Showing posts from September, 2014

Tuesday (St Jerome)

Weekly task planning at home. (65 candidates on this week's list--some large, some small.) Short confabs with the Archdeacon and the Administrator. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Registered online for meals and lodging for the Nashotah board meeting and academic convocation about three weeks hence. Spoke by phone was a fellow Nashotah trustee, who happens to chair our search committee for a new dean and president. Spoke by phone with the rector of Emmanuel, Champaign, whose new ministry we are celebrating on St Luke's Day (18 October), and where my annual visitation is scheduled the next day. Arrangements are now all in order. Dashed off a couple of quick email: one Nashotah-related, the other regarding youth ministry. Refined and printed my homily for this Sunday (St Paul's, Carlinville). Read an article, the link to which one of our clergy had sent me, regarding the practice of intinction at Holy Communion. I continue to want to discourage the practice of commu

The Lord's Day (XVI Pentecost)

Since my usual "work" for the weekend took place yesterday, I got to live like the heathen today. Slept in, took a long walk in the morning. Watched a little baseball. Took care of some personal chores. Spent about three hours in the evening working on  this blog post , addressing the heady subject of Anglican eschatology.

Saturday (St Vincent de Paul)

Slow morning ... weights workout followed by long walk (usual four miles) ... departed with Brenda at 2pm for the regular Evensong & Vigil Mass at St John's Centralia. Joyful visit with this small congregation enjoying the expert pastoral care of Fr David Baumann. Delicious dinner and conversation. Hope around 9:30.

Sermon for Proper 21

St John's, Centralia -- Matthew 22:28-32 , Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 There's a story—whether it's literally true or not, I don't know—about a rector and his vestry who were working through a period of turbulence in their relationship, something that happens from time to time between rectors and vestries. The priest let out a deep sigh and told them, "If you would just listen to me, you'd know I love you!" To which the senior warden promptly replied, "If we knew you loved us, then we'd listen to you!" Words and deeds. The rector was saying, "Believe the words I tell you." The vestry was saying, "Tell us by what you do, not by what you say." We might think the vestry to be wiser or more profound in this exchange, but is it? Which of us who are parents have never said to our children, "Do as I say, not as I do?” And on those occasions, don't we find ourselves in the position of the rector in this story? Word

Friday (Lancelot Andrewes)

Up and out of the Hilton Garden in Champaign for an 8:30ish arrival at Emmanuel and the annual assembly of the Illinois Conference of Churches. It was good to see Deacon Chris Hopkins and Mother Beth Maynard there demonstrating great hospitality to folks as they were arriving. We had a worship service in the church (the sort of pan-mainline Protestant liturgy that sets my teeth on edge, but I survived). Now I have actually had the experience of singing a hymn that includes the phrase "greed and high prices." What's not to like about that? Our featured speaker for the day was Dr John Armstrong of  Act3 Network , a ministry committed to "missional ecumenism." His general subject was the pursuit of ecumenism among evangelicals, who are generally absent from the table, for various reasons. It was a rich and stimulating presentation that was thoroughly glad I attended. After a brief business meeting, we were finished right at 3pm, and I was home by 4:30. 

Thursday (St Sergius)

Customary Thursday morning weights and treadmill workout. Morning Prayer (memorized short form) in the car on the way in to the office. Consulted with the Archdeacon at some length over administrative issues. Drove up to St John's Hospital to look in on a parishioner from St George's, Belleville who just had aortic valve replacement surgery. I welcomed her to the club. Met with a locally retired priest with extensive interim ministry experience about a parish that will soon be in transition. Lunch from McD's (still no hot mustard!), eaten at home. Left a voicemail with a member of the Nashotah House board. Developed my rough notes for a homily on the occasion of the institution of the new rector of Emmanuel, Champaign on 18 October into a developed outline. Assessed the need for an confirmed the availability of AV resources for synod. Composed and sent a memo to the Nashotah House trustees. We're ramping up for next month's meeting. Posted some news from

Wednesday (Our Lady of Walsingham)

Task planning for the (rest of) the week at home. Only two days in the office, so some of the 39 currently active action items will get deferred. Consulted briefly with the Archdeacon over a real estate matter (the listing for the now-closed St Laurence, Effingham). Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared to preside and preach at the midday Mass (my usual Wednesday gig). The interwebs failed me in the search for appointed readings for the lesser feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. Laid out those of the Visitation as a plausible surrogate. Refined and printed a working script for this weekend's homily (Saturday night at St John's, Centralia). Took my homily for the following Sunday, Proper 22 at St Paul's in Carlinville, from an outline to a rough draft. Reported for duty at the cathedral chapel, but no takers. This happens sometimes. Lunch from Dynasty (Chinese), eaten at home. Read and responded to Ember Day letters from three of our postulants/seminarians. Respon

