Showing posts from January, 2015


The microbes that lie in wait this time of year, seeking someone to devour, have had their patience rewarded, and I am theirs. Trying to forestall the devouring part. I had intended to join the Commission on Ministry for their pretty much all day meeting, but it seemed good to us (and, presumably, to the Holy Spirit) that I should deliver myself of some essential information that they needed to do their work well, and then be on my way. So I did, and then I was. Mild fever, hacking cough, modest sinus pressure. Not the worst I've ever been, for sure, but I look forward to putting it behind me. Aside from doing my thrice-weekly four loads of laundry, I have endeavored to take it very easy. 

Friday (Charles Stuart, King & Martyr)

Usual AM routine; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared for, and then attended, a meeting in my office with Nichole Del Giorno, the new cathedral organist. Our purpose was to plan the music for Palm Sunday, the Triduum, and Easter Day, and we succeeded in about 90 minutes. She is a joy to work with. Spoke by phone at some length with the Dean-elect (for two more days) of Nashotah House over two matters--one having to do with troubled waters, and one merely practical. Plus a couple of other smaller things.  Disassembled some old sermon material for Epiphany V and began the process of reworking it for use at St Paul's, Pekin on February 8. Attended the midday Mass in the cathedral chapel, celebrated by the Archdeacon, in commemoration of his favorite saints, the blessed martyr Charles Stuart, King. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Took care of a bit of administrivia pertaining to the March meeting of the House of Bishops.  Laid out the broad strokes of an article for the Covenan


Felt "something coming on" last night, and woke up definitely not at 100%, so I dispensed myself from my customary Thursday workout.  Task organization at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared to celebrate and preach the noon liturgy (a votive Mass of the Holy Eucharist). Spoke by phone at considerable length with the Secretary of the Nashotah House Board of Trustees over an emergent issue. More drama than either of us would have liked (not in our conversation, but in the situation!). Met with Fr Halt and Fr Francis about a more coordinated approach to mission in McLean County. Excited to see people taking our strategic vision and running with it. Noticed that my crozier had been returned by Almy during my meeting, so I took the time to unpack and inspect it. Looks good. Reported for duty at the cathedral chapel, but discovered Fr Stormer already vested and ready to go. Obviously some wires crossed somewhere. So I just made myself part of the congregation fo

Wednesday (Ss Timothy & Titus)

Just finishing a couple of days of quasi-personal time. Brenda and I rode the train to Chicago yesterday morning and back this afternoon. The primary purpose was to attend a performance of Tosca  by the Chicago Lyric Opera last night (it was splendid). But since the northbound train had wifi, I worked most of the way up, processing several emails, taking a phone call, and checking a couple of administrative items off the to-do list. In the afternoon, I had some business to take care of with a vestment supplier, which, to my surprise, concluded quite happily. This morning we spent some quality time at the Art Institute, which is always a boon to the soul. Exposing ourselves to live art--both musical and visual--takes some intentional proactivity, but is invariably worth the effort and time. No wifi on the way home today, which allowed me to continue my way through St Gregory the Great's classic tome Pastoral Care . I am finding it a treasure trove of sound reflection and advice.

Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Up and out in time to retrieve Bishop Godfrey from his hotel right at 6:30am and then head north to Lincoln. I presided at the 7:30 Eucharist and he preached. Between services, he showed some slides to a group of interested parishioners about the ministry of the Diocese of Peru. Takeaway line: "We don't just serve the poor; we are the poor." Indeed the growing Anglican presence in Peru is happening among those whom the more "native" Roman Catholic Church seems to be ignoring or overlooking or taking for granted. There's one community of 80,000 people--the highest city in the world, at an altitude of 18,500 feet--where the diocese of planting what will be the first church in town, of any brand or stripe. At the later liturgy, Bishop Godfrey again preached, while I presided and confirmed two adults. After a repast in the parish hall, we returned to Springfield for some down time before gathering again for dinner in our home, along with Archdeacon Shawn and Ma


