Showing posts from October, 2014


Daily organization at home; Morning Prayer in the office. Took another stab at nailing down dates for the winter meeting of the Nashotah trustees, this time with some success, I think. Sent out yet another feeler (my fifth) to yet another potential conductor for the clergy pre-Lenten retreat in February. I may end up yet having to do it myself, which would not be completely a bad thing. But I'm going to keep trying. Made some concrete plans to encourage clergy who have not been on a Cursillo weekend to consider attending the next one, coming up in June. Reviewed the canonical requirements and General Convention resolutions on anti-racism training, alongside our own practices. Made some mental notes. Got to work seriously on my 2015 visitation calendar. Visited for a while with Fr Mark Evans, who was in the area on other business, but stopped in. Lunch at home. Leftover Indian food. Continued working on my calendar, and brought to project to tentative completion. Took a ph


Usual Thursday morning quality time with the Bowflex and the treadmill.  Launched the next volley of email negotiations with Nashotah board members for winter meeting dates.  Morning Prayer at home.  Off to Bloomington around 9:30. While en route, spoke for the first time with the newly-appointed search committee chair for the Episcopal Parish of Alton. I believe we have both gotten onto the same page.  Met at St Matthew's with the members of the Spiritual Vitality Team, Frs Kellington and Halt.  Lunch with Fr Halt, with him alternating between his "Rector of St Matthew's" and "Standing Committee President" hats.  Back at the office around 3pm.  Wrote my Chairman of the Board column for the Lent 2015 issue of Nashotah's quarterly magazine, The Missioner . (Yes, the work that far ahead.)  Took my homily for Proper 27 (November 9 in Rantoul) from developed notes to rough draft stage. E vening Prayer in the cathedral.

Wednesday (James Hannington & His Companions)

Daily task planning at home.  Morning Prayer in the cathedral.  Prepared for presiding and preaching at the midday Mass.  Attended briefly to an administrative matter with the Archdeacon.  Fleshed out, refined, and printed my homily for this Sunday at All Saints, Morton.  Began an email to the Nashotah House trustees for the purpose of beginning calendar negotiations for a special January meeting.  Attended to my midday Mass duties.  Lunch at home -- leftovers.  Finished the email I had begun before lunch.   To my dismay, I spent the rest of the afternoon wrestling with technology ... iMovie, to be specific. A victory of sorts was mine in the end, and the final session of my 2013 Lenten teaching series (yes, a year and half late) is now edited (crudely) and uploaded. Reading the Bible for Dummies. S ee it here.   Evening Prayer in the car on the way home.

Ss Simon & Jude

Task planning at home; 38 active tasks.  Culled a pile of hard copy items on my desk.  Consulted with the Archdeacon on a variety of pastoral and administrative matters.  Morning Prayer in the cathedral.  Looked over a draft Letter of Agreement between a vestry and a priest.  Conceived, hatched, and erected the infrastructure of a homily for this Sunday (behind the curve on this one) at All Saints, Morton (yes, on their feast of title).  Attended the midday Mass in the cathedral chapel, celebrating the major feast of Ss Simon & Jude.  Lunch at home--leftover Chinese.  Reviewed and processed documents and otherwise debriefed from last week's Nashotah House board of trustees meeting.  Hand wrote notes of greeting to clergy and spouses with nodal events in November.  Took a 15 minute walk around the neighborhood.  Evaluated the details pertaining to a Class of 2011 bishops continuing education gathering this April ... in Cuba. (The Bishop of Cuba, while not technicall


Made a guest appearance out of day-off seclusion in order to attend a Nashotah House fund-raising event in the Great Hall of St Paul's Cathedral. What an honor to welcome Bishop Michael Marshall, honorary assisting bishop in the Diocese of London, to the Diocese of Springfield. He gave the retreat addresses at the House last week, and is along for the seven-city tour aimed at securing a predictable and sustainable income stream for this 172-year old institution.


