter celebrant and preacher for the 12:15 Mass in the cathedral chapel. We anticipated the lesser feast of St Francis of Assisi. Fr Roderick was delayed returning from a funeral in another part of town. Takeout lunch from Dynasty, the Chinese place next to Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Finish the work on the Proper 23 sermon I had begun before lunch. Met