Retrieved Bishop Godfrey from his hotel and brought him to our home for a leisurely breakfast. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about his ministry in the Diocese of Peru, which has burgeoned under the last 17 years of his leadership and is now on the brink of qualifying to become an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. Eventually we headed to the cathedral-office complex, where I showed him around and was able to explain our mown mission strategy. Then it was off to the Lincoln Museum, an obligatory element in the welcome Springfield residents give to out-of-town guests. It was my third time there, and I've never failed to be profoundly moved by the experience. After some down time in the late afternoon, we gathered back downtown with Fr Mark Evans and Sandy Moore, who represented the diocese on a visit to Peru in April 2013. We had a lovely dinner, and look forward to seeing them again tomorrow morning at Trinity, Lincoln.

Friday (Phillips Brooks)

Usual AM routine; MP in the cathedral. Attended to some detritus from last night's cathedral Chapter meeting; trying hard to call their next Provost. Met with the new cathedral music director, Nicole DelGiorno. I think they'll be in good hands, and I look forward to working with her. Continued to attend to details of the upcoming Nashotah House trustees meeting. Made some incremental progress in the task of rearticulating the nature of the ministry of deacons in the Diocese of Springfield, and launching an intentional effort to recruit more diaconal vocations. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Hand wrote my notes to clergy and spouses with nodal events in February. Scanned, catalogued, and otherwise dealt with the small mountain of hard copy items that had accumulated in my physical inbox. Purged my credenza of anything that didn't really need to be kept around. Friday prayer: Lectio divina on tomorrow Daily Office OT passage from Isaiah 45. Evening Prayer in the cathedr

Thursday (St Vincent of Saragossa)

Customary Thursday morning weights and treadmill. Morning Prayer in the cathedral.  Arranged a meeting with the new cathedral organist, who starts this Sunday. As St Paul's faces a pastoral hiatus, and I will myself be doing the liturgical heavy lifting for Holy Week, she and I will be working closely together. Attended, mostly via email, to some emerging Nashotah House issues as we face into a special winter trustees meeting week after next. Attended via email to a clergy deployment issue, and then a pastoral/administrative issue. Cobbled together a rough draft of a homily for Ash Wednesday, using some pre-existing material, which I will delivered at the community Eucharist at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA. Walked two blocks to Julia's Southern Kitchen for lunch with John Roth, my ELCA opposite number. Bishop Roth and I have a lot in common, and it was a good time of sharing. Being able to talk to someone who is, at least roughly, a peer is invaluable. Ed

Wednesday (St Agnes)

Usual AM routine: task planning at home; MP in cathedral. Prepared for the midday Mass. Took care of a bit of financial administration via email. Spent some quality time with commentaries on the Gospel according to Mark in preparation to preach on the Second Sunday in Lent, at St Bartholomew's, Granite City. This is not always necessarily an extraordinarily rich experience, but it was today. Wish I had more time for personal scripture study just for its own sake, but I'm glad having to preach forces me to do it. (Early start on this one because of insane travel schedule in February.) Took a vigorous walk (the only kind possible in cold weather) up around the capitol (opposite direction as yesterday). Celebrated and preached the midday Mass, keeping the lesser feast of St Agnes, a twelve-year old martyr in Rome in the last general wave of persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. :Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Took a phone call from a priest who was responding

Tuesday (St Fabian)

Substantial weekly task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Conferred with the Archdeacon over an emerging matter of interest. Three email responses: one to a search committee chair, one to a priest outside the diocese (permission to reprint something I wrote), one to the Dean-elect of Nashotah House. Took a brisk walk down Second to South Grand, then back up on Spring. Prepared and sent an email to the Nashotah House trustees with several issues concerning next months' special winter board meeting in Sarasota. Lunch at home (leftovers). Wrote an email message to one of our priests asking for a phone conversation. Met with Fr Mark Evans, first to discuss my visit to his parish this Sunday, and secondly to discuss progress in his work as Finance Department Chair as we take steps to process Jim Donkins' impending retirement as Treasurer and financial officer. Another hard walk: this one north on Second to the other end of the Capitol Building, then over t

Epiphany II

Out the door (solo; Brenda had an another organ gig at the cathedral) at 7:15 in time to join the good people of Christ the King, Normal in their parish hall for breakfast. After a good and leisurely time visiting with them, I presided and preached at the regular 10:15 celebration of the Eucharist. I then stayed for their annual parish meeting. This is a Eucharistic Community that faces some daunting challenges, but they do so with an exemplary level of spiritual maturity and mission-focused commitment. Home around 2:30.