Usual morning Nashotah routine through breakfast (with Fr Philip Cunningham delivering a most excellent homily on Christian unity at the Mass). Then it was time to prepare for presiding at the 10:30am academic convocation, during which it was my duty to confer four honorary doctorates ... in flawless Latin, of course. Of of these was to a long time friend, Canon David Seger, who was the deployment officer at the House at the time I graduated in 1989, but who has myriad other stellar accomplishments. It was a joy. After visiting with several people during and after lunch in the refectory--some of these visits purely social and some substantive--I trudged back up to my lodging in the Fort, packed up my stuff, and pointed the YFNBmobile east and south. About two and half hours later, I retrieved Brenda at the METRA station in Downers Grove, IL; she had ridden Amtrak up from Springfield in the morning. We're camped out in a hotel for the night now. Tomorrow one of my brothers is gettin

St James of Jerusalem

Same morning chapel routine as yesterday ... met with the Nominating Committee of the board over breakfast ... plenary session reconvened at 9:30 ... very intense, sometimes difficult, but ultimately productive work, with a quick break for lunch and individual publicity photos for the Nashotah website, until we recessed for Evening Prayer and Solemn Eucharist at 4:30, during which time, among other things, we heard a search committee report, negotiated an agreement, and elected the 20th Dean and President of the seminary. Not bad for a day's work. It was my joy to announce it three times: first to the faculty before the liturgy, then to the students afterward, and to the larger community gathered for dinner in the refectory. Sadly, our work wasn't done, so we had a 90 minute evening session of the board. My brain is fried.


Morning Prayer and Mass with the Nashotah community ... breakfast in the refectory ... conferred informally with various trustees as the morning progressed and committee meetings got underway ... sat in for a bit with the Audit Committee, then with the Institutional Vitality Committee ... lunch off campus (because it was grilled cheese in the refectory, which does not comport with the strict diet I'm four weeks into ... convened the full board of trustees at 1:30 and adjourned at 4:20 ... Evensong in the chapel ... cocktails and "heavy hors d'oeuvres in the deanery.


Up, out, and headed north a little past 8am. Arrived on campus at Nashotah House around 1:30. Checked in at the Dean's office, conversed with some fellow trustees, sat in on a retreat address (the students are in silence while we're here, which is a little awkward/weird) from Bishop Michael Marshall (one of my favorites), got settled in my lodging (third floor of Webb Hall, aka "the Fort"), walked to the chapel for Evensong, waked to the deanery for cocktails with Dean Salmon, three other trustees, and the Academic Dean. Then, out to dinner in nearby Hartland with Canon Koehler and his wife Terry, and Fr Dow Sanderson (trustee, and rector of Holy Communion, Charleston, SC).

The Lord's Day (XIX Pentecost)

Preached and celebrated at both regular Masses at Emmanuel--8:00 and 10:30. Met for about 30 minutes with the confirmands between services--two youth and four adults. I made sure they knew it wasn't too late to back out, since publicly promising to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord is kind of a life-changing deal, but none of them did. Emmanuel always has outstanding music and well-executed liturgy; it's a tonic to my soul. After the liturgy we were treated to a Mexican lunch by uber-deacon Chris Hopkins and her husband Mike. Got home around 3:30, and after trying and failing to complete my usual walking route, I crashed hard in a pre-dinner nap. Guess I needed it.

Sermon for Proper 24

Emmanuel, Champaign -- Matthew 22:15-22 , Isaiah 45:1-7 Ever since the beginning of June, we have been methodically exploring the gospel according to St Matthew in our Sunday liturgies. We’ve heard something of our Lord’s teaching and preaching, using both parables and direct discourse; his relationship with his disciples, and stories of miraculous healing. As the Season after Pentecost draws toward a close in about five weeks’ time, Matthew’s narrative takes us into the final weeks of Jesus’ earthly ministry, and he builds tension in the plot of his story by turning up the fire under the relationship between Jesus and the Jewish religious establishment—primarily the Pharisees. Matthew paints these folks as  Jesus’ adversaries. They engage in a series of attempts to entrap him—to get him to contradict himself, either verbally or in his behavior, or to say something that would offend one of the stakeholders in a very tense and unstable political environment—and thereby discredit hi

St Luke

Up and out and headed ahead in time for a 10:30am arrival at Emmanuel, Champaign, where we proceeded to duly celebrate the new ministry of their rector, the Revd Beth Maynard. After the reception, I attended the regular October meeting of Emmanuel's vestry, and took the opportunity to develop with them what a Canon for Mission Development might accomplish, both both Emmanuel and for the whole diocese. Brenda and I then checked into our hotel, enjoyed a little down time, and then met Beth and her husband, Mark Dirksen, for dinner in downtown Champaign's burgeoning restaurant scene.

Institution of the Revd Beth Maynard--Emmanuel, Champaign

St Luke's Day -- Ecclesiasticus 38: 1-4, 6-10, 12-13; II Timothy 4:5-13  It’s a joy to be in Champaign, and at Emmanuel, for the weekend! Some of you I’ll see just today, but others of you I’ll see today and tomorrow, when I’m here for my regular annual visitation. I’m doubly glad that, as the calendar chips fell, we’re celebrating the new ministry of Beth Maynard at Emmanuel on St Luke’s Day. By long and strong tradition, Luke is the author of a two-volume work of fairly-sophisticated literature—at least any beginning student of New Testament Greek would tell you it’s sophisticated—a two-volume work, consisting of the gospel that bears his name, occurring third in the customary numerical order of the gospels, and the Act of the Apostles, which begins with Our Lord’s Ascension, and goes on to chronicle the day of Pentecost, the earliest history of the Church, and the missionary endeavors of St Paul. Again, by tradition, Luke was a physician, whatever that might have meant

Friday (St Ignatius of Antioch)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Got to work writing a post-synod reflection for the website--and eventually for our print product, the  Springfield Current . This took me right up to noon, but the work was interrupted twice for important and substantive conversations, one with the Archdeacon and one with the Interim Provost. The usual vague subject category applies: "administrative and pastoral issue" (where one is found, the other is usually not far away). Lunch at home--microwaved Indian food. Reviewed and approved a request for a marital judgment. Scanned and otherwise processed hardcopy from my physical inbox. Took a walk four blocks south, two blocks west, then north and east to complete the circuit. Dealt with a couple of long-outstanding emails that were never urgent and only marginally important, but out of regard for the sender they needed to have their 15 minutes of fame. Friday prayer: Lectio divina on today's daily office reading from Ecclesiasticus.

Thursday (Oxford Martyrs)

Customary Thursday workout: weights and treadmill. Morning Prayer at home. Got back to work on master sermon planning from Advent until Lent. This is time-consuming because it involves rifling through old material (the advantage of preaching as long as I have is that I have lots of old material for most any liturgical occasion) and discerning whether it can be taken out of storage and refitted, or whether I need to start from scratch. The task took me almost until noon. Attended to some irksome and petty requests from the company with whom I am attempt to refinance some real estate. Lunch at home--Brenda's homemade "Cincinnati-style" (inspired thereby, at least) chili. Walked down to Illinois National Bank to arrange for a wire transfer from my discretionary fund to the Diocese of Tabora to help with some of the clergy availing themselves of a continuing education opportunity in neighboring Kenya. Refind and printed a working text for my homily this Sunday at Emman

Wednesday (St Teresa of Avila)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared for my regular Wednesday midday Mass duty. Refined and printed my homily for Saturday's institution of the Revd Beth Maynard as rector of Emmanuel, Champaign. Spoke by phone with a consultant to the Nashotah House board of trustees. Attended the regular monthly meeting a clergy associated with the cathedral. We mostly just "waste time," but I mean that in a good way. Simply maintaining relationships bears fruit in the long term. Celebrated and preached the Mass for the lesser feast of St Teresa of Avila. Lunch at home; leftovers. Kept a 2pm dental hygiene appointment. Back at the office ... returned a couple of phone calls. Wrote (and printed and signed and scanned and attached to an email) a letter licensing a lay person as a Pastoral Leader under the canons, to take care of one of our parishes in transition. Dashed off a hand-written note to Bishop Parsons, who broke his ankle last week, after twice unsuccessfully try

Tuesday (Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereshrewsky)

Between incoming phone calls, impromptu confabs, and other distractions, Morning Prayer got lost in the shuffle. Doesn't happen often, thankfully. Conferred with the Treasurer and the Archdeacon over an administrative/financial matter. Took a call from a priest outside the diocese who is interested in exploring deployment possibilities with in  the diocese.  Dealt with some administrative matters and appointment requests via email. Placed an order by phone for a new zucchetto (the purple skullcap I wear when vested). Those things are tiny and easy to lose, and last weekend's synod seems to have consumed mine somewhere. Replied in kind to a hard-copy letter from a lay person in the diocese who does not use email. This is a pretty rare occurrence. Took a walk of six or eight blocks in length. Did some calendar maintenance that really belongs at the beginning of the month, but got delayed. This spurred making a hotel reservation for an occasion that had been previously ove

The Lord's Day (XVIII Pentecost)

Up and out in time to arrive plenty early--since Mrs YFNB was the guest organist and needed time on an unfamiliar instrument--for the regular 9:30 liturgy at St Thomas'. The place seems to be thriving under the pastoral leadership of Fr David Baumann. Delicious post-liturgical repast (par for the course in that parish). We arrived back in Springfield a little past 2:00.

Sermon for Proper 23

St Thomas', Salem -- Matthew 22:1-14 Some of you know that Brenda and I are the parents of three grown children, and two granddaughters—Charlotte, who is almost six, and Elsa, who is three-and-a-half. Recently their parents sent us a photo, which is now attached to the door of our refrigerator, of Charlotte in a baseball cap with a bat over her shoulder. She was apparently part of a T-ball team for kids her age. One of the virtually inevitable rites-of-passage in child-rearing in our society, it seems, is some participation in organized sports—whether it’s T-ball for five-year olds or high school varsity football. At the younger ages, I’ve noticed a pronounced trend away from exposing our kids to any potential hurt feelings and toward bolstering their ego and self-confidence. This starts with rules like “everybody gets to play equally, regardless of ability” and ends with the rather counter-intuitive practice of having a game at which no one is allowed to keep score, so there

Saturday (St Philip the Deacon)

Back at the podium calling the synod to order at 8:30am. The main item of business was, of course, the budget, and the discussion was appropriately vigorous, given the implications of the proposed new diocesan staff position. The final vote revealed a synod majority ready to step out of the boat, and even most who did not vote in favor are conceptually supportive. But, as I indicated to the assembly, I will not move to fill the Canon for Mission Development position until we see the actual pledges coming in from the parishes. Even with an extended budget debate, we were finished before 11. Brenda and I stopped for lunch in Litchfield, and, when we got home, I napped long and hard. Synod (on top of my recent travels) was wearing.

Friday (St Paulinus of York)

Out the door around 9:30 for points south (braving hard rain south of Litchfield). Arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn in O'Fallon, but our room wasn't ready yet, so I plopped my stuff behind the dais in the main meeting room. Hung out a bit with the General Convention deputation as they gathered for the first time in advance of next summer's event. Drove across the interstate to find some lunch, and succeeded at Qdoba. Back to the synod venue, where I was able now to check in and get a room key. Retrieved my gear and moved into my room. Donned a cassock and hiked back to the meeting room (it's quite a trek). Attended to some A/V technicalities and banged the gavel to call the synod to order just a few minutes after our 1:30 target. Everything went smoothly, and we were able to make such progress that there is hope for an early conclusion tomorrow. The liturgy at St Michael's was splendid, as the was the dinner and post-meal entertainment.

Diocesan Synod Address

This is now the fourth annual synod over which I have presided as Bishop of Springfield. It continues to be a singular honor for which I am grateful on a daily basis. I love the rhythm of a "normal" week—that is, one when I'm not traveling—with four days in the office doing the business of the diocesan center through emails and phone calls and meetings, perhaps an evening on the road to talk with a vestry or search committee, a Saturday to take slightly easy, but usually catching up on some stray bits of business from the week in the office, about a third of the time heading to a hotel somewhere on Saturday night, then the climax of my week—communing in Word and Sacrament with the Lord's own people around the Lord's own table on the Lord's own day. It truly doesn't get any better than that. And my joy in all of this is made more complete by the people I have to work with. The staff in the diocesan office is something I inherited, which I have learned

Sermon for Diocesan Synod: "For the Unity of the Church"

