Showing posts from July, 2014

Thursday (St Ignatius Loyola)

Customary Thursday morning weight and treadmill workout. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Replied substantively to three emails of a pastoral/administrative nature (a parish in transition, a canonically-mandated appointment I need to make, a personnel matter). Took a walk around the block. Turned my attention to my sermon for the feast of St Mary the Virgin, August 15,, for which I will be guest preacher (while on vacation) at St Timothy's in Salem, OR. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Had a substantive video interview with a priest from outside the diocese regarding an opening that may (or may not) emerge. Took another walk around the block. Returned to the aforementioned sermon, succeeding in turning outlined notes into a rough draft text. Addressed, via email, a matter currently before the committee of the Living Church Foundation board that I chair. Composed an Ad Clerum (letter to the clergy) that will go out tomorrow, regarding a Clergy Day scheduled in Novem

Wednesday (William Wilberforce)

Usual AM routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared for celebrating and preaching at the midday Mass. Put some substantial meet on the bones of a homily for Proper 15, which I will deliver (while on vacation!) at St Timothy's, Salem, OR, the parish from which I went to seminary 28 years ago. Began the process of clearing and culling a prodigious amount of hard copy materials that have been accumulating on my desk. Met for the better part of an hour with Deb Tucker in her capacity as head of the diocesan Cursillo secretariat. I think we got some important stuff accomplished. I am counting on Cursillo remaining one of the key pillars of our spiritual revitalization. Celebrated and preached at the midday Mass, commemorating the lesser feast of William Wilberforce. Lunch at home; leftovers. From home, participated in a conference call with other members of a committee of board members from the Living Church Foundation. We are in the exploratory phase of a potential capi

Tuesday (Ss Mary & Martha)

Weekly task planning at home over tea and breakfast. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Nailed down (via email) the recruitment of a new historiographer for the diocese (a canonical position). Spoke by phone with a priest of the diocese regarding a financial/administrative matter in his parish. Arranged (via email) a meetup on Saturday with Fr James Muriuki, the new priest-in-charge at Redeemer, Cairo. Attended a two-hour meeting of the Finance Committee of the diocese--an annual event in which we midwife the draft budget for the next calendar year, and push it along to the next stage in its development, which is next week's Diocesan Council meeting. Lunch at home, leftovers. Processed a flurry of emails that had arrived while I was away at lunch, and one that was already on my list (pertaining to this weekend's visit to St James', Marion). Last-minute revisions, formatting for delivery, and printing of this weekend's homily. Attended to a canonical request from

Sermon for Proper 12

St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel -- Matthew 13:31-33, 44-49a,  I Kings 3:5-12 I still remember the moment—I was not quite 25 years old—when I became sadly aware of what might be called the "road not taken"  syndrome.  To choose . . . is to exclude.  When I decide to do one thing, I necessarily decide to not do something else.  And life is a series of choices, of roads taken and roads not taken.  Most of the decisions we make on a daily basis are relatively inconsequential—like whether to wear gray socks or blue socks, or to drink orange juice or grapefruit juice for breakfast.  We normally don't sweat these decisions too much; we just make them.  The higher the stakes, though—that is, when there's a lot at risk if we make the wrong decision—the higher our anxiety.  Sometimes we are confronted with choices that we did not ask for.  They just come as part of life's routine, apparently by chance.  You're in the grocery store, and there's your favorite

Saturday (Ss Joachim & Anne)

Indulged in a slow start to the morning ... weights and treadmill ... routine financial chores ... read .... ran out for a printer cartridge ... wrestled with a recalcitrant wireless printer (oh, yes, victory was mine in the end) ... processed a few emails ... packed and hit the road after supper for Effingham, about 60% of the way to Mt Carmel, where my visitation tomorrow is to the Eucharistic Community of St John the Baptist.

St James

Up and away from the greater Nashotah House area by around 8am. KFC lunch in Bloomington. Pulled into the office parking lot right at 1. Brenda drove her own car (left there on Wednesday) home and I stayed. Processed some emails (as always). Took my sermon for Proper 13 (next weekend in Marion) from rough outline to rough draft. Prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary in the cathedral, with special intention for the Christians of Iraq, and all the baptized faithful who are in harm's way because of their witness to the Risen One. Responded via email in as pastorally sensitive a way as I could to two people in other parts of the world who are eager to serve as clergy in the Diocese of Springfield. I am honored they would think of us, but had to be clearly realistic about the hurdles that lie ahead of any such aspiration. Took care of some routine personal management chores related to the transition from one calendar month to the next. Evening Prayer for the feast day in my offic