Sermon for Epiphany II

Christ the King, Normal -- John 1:43-51 , I Samuel 3:1-10 One of the forms of play that we all engaged in as children, is a guessing game.  Something is a secret—usually the location of a hidden object or person. One or more of the players knows the answer to the secret and      one or more of the players try to guess the answer. Those who know the secret are allowed to assist those who don't by saying "You're getting warmer" if they're moving closer to the goal and "You're getting colder" if they're straying further away. With the help of these clues, the riddle is eventually solved, and the next round begins. As I reflect on my day-to-day experience as an adult, I'm aware that I am profoundly influenced by variations on this essential children's guessing game. The clues—"you're getting warmer / you're getting colder"—are more subtle for adults. They make use of various code words and symbols. But the basic rul

Saturday (St Antony)

I've been off the grid for the last couple of days because of travel. I flew down to Texas to pick the brains of two individuals--Canon Victoria Heard, who oversees church planting for the Diocese of Dallas, and Carrie Boren Headington, who is their Evangelism Officer. I've been wanting to do this for quite some time, and was actually scheduled to do so in the spring of 2013 when a whole bunch of travel plants were cast aside in favor of having heart surgery. It was an immensely worthwhile endeavor. I shared the grand schema was have developed for our mission strategy in Springfield and received their candid feedback, which is mostly supportive. I learned a whole bunch more about church planting than I previously new and came away with several concrete tools for helping our Eucharistic Communities strategize for mission in their geographic parishes. I met with two of the successful church planters in the Diocese of Dallas, as well as spending some time with their cathedral dean

Wednesday (St Kentigern, aka Mungo)

Took are of some routine monthly calendar tasks, and began preparing for the noon Mass (had to bone up on St Kentigern, founder of Glasgow) while still at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Continued and completed Mass preparations. Prayed over and took an initial pass at the readings for Lent II, which I will have to preach on St Paul's, Pekin. (Yes, when I do a from-scratch sermon, there's a long gestation period.) Attended to some chores that will eventually collude to make corporate worship happen at the pre-Lenten clergy retreat next month. One of them involved dusting off my familiarity with a music publishing app called Finale, which sucked up a disproportionate amount of time. Presided and preached at the midday liturgy. Lunch from La Bamba ("burritos as big as your head," but I had a smaller one), eaten at home. Responded to a few fresh emails before re-engaging preparation for delivering three addresses at the clergy retreat. Met for an hour or

Tuesday (St Hilary)

Since last night ended with Brenda's car stranded halfway down our driveway because of its inability to climb past the sheet of ice the pavement had become, I got up, back the vehicle onto the street, and headed to Ace in the (AWD) YFNBmobile to procure some sand and salt. After treating the driveway with said products, I headed into the office, offering the short form of Morning Prayer on my drive. Conferred with the Archdeacon on a slowly emerging but substantive administrative and pastoral concern. Attempted to speak by phone with a new member of the Nashotah House board (the rector of a very prominent parish), but had to settle for his Executive Assistant and an email. Via email and phone, took care of some of the logistical details pertaining to a short-notice visit to the diocese from the Bishop of Peru (one of our companion dioceses). I think we're in good shape to welcome him. Via Google+ video hangout, received tutorial instruction in some of the finer points of w

First Sunday after the Epiphany (Baptism of Christ)

As this was a rare open day on my visitation calendar, the cathedral is always my default. I preached at the 8am celebration and preached and presided at 10:30. Fr Tucker was most gracious to allow me to simply “drop in” (though I did give him about three weeks notice!). 

Sermon: