Showing posts from August, 2014

Sermon for Proper 15

St Timothy's, Salem OR -- Matthew 15:21-28 Y ou know how the story goes. It’s the scenario for any number of jokes that have made us giggle and snicker. A genie is trapped in a bottle for hundreds of years. Some ordinary person comes along and, usually without realizing what they’re doing, lets the genie out of the bottle. The genie is grateful, and so offers his rescuer the courtesy of granting three wishes. (Incidentally, I’ve always wondered why nobody thinks to say, “My first wish is that all my future wishes be granted.” That somehow seems like cheating, I guess.) Now, I suppose there are a few genuine jerks out there who would get all bossy and just start barking orders to the genie. But I suspect that most people would at least try to be polite. After all, the genie could have said “Thanks a bunch” and moved on. He’s granting our three wishes out of the goodness of his heart. So we might think to ourselves, Is this a test? What if I ask for something the genie thinks is

Sermon for St Mary the Virgin

Delivered in St Timothy's Church, Salem, OR, which is the parish from which I was sent to seminary in 1986. I could be wrong about this, but, as far as I can tell, this parish has kept the feast of St Mary the Virgin in a manner similar to this for more than three decades. I know it was an established custom by the time I left here to go to seminary in 1986. You have had a long train of guest preachers, standing where I’m standing now, talking about the same general subject that is my job to talk about now, and some of them, I can only imagine, have been fairly profound. I don’t know, but I just suspect that. So, I’ll confess that I’m just a little bit intimidated. What can I add? What can I say that has not already been said, probably better, by one or more of my predecessors in this role? There are, of course, certain obvious tacks that a preacher on this occasion can take. For instance, I can imagine that there are many sermons being given around the world today that fo


Slept in ... lifted weights ... took a very long walk ... journeyed to Belleville to bless the new home of Fr Dale and Deacon Jody Coleman, and hang out with people from St George's. Tomorrow my vacation beings--much-needed, I might say. We'll be visiting friends and family on the west coast, attending a family wedding in Milwaukee, and hanging out at home: reading, resting, and taking care of the sort of projects that don't get gotten to under ordinary circumstances. May take in a Cubs game or two at some point. So, I'll be going dark in this space (as well as on Facebook and Twitter) until 7 September. See you on the other side.

Friday (St Dominic)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Final prep for Diocesan Council Mass. Conferred with the Archdeacon on a couple of administrative matters regarding property in two of our parishes. Presided and preached at the 10am Council liturgy, keeping the lesser feast of St Dominic. Presided at the quarterly meeting of Diocesan Council. It took two hours, but this is the one where we have vigorous discussion of the draft budget, and today's was particularly wide-ranging and candid. I mean all that in a good way. Pre-arranged meeting with Fr Bruce DeGooyer, who is one of our key players in mission strategy development. Dashed to the McD's drive through on South Grand for a burger, which I consumed in the car. Joined a Commission on Ministry meeting already in progress. Wrote a discretionary fund check to provide seed money for an important Christian formation ministry in one of our parishes. Responded by email to a request for feedback from one of our priests regarding efforts to

Thursday (John Mason Neale)

Customary Thursday morning workout--weights and treadmill. While organizing my tasks over breakfast, took a phone call from the Vice-Chair of the Nashotah trustees. Morning Prayer in the car while driving in to the office (memorized short form, of course). Sent an email to a colleague bishop over a Nashotah-related matter. Reviewed and commented on some proposed "branding" ideas for the diocese. It's time to unify and freshen up our logo and related graphic protocols. Developed, refined, and printed a working text of a homily for Proper 18 (September 7 at St Stephen's, Harrisburg). Lunch at home--leftovers. Met with Deacon Ann Alley and Linda Thomas (St Matthew's, Bloomington), representing the diocesan ECW outreach committee. Produced a rough draft of the liturgy booklet for the synod Mass on October 10. Fortunately, I had a template from a prior year to work with, but it was still time-consuming. It is now in the capable hands of Fr Ian Wetmore and the


Devotions in the cathedral; Morning Prayer in the office. Prepared to preside and preach at the midday Mass. Took care of three hanging pastoral/administrative concerns via email. Attended a regular monthly meeting of clergy associated with St Paul's Cathedral (Interim Provost Tucker, Archdeacon Denney, Fr Franklin, Fr Stormer, Deacon Bradley, Deacon Raschke). Refined and printed a working text of a homily Proper 15 (at St Timothy's, Salem, OR, while on vacation later this month). Took a walk around two blocks. Presided and preached at the cathedral Mass for the Feast of the Transfiguration or Our Lord Jesus Christ. Lunch from KFC, eaten at home. Laid out the broad strokes of my address to the annual synod of the diocese on October 10. Attended via email to an ongoing conversation with my colleague bishops in the Communion Partners group. Took another walk around two blocks. In response to a request from one of the editors of  The Anglican Digest , I revised, update


Weekly task planning over breakfast at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Having heard that my new YFNBmobile will be read for delivery tomorrow, I retrieved the title to the current model from the safe. Briefed the Archdeacon on my weekend activities. First meeting with a potential aspirant to Holy Orders. Took a walk around the block. Responded via email to an invitation for a speaking/preaching gig outside the diocese. Began work on refining the text of my homily for the feast of St Mary the Virgin, at St Timothy's, Salem, OR. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Follow-up visit to an otolaryngologist, stemming from my "interesting" ear experience the last time a traveled by air. Finished up and printed the sermon I had started working on in the morning. Followed up administratively (via email with some items already in play in preparation for a clergy day in November. Attended via email to some loose ends pertaining to the Living Church Foundation. Fo


Woke up (as planned!) in a Mt Vernon hotel room. Gassed up and headed down I-57 to Marion, and then west in IL13 to Carterville, where I had a 10am rendezvous with Mother Kathryn Jeffrey, rector of St Andrew's-Carbondale-with-St James-Marion, Trish Guyon, a long-time parishioner and leader at St Andrew's, along with a local real estate agent. We looked at a piece of property that may have some good potential as a site for combining and replanting both of the churches already named. A number of current unknowns will need to align themselves in the right way for this to work, but it is definitely worth exploring. The four of us then repaired to Chili's in Carbondale for an early lunch during which we continued our musings. After a walk through the mall in Marion to kill a little time and respond to some emails, I headed south for a 2pm appointment with Fr James Muriuki, the incoming priest-in-charge of the Church of the Redeemer in Cairo. We had a very good one hour visi

Sermon for Proper 13

St James, Marion-- Matthew 14:13-21,  Isaiah 55:1-5 What do you think of this advice, which I saw recently on Facebook?: “Don’t worry. God is never blind to your tears, never deaf to your prayers, and never silent to your pains. He sees, He hears, and He will deliver.” With the rise of social media over the last decade—first blogs, then Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Tumblr and Reddit and probably several others I haven’t yet heard of—theology and spirituality have certainly been among the range of subjects that regularly make an appearance in those areas of cyberspace. Here are some other examples that I’ve spotted recently: “When my arms can’t reach the people who are close to my heart … I always hug them with my prayers.” “The most wonderful places to be in the world are: In someone’s thoughts. In Someone’s prayers. And in Someone’s heart.” “Our faith is stronger than any storm.” “Every weakness you have is an opportunity for God to show His stre

Friday (St Joseph of Arimathea)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Played with hot wax: sealed one ordination certificate (Ben Hankinson) and two Letters of Institution (Ben Hankinson tonight, Beth Maynard on October 18). Reviewed and signed a letter dissolving St James', Marion as an organized mission, and redesignating it as a chapel of St Andrew's, Carbondale. Chose the liturgical occasion (Votive for the Unity of the Church), readings, hymns, and service music for the synod Mass on October 10. Made incremental progress troubleshooting an issue related to the use of the diocesan camcorder for recording teaching videos. More progress yet to be made. Read a sermon and a blog post that have been flagged for my attention for the past few weeks. Lunch at home--leftovers. Packed for two nights away and his the road with Brenda at 1:30, headed for a 4;00pm liturgy rehearsal at Trinity, Mt Vernon. Ordained Ben Hankinson to the priesthood, with the help of a packed church and a fine turnout of diocesan clerg