Thursday (Thomas a Kempis)

On campus as Nashotah House. Morning Prayer ... breakfast .... time for processing emails and mentally preparing for being "interviewed" on camera as part of a fundraising and general PR video ... consulted with Deacon (soon to be Father) Noah Lawson, Director of Advancement, in his office ... spend an hour in the chapel in front of a video camera, first recording the aforementioned interview, then a piece directly to the Board of Trustees, to which they will al receive a private link very shortly ... lunch ... more email processing ... spoke by phone with Fr Brant Hazelett, rector of St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel, where I am visiting this Sunday' Brant is in the hospital with some cardiopulmonary issues and may or may not be out by the weekend ... scheduled conference with Fr Dave Halt, rector of St Matthew's, Bloomington, who is here this week for DMin coursework), who wears a number of different hats in the diocese ... Evening Prayer ... Solemn Eucharist for the l


Spent the morning in the office taking care of the variety of tasks, including sermon preparation, administrative details regarding Cursillo, and correspondence with ecumenical partners. Celebrated and preached the midday cathedral Mass. Then Brenda and I hit the road for the 300 mile drive to Nashotah House. Tonight we attended a dinner in the deanery which was meant to be sort of a soft kick off to a major fundraising effort. Tomorrow I will be doing some video recording in connection with that project. 

St Mary Magdalene

Weekly task planning at home. Small admin chore accomplished with the Treasurer. Devotions in the cathedral. Conferred with the Interim Provost regarding life at the cathedral. Morning Prayer in the office. Gave my consent to the retirement of the Bishop of Massachusetts. Exchanged emails with the Secretary of the Nashotah House board of trustees, and the chairman of the Dean Search Committee. Initiated via email discussion of two items that require Nashotah trustee approval. Spoke by phone with the chairman of the Commission on Ministry regarding some emerging business. Took a walk around the block. Exchanged emails with Fr Coleman and Deacon Jody regarding a date to come down and bless their new house. Spoke by phone with the Bishop of Eau Claire regarding s clergy deployment situation. Reviewed some last-minute changes I need to make to the script of a video presentation I will record at Nashotah House on Thursday. Attended the cathedral midday Mass for the feast of St

The Lord's Day (VI Pentecost)

Still enjoying the dregs of the "summer polar vortex" (or whatever it is)--a gorgeous comfortable morning in southeastern Illinois. The regular Sunday liturgy at St Mary's, Robinson is at 8am. We received an enthusiastic welcome from the 15 folks who gathered with us, including the infectiously vivacious pastor, Mother Ann Tofani. We enjoyed food for the soul in the church and food for the body downstairs in the parish hall afterward. We were homeward bound by 10, and, after a stop in Taylorville for a Chinese lunch, pulled into our driveway a little past 1:30. Got a good nap, watched some Cubs baseball, had leftovers for dinner, and took about a 90 minute stroll through the neighborhood and Washington Park. A blessed day.

Sermon for Proper 11

St Mary's, Robinson -- Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 , Romans 8:1-25, Psalm 86 If you’ve paid attention to the news over the last month or so, you’ve joined me in being horrified at the slowly escalating violence in Israel and Palestine. Making the situation particularly troubling is the fact that young people—teenage boys—were at the symbolic center of the tragedy, initiating the current round of violence in which so many lives have been lost. First, three Israeli youth were kidnapped and killed by Palestinians. Then, in an ill-considered and illegal act of pure revenge, an innocent Palestinian teenager was abducted and burned alive by Israelis. That a rational human being could plan and carry out such acts, thinking that it benefits a particular cause, stretches the capacity of our imaginations to comprehend. We are keenly aware of evil in the political order, and a voice deep in our hearts says, “This is wrong! It isn't supposed to be this way! If God is God, why doesn

Saturday (St Macrina)

Up and out of our hotel in Lafayette, IN around 8:30 (EDT), and pointed north and east toward Warsaw, our home from mid-2007 until early 2011. We were there to attend the funeral of a beloved former parishioner, Morrey Hester. It was a joy to reconnect briefly with the people of St Anne's, though we would have wished for different circumstances affording the opportunity. After spending a brief bit of touristy time in Winona Lake, we got back on the road for our long drive to Robinson, the site of tomorrow's visitation to St Mary's Church, We got in around 6 and enjoyed a relaxing dinner at a local BBQ place.


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Left a voicemail regarding a pastoral matter. Took care of two small but important administrative chores in consultation with Sue. Conceived, hatched, and grew a skeleton for a homily I will deliver while on vacation--at my "home parish" (from which I went to seminary in 1986) of St Timothy's, Salem, OR, where I will be guest preacher at their celebration of the feast of St Mary the Virgin on August 15. This stage of sermon preparation feels like giving birth (as much as I would know of such). It certainly is "labor." Took a slow walk around the block in the midst of it. Lunch from KFC, eaten at home.  Gave some final thought to, and plotted out planning/prep steps for two future clergy days--one in November and one in June. Wrote what I hope is a winsome email message to the leaders of a ministry here in Springfield that is very much unlike what Episcopalians are likely to be involved in, but very much like what I wish Ep


Regular Thursday weight and treadmill workout before breakfast. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Took care of two relatively small but important admin chores, one an HR issue, the other related to an upcoming ordination. Worked on my sermon for Proper 13 (first weekend in August, in Marion).  Met with Jason and Lisa Cerezo, members of Emmanuel in Champaign with whom we contract for website management and publication of our quarterly  Springfield Current . We discussed some potential for greater synergy between our communications platforms (website, Facebook, Current) and how some database and branding tweaks might be worked into the mix. Lunch at home (spiced deli chicken with Thai peanut sauce and grated Parmesan on sprouted rye, grilled). Back to work on the sermon. Created enough of a framework on which to hang a rough draft the next time I look at it. Attended to a pastoral/administrative issue pertaining to a former Roman Catholic priest who wants to have his orders receiv

Wednesday (Our Lady of Mt Carmel)

Devotions in the cathedral; MP in my office. Prepped for midday Mass. Left a voicemail with a member of the Nashotah board. Revised, refined, and printed my sermon for this Sunday (St Mary's, Robinson). Hopefully, it will still be in the back seat of my car when I reach for it. Still don't know what happened to last Sunday's. Wrote an email to one of our seminarians, addressing some pertinent questions he had previously inquired about. Got to work drafting a text for a video presentation I will be recording next week at Nashotah House. Celebrated and preached the midday cathedral Mass, marking the extra-canonical lesser feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. Lunch at home--leftovers. Continued working on the video text. Connected by phone with the person I had left the voicemail with earlier. Took an incoming phone call from a fellow Nashotah trustee. Conferred with the Archdeacon over a draft Letter of Agreement with a priest newly coming into the diocese. For the sa


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Initiated a discussion amongst the Nashotah House Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees regarding the current year's budget. Came back to this discussion in substantive ways several times throughout the day. With the help of the Administrator, chased down an annoying financial/administrative matter. Debriefed with the Archdeacon on sundry ongoing concerns. Responded to a couple of email regarding Nashotah business. Responded to a couple of emails regarding some parochial/administrative matters. Got to work on my Chairman of the Board article for the Advent issue of Nashotah's quarterly magazine,  The Missioner . (Yes, the deadlines are that far in advance,)  Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Continued working on the  Missioner  article, finishing around 4pm, but with several breaks to attend to the ongoing email conversation referenced above. Put some meat on the bones of a sermon outline for Proper 12 (27 July in Mt Carmel). Eveni

The Lord's Day (Proper 10)

For some years, the Church of the Redeemer in Cairo maintained a cooperative relationship with Immanuel Lutheran Church (ELCA), where in they alternated clergy leadership and buildings on Sundays, but during the warm weather months, worshiped exclusively at Redeemer, seeing as how it continues to have functional air-conditioning. Last year, Immanuel dissolved, and many of its members continued to worship at Redeemer. The four pictures with me below this morning reaffirmed their baptismal vows and received the laying-on of episcopal hands in the historic succession. There were 18 present in the acoustically very-rewarding and beautiful building. I am grateful for the long ministry there of Fr Bob Harmon, making the trip down, first on alternate weeks, then every Sunday, from Mt Vernon, and excited about the imminent arrival of Fr James Muriuki and his family to take up full-time ministry in that very beaten-down community for the first time in decades. After a post-liturgical repast in

Sermon for Proper 10

Redeemer, Cairo- - Matthew 13:1-9. 18-23 For me, yard work is a chore, a necessary evil. I very much dislike it. So I’m lucky that I’m married to someone who kind of enjoys it. As soon as the weather warms up, Brenda begins to devote herself to the flower beds and other areas of our hillside home in Springfield. The people who lived there before us were avid gardeners, so they left us something quite wonderful to work with, though a drought last summer and an unusually cold and icy winter have taken their toll. When we lived in California, I endured what felt like no end of complaining about the quality of the soil in our yard; it was mostly clay, very hard to work with and hard to make anything grow in. But I’ve heard loads of exuberant praise for much of the soil that Brenda is finding in the midwest. Soil quality isn’t the only factor influencing the success of a garden, but it’s certainly a major one. On our plate today is a very familiar parable about soil. Illinois is an