Tuesday (Philander Chase)

Last night I drove up to Joliet, and then this morning the rest of the way to the campus of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington ... for a meeting with about thirty other Episcopalians! There is a program called Renewal Works that is for Episcopal congregations, but grew out of a process that was originally designed for Willow Creek. It's under the auspices of Forward Movement , on whose board I serve, and which is dedicated to the reinvigoration of the life of the church through discipleship. Renewal Works is first an assessment tool and then an action tool for bringing about spiritual growth in the lives of our parishioners. I'm very excited about it, all the more after today. The day included two hours with Bill Hybels, the founding and continuing pastor of Willow Creek, which was a real gift. We broke up at 5, and I rolled into Leland Grove a little past 9. Traffic.

The Lord's Day (XV Pentecost)

Up and out the door (alone this time) in time for a 10am targeted arrival at Trinity, Mt Vernon and their regular 10:30am Eucharist. All went according to plan; actually, I got there about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Trinity has suffered the relatively unexpected death of two of their pillars in the past few weeks, and I was reminded how grateful I am that Springfield is a quite small diocese, which affords me the opportunity to develop a pastoral relationship not only with the clergy, but with the baptized faithful of the diocese, that is more than just theoretical or  pro forma . It was good to be able to plausibly express my solidarity with their sense of loss. Fr Ben Hankinson is doing a superb job in his new cure. After a delightful lunch of Mexican cuisine, and a chance to chill out a bit, the regular pre-synod meeting of the Eastern Deanery convened at 2pm, without some 18 people in the room, representing all the Eucharistic Communities of the deanery. The main focus of a

Sermon for Proper 20

Trinity, Mt Verno n-- Matthew 20:1-16 , Jonah 3:10-4:11 The scenario is pretty familiar from books, movies, and television. The last surviving member of the oldest generation in a family passes on. After the funeral, the surviving children and grown grandchildren gather—perhaps in a lawyer’s office, perhaps around the dining room table of the old homestead. There are hugs and smiles and tears and expressions of goodwill all around. But in the back of everybody’s mind are some very material, very practical questions: Who’s going to get what? How soon? Am I going to be shortchanged? Will anybody cause trouble? It’s a matter of simple logic. If cousin Jane gets the antique armoire, then that means I can’t have it. If I get the silver tea service, then my sister can’t have it. There’s only so much to go around; the supply of goodies is not unlimited. Whatever anyone else gets, there’s that much less available for me. Now, this way of thinking is bad enough within family relationsh

Saturday (John Coleridge Patteson & Companions)

Slow morning ... weights, then a long walk ... did some personal and household chores in the afternoon, took care of a couple of ministry-related dangling tasks ... cooked dinner for Brenda and me (Chinese stir fry) ... spend the evening on  this blog post .

Friday (St Theodore of Tarsus)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Between me trading some emails and the Archdeacon making a phone call, we seem to have lined up Sunday supply coverage in Alton Parish for October. (Ft Boase doesn't officially retire until the end of October, but he'll be on, as they say in the military, "terminal leave" from the beginning of the month. Processed a couple of marginally important emails that have just been in the chute for too long. Took care of a small bit of Living Church-related business. Finally got to something that has been on my list for several months, but always eclipsed by something more urgent: Cleaning out the various piles of paper and books that have been growing on top of my rather large desk. I hope I may be more disciplined in the future about not letting it get to such a state. But don't bet on it. Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Took to time to read, digest, and respond to a non-urgent but substantive email from an out-of-state acquaintance.

Thursday (Edward Bouverie Pusey)

Customary Thursday morning weight and treadmill workout. Prayed the morning office in my car on the way in to the diocesan center. Left a voicemail message (and eventually connected with) a priest concerning a possible interim ministry assignment. Discussed some administrative (real estate) issues with the Archdeacon. Spoke by phone with the Dean of Nashotah House--mostly a routine check-in between board chairman and dean. Registered for the annual meeting of bishops of small dioceses, to be held in November in Salt Lake City. Brain stormed about who I might invite to conduct the annual clergy pre-Lenten retreat next February. Dashed off an email to my first choice. I let this one slide too long. Briefly discussed synod agenda issues with the Administrator. Lunch at home; leftovers. Began the process of turning the outline of my synod address into an actual draft. Took part in a scheduled conference call with the senior administrative team at Nashotah House. We're mostly