St Michael's, O'Fallon -- John 17:6a, 15-23 As you may have discerned, the built-in special intention of this liturgy is the  unity of the Church . The collect and the readings come from the section of the Prayer Book lectionary that bears the label “Various Occasions”—or, in the terminology of liturgy geeks such as your bishop, “votive Masses.” Of course, it’s a little strange that we should have to pray for the unity of the Church, since the Church is none other than the risen, glorified, and quite intact Body of Christ. At one level, unity is a default feature of the Church; the Church is “hard wired” to be one. Of course, on another level, that isn’t how we experience it. We are, as the familiar hymn texts says, “by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed.” So we experience what I learned in my freshman year college psychology course to call “cognitive dissonance.” We affirm something as being real that we actually experience as being a fantasy. In response to

Thursday (Robert Grosseteste)

On campus at Nashotah by 8am for Sung Mattins in St Mary's Chapel. Met until 3:45, breaking for lunch, with the members of the Living Church Foundation (the larger entity from which members of the Board of Directors, which met yesterday, at chosen). After spending the morning on some rather technical work amending bylaws, the afternoon focused on the future, with some invigorating brainstorming about possible future directions for this venerable ministry that has served the church with dedication since 1878. At mealtimes, breaks, and walking between events, I had several informal sidebar conversations with other TLC foundation members, Nashotah faculty and administrators, and students. I pulled the YFNBmobile onto Mission Road right before 4pm, and into my garage in Springfield at 8:45. Grateful for traveling mercies. 


Breakfast at the Hilton Garden, since they make great omelets, and breakfast is included in my room rate. Morning Prayer and Mass in the chapel at Nashotah House. Living Church board meeting from about 9:30 until 3:00, with a break for lunch.  Informal conversations with board members and staff; minimal processing of email. Evensong at 4:30. Drinks and appetizers for Living Church Foundation members, senior staff, and Nashotah faculty and spouses at the deanery,. Dunner for the same group, in Adams Hall. Informal presentation by two faculty members on the history of Nashotah's involvement in the Catholic revival of Anglicanism in America.


Board members and senior staff from Forward Movement gathered for Eucharist at 9am, and moved from there into the remaining items on our agenda. After a break for lunch (during which I took a brief walk and discovered the Rockwellesque square and surrounding neighborhood of the Village of Glendale), we concluded a little but past 3pm. I was on the road about 15 minutes later. After regaining the hour I lost to a time zone Sunday night, I arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn in Oconomowoc, WI around 9:30, some 450 miles through parts of four states. Ready now for the Living Church Foundation tomorrow and Thursday at Nashotah House.

Monday (William Tyndale)

With a late arrival last night in Shelbyville, IN, eating a timezone in the process, and only an 80 miles drive to my destination,  allowed myself a leisurely morning and wasn't on the road until 10:30. Arrived (through pretty heavy rain the whole way) at the Transfiguration Spirituality Center in the quiet Cincinnati suburb of Glendale right in time for the noon start to the fall meeting of the Forward Movement board of directors. Spent the afternoon and early evening on our agenda, with a break of an hour or so before dinner. We will continue through most of the day tomorrow.

The Lord's Day (XVII Pentecost)

On the road with Brenda at 7:45, aiming to be in Carlinville in plenty of time for the regular 9:15 liturgy at St Paul's. It was a happy time. Beyond confirming one and receiving one, it was the debut Sunday for a fine new organist, who did a superb job. Rested up and attended to a few small household projects in the afternoon. Took a walk on a beautiful fall day. Packed at got back on the road a 7, headed for Shelbyville, Indiana, where I am bedding down for the night ahead of a drive to Cincinnati tomorrow for the fall meeting of the Forward Movement board.

Sermon for Proper 22

St Paul's, Carlinville -- Matthew 21:33-43 , Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:7-14 What feelings does the word “warning” evoke for you? I would bet they are not positive. You get home, and there’s a notice from the electric company on your doorknob: “Warning! Your service will be shut off in three days unless you pay your bill.” You’re likely to feel some combination of fear and anger. You look in the mailbox, and there’s a letter from your doctor’s office: “Warning! Your test results put you at risk of a stroke.” Again, the stomach acid starts flowing. But suppose you then walk into the house, and your spouse says, “Honey, I’ve got bad news and good news. The bad news is, I got pulled over for speeding. The good news is, the officer let me off with just a warning!” Now that’s when the word “warning” brings a sigh of relief, right? Actually, a warning is a good thing, when we look at it in the light of cool rationality. I recently attended a conference that featured a bunch of, shal