Up and out of our Carbondale hotel room in time for an omelette at Denny's, then to St Andrew's by around 10:15 to get ready for the institution of the Rev. Kathryn Jeffrey as rector of what the Brits might call the "combined benefice" of St Andrew's Church, Carbondale with St James' Chapel, Marion. Everything went splendidly, there was a fine turnout of both clergy and laity, and the ninth Bishop of Springfield, Donald Hulstrand, delivered himself of a superb and winsome homily for the occasion.  As tomorrow's visit is to Redeemer, Cairo, we hung around here in "little Egypt," switching hotels from Carbondale to Marion. Grabbed a nice Asian lunch, followed by a nap and a walk, then a movie ( Dawn of the Planet of the Apes --no comment) and a light repast at the iconic 17th Street Bar & Grill.

Friday (St Benedict)

Attended via email to a piece of Nashotah business while drinking my tea and eating my breakfast at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Made some personal preparations for the 10am meeting of the Standing Committee.  Responded to an email from a priest raising some pastoral and administrative concerns. Attended the meeting of the Standing Committee, wherein most of the two hours we spent together were dedicated to their serving as of Council of Advice. We covered a wide range of issues. Met for a few minutes with Gay Bryant, a vestry member of Alton Parish (and long involved in diocesan affairs) regarding some matters pertaining to the upcoming retirement of Fr David Boase. Lunch from the Chinese place next to TG, the name of which I can never remember, eaten at home. Packed for two nights on the road. Pointed the YFNBmobile south at 2:45, ahead of a 6:30pm dinner in the Carbondale area with the to-be-installed-tomorrow rector of St Andrew's, members of her family, memb


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Made some technical preparations for a scheduled video conversation in the afternoon. Took care of an urgent pastoral/administrative matter. Attended a meeting of clergy related to the cathedral, convened by the Interim Provost, Fr Tucker. Kept an appointment with an otolaryngologist, occasioned by the fluid that remains behind my eardrums after the mistake of getting on an airplane with a sinus infection. Lunch from Subway, eaten at home. Attended to some Nashotah House business. Spent an hour via video conference (using Google+) with the Director of Institutional Advancement for Nashotah House. Took a phone call from one of our rectors regarding a pastoral/administrative matter. Attended to some Mission Strategy business. Departed at 3:45 in a southerly direction, attending a banquet in Belleville as an invitee of Forward in Faith, North America, meeting, as per their annual custom, at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. Home aro


From a pool of 73 potential choices, I selected 18 items to try and accomplish today. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared the missal, the lectionary, and mentally crafted a homily for the midday Mass. Processed a handful of emails that were in the queue (having been converted into tasks). Spent some quality time with a homily draft for Proper 11 (20 July in Robinson). Substantive phone conversation with one of our rectors over a range of issues. Celebrated and preached the midday cathedral Mass. Lunch from LaBamba, eaten at home. Returned to that Proper 11 sermon prep work. Read and responded to the batch of Pentecost Ember Day letters (from people in the ordination process) that have been awaiting my attention. Tended to some synod preparation business. Administrivia re: mission strategy, communications, youth ministry. Composed an  Ad Clerum  (letter to the clergy) that will go out tomorrow. Evening Prayer in the cathedral. 15 out of the 18 tasks checked off.


Surveyed the 80 possibilities in this week's task queue and selected 12 for possible accomplishment today. Eventually crossed off eight, with four kicked down the road. Brief catch-up with the Archdeacon, after both of us have been absent from the office for a while. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Since so much of my ministry requires automobile travel, the dioceses purchases, owns, and maintains the YBNBmobile. The current iteration, a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe, has accumulated nearly 80,000 miles on the odometer, so the Treasurer informed me a few weeks ago that it's time to start looking. (He socks away a certain amount each year toward this purpose.) If I had the sort of staff that some of my colleagues in other (larger) dioceses have, I could say to one of my minions, "Please go buy a car for me." But, alas, I have no minions. So I've been doing my research and preliminary shopping and have pretty much decided on what I'd like. I shared the info with th

The Lord's Day (Proper 09)