Wednesday (St Hildegard of Bingen)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Check-in conversation with the interim provost, Fr Gene Tucker. Prepared to preside and preach at the midday Mass. Spoke by phone with the rector of one of our parishes on a couple of diverse and unrelated issues. Followed through on some Putnam Trust-related administrivia. Communicated by email with two clergy over some (unrelated) emerging pastoral concerns. Put meat on the bones of my homily for Proper 21 (St John's, Centralia). Celebrated and preached the midday Mass, commemorating the lesser feast of St Hildegard of Bingen. Even played some of her music on my iPhone during the homily. Lunch from TG, eaten at home. (working from home now) Fleshed out some of the plans for the November clergy day. Attended to two smallish tasks, one for Forward Movement and one for Nashotah House. Returned a phone call from one our rectors. Did some troubleshooting on the the diocesan camcorder, which I use in the production of catechetical videos, w

Tuesday (St Ninian)

Weekly/daily task planning at home. Consulted a but with the Archdeacon regarding the material detritus of the now-closed St Laurence, Effingham. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Began work on refining this Sunday's homily (Trinity, Mt Vernon). Participated in a scheduled conference call in connection with my duties as co-trustee of the Putnam Trust, which benefits two of our parishes; the call was with representatives of the Bank of America, which is the other co-trustee, through its investment arm, U.S. Trust. Have the OK on some recommended asset re-allocation. Completed the word I had begun earlier on this Sunday's homily; put the manuscript in my car (yes, I'm that paranoid). Walked (at the behest of the pedometer in my pocket) to Illinois National Bank's downtown location to arrange for a wire transfer from my discretionary fund to Fr Ernest Nadeem, a priest/evangelist/teacher in Pakistan who visited the diocese last winter, and who has a pressing need. Lu

The Lord's Day (XIV Pentecost)

Christ is risen ... and there are still times of sadness en route to the realized fruition of that fact. Today was one of those times, as we celebrated the final Eucharist at the Church of St Laurence in Effingham. There were tears. After Mass, we loaded up the most valuable hardware, along with the parish records for the archives, into the YFNBmobile. There will be another trip in due course to deconsecrate the building, which is listed for sale. Eventually, we will replant in Effingham, but with wholly new ecclesial DNA. Brenda and I arrived home around noon. After an hour's rest, I headed to the office to allow my vehicle to disgorge its contents from the morning, then continued east to Decatur for the Northwest Deanery pre-synod meeting. I delivered myself of what I hope was an effective apologia for the proposed addition to the diocesan staff (Canon for Mission Development), and was back on the road toward home at 3:45.

Sermon for Proper 19

St Laurence's, Effingham -- Romans 14:1-12 I of course cannot talk about anything except the elephant in the room, right? The decision that all of you have reached together, and which was my sad duty to agree to, is that this is the final service for St Laurence, and that the church will be closed permanently when we leave here this morning. A situation like this brings up all sorts of complex emotions. Just a few weeks ago I spoke with a woman who was a member here at one time, and later became my parishioner in Warsaw, Indiana; her name is Nanette Newland. She was quite sad, though not shocked, when I told her that this day was coming.   Among these feelings, I hope gratitude is in the mix, because there is indeed much to be grateful for. Blessings have been given and blessings have been received in the life of this community. We have loved and been loved here. We have known God here. There is also, no doubt, some measure of relief. It takes work just to keep the min

Saturday (St Cyprian)

Good weight workout and long walk after a "soft" morning. Spent most of the afternoon working on household finances. Ugh. Hit the road with Brenda at 6:00 for Effingham, where we enjoyed dinner at her favorite casual dining chain that doesn't have a Springfield location--Ruby Tuesday. Soaking in the ambience at the Hampton Inn, where we just learned via text message that our five-year old granddaughter broke her arm (both radius and ulna) in a playground accident. Please hold Charlotte in your prayers.

Friday (John Henry Hobart)

Morning Prayer in my office (since the pavement between the Roundhouse and the cathedral entrance was coned off for sealing ... though that project was left uncompleted because of the incipient rain). Took a phone call from a lay leader in one of our parishes, with the news she has been diagnosed with ALS. Sobering beyond words. She and those who love her are about to walk the way of the cross. I pray they indeed find it to be the way of life and peace. Took care of some Nashotah-related administrative detritus (which will be ramping up as we head toward an October board meeting). Began to review some documents produced by one of the board committees. Spoke by phone with a colleague bishop regarding some Living Church Foundation business. Took a call from one of our clergy wanting to unpack further on the meeting we had yesterday. Spent a (scheduled) hour on the phone with a consultant to the Nashotah House board and administration. His particular area of expertise is what will k


Customary Thursday morning weights and treadmill. Morning Prayer at home, after which I dealt expeditiously with a couple of newly-arrived emails. Prepared the common area of the Roundhouse for an 11am gathering. Began initial work on my homily at the synod Mass next month, but then got distracted trying to chase down some anomalies in the electronic versions of the liturgy booklet that are circulating. Between 11:00am and 1:30ish I hosted and participated in a meeting of diocesan clergy who lead pastoral or program-size parishes, all in a continuing effort to vet and carefully weigh both the missional and the financial implications of the nascent plan to add a Canon for Mission Development position to the diocesan staff. The conversation got a little visceral at points, as anything involving money is bound to get. But even difficult conversation is necessary conversation ... probably all the more so precisely  because  it is difficult. Met briefly with Fr Wetmore, the host recto

Wednesday (Alexander Crummell)

Usual AM routine; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared to be celebrant and preacher at the midday cathedral chapel liturgy. Regular monthly meeting with clergy associated with the cathedral. Usually not anything too substantive, but good to develop collegiality. Closed the loop that I opened yesterday with a bishop in whose diocese I have a DEPO parish. All is well, given the anomalous circumstances. First meeting with a potential aspirant for Holy Orders. Celebrated and preached the noon Mass (celebrating the lesser feast of Alexander Crummell). Lunch at home (leftovers). Half-hour phone conversation with one of our rectors. Took care of three or four recently-arrived emails, in violation of my rule that anything requiring more than two minutes of my time gets turned into a task and placed in the queue. I just wanted these things off my screen, so I broke my own rule. I guess I get to do that. Finished cranking out a homily for this Sunday. It's a special occasion,

Tuesday (Martyrs of Memphis)

Task planning for the week at home. 88 potential action items for this week. Ambitious. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Got reacquainted with my desk by sorting, culling, and otherwise processing the stack of hard-copy items (correspondence, solicitations, newsletter, etc.) that had accumulated there during my absence. In response to something in that pile, initiated a round of telephone tag with the bishop of a diocese in which I have a DEPO parish. Also discovered that there's something wrong with our phone system and I can't access my voicemails for the time being. Examined, consulted with the Archdeacon over, and signed a Letter of Agreement between the parish and a priest that had been negotiated while I was away. Grateful that substantive and positive things can still happen even when I'm not around. Reviewed and approved a Marital Judgment request.  Dashed off an email to the Rector's Warden of a parish in transition, asking for a phone conversation. Wrot

The Lord's Day (XIII Pentecost)

I emerged from Vacationland late yesterday afternoon as I pointed the YFNBmobile south toward Marion in advance of today's obligations in Harrisburg. Up and out this morning in time to arrive at St Stephen's around 9:30. Very distressed to learn that Fr Tim Goodman, their priest-in-charge, has been suffering (and continues to suffer) from a nasty case of shingles (post-herpetic neuralgia therefrom, to be specific). With my blessing, he elected to sit in the congregation with Carol. It was nonetheless a lively and stimulating visit with the people of that Eucharistic Community. There is a young Guatemalan woman and her toddler daughter who have been attending the last three Sundays. She speaks very little English, and apparently I speak better Spanish than anyone else there, so I was tasked with making conversation with her after the liturgy! Arrived home around 4pm. Spent a good chunk of the evening writing a blog apologia for my non-attendance at this month's meeting of t

Sermon for Proper 18

St Stephen's, Harrisburg -- Matthew 18:15-20 , Ezekiel 33:1-11 Well, have you committed any sins lately? I know I have, and I would bet you have too! Have you been  approached lately  by a member of St Stephen’s who claimed to have been wronged by you,  and asked to make amends? Perhaps. But that would be a relatively unusual occurrence, would it not? Have you been ganged up on lately by two or three fellow parishioners who have attempted to persuade you of some wrongdoing on your part, and that you should change your ways?  Again, not outside the realm of possibility, but I myself would be shocked to hear of such an incident. One more question. Have you recently considered committing a particular sin, and been stopped in your tracks by the thought of receiving a phone call  from Fr Tim asking you to appear before the next meeting of the Bishop’s Committee and explain your behavior? Here, I believe, we truly cross the line between conceivable reality and the Tw