First we packed--about 98% of the way. Then, after a bite of breakfast, we walked about a mile through downtown Hamilton, and slightly uphill, to Holy Trinity Cathedral for the 10am Eucharist. It's a beautiful place, but not air-conditioned, and it was a warm and very humid day following an early morning thunderstorm. I was glad to be in a loosely fitting short sleeve shirt. After Mass, we grabbed a quick brunch at a nearby pub with Bishop Charles and Louise Jenkins. Then, counting on the good graces of the hotel staff at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, since we were not past the noon checkout time, we hoofed it quickly back. But they were most gracious and said not to rush. So we didn't. But around 1pm we carried our luggage downstairs, settled up with the front desk, and repaired to the bar for some liquid refreshment. Then we boarded one of the ever-present taxis lined up in front of the hotel for a ride to the airport. As is the case with travel to Canada, passengers on U.S


The Pitts birthday gang (about 250) gathered in Hamilton's Holy Trinity Cathedral at 10 for an awards ceremony and a Mass. Citations for the six Pitts Family Foundation honorees (some pretty impressive people) were read, medals and checks presented, and short acceptance remarks given. Some significant money will be "paid forward" to some very worthwhile recipients and causes. Bishop Jenkins then presided and preached at the Eucharist. I was vested and read the gospel. Brenda and I were honored to be included in an elegant luncheon for the award recipients and other participants in the liturgy. I enjoy conversation with people who are leaders in fields I know nothing about. Long nap and a bit of email processing, but it seemed way too soon when we had to get ready for dinner. There was an outdoor cocktail reception at which we were entertained at some length by the Bermuda Regimental Band, then dinner, requisite birthday toasts, remarks by the Birthday Boy, and a magic

Independence Day

Today was a beach and picnic day. At 10am we boarded a ferry in back of our hotel for a 25 minute ride westward from downtown Hamilton in the direction of the mouth of the harbor. We were deposited at a dock on other bank of the long inlet that forms the harbor, whereupon we boarded buses for the short (two miles?) ride up and over a steep ridge and down to the Fairmont Princess beach at Southampton. We spent the next several hours enjoying a beautiful day and beautiful beach. I know I'm not alone in this, but, for me, there's something utterly renewing about walking along the liminal border between earth and sea, warm waves gently lapping my ankles and shins. It is a mystical place. I feel holistically connected to the mystery of my own life, and that life as it unfolds in the deathless love of the One who created it all. After regrouping, and washing sand off our bodies, we we shuttled up the hill on the  north  side of the harbor this time, right through downtown Hami


Still in Bermuda for a "destination" birthday celebration of an old friend, and among many who are or have been "movers and shakers" in the Episcopal Church (and in the health care administration world, which is David's business). There were two activity options on the docket for today. I elected to attend a "Professional Leadership Symposium," and I am very glad I did. I'm an avid student of my anything pertaining to leadership, and there was plenty of solid food to chew on from a diverse array of presenters. Much of it requires a good bit of "translation" from a business context to a church context, but that very effort is what produces the richest rewards.  As you might expect, food on an isolated island is quite expensive. But it's been of generally very good quality, and there's nothing that can compete with a lovely dinner overlooking a harbor while being caressed by an island breeze.


For the morning and early afternoon, there was planned diversions for the several dozen people gathered in Bermuda for a "destination" birthday celebration. We boarded several vans and were driven about 30 minutes to the northeast section of the fishhook-shaped island, where we toured  Crystal Cave . My fifth grade science class on the formation of stalactites and stalagmites was excellent preparation for this excursion, more than 50 years later. We then had a tram tour of historic St George's, established by British colonists in 1612 who got shipwrecked there while on their way to Virginia. (They never made it.) St Peter's Church is the oldest Anglican church building in continuous use outside England. We were then turned loose in the town for a while to find lunch and otherwise poke around. It was raining in the form of a fine mist most of the time we were there, "feeder bands," we were told, from Tropical Storm Arthur as it makes its way up the east coas


Sometimes events unfold in ways that are difficult to either anticipate or explain. When I was newly ordained, some 25 years ago, there was a parishioner who even at that time was beginning to become prominent on the Episcopal Church stage nationally. Eventually, David Pitts would chair the board of the Church Pension Group, among other accomplishments. David is turning 75 this week, and is throwing a big bash at which his family foundation is honoring some really wonderful people, and to which he invited a long list of greater luminaries and lesser luminaries, among which (in the latter category) are YFNB and Mama Askofu Brenda. When I received the invitation, my first response was to decline in as humble and gracious a way as I know how, primarily because the celebration is five days long .... and it's in Bermuda! The invitation was then rearticulated in such a manner as made it exponentially more difficult to persist in my "regrets" mode. So here we are in Bermuda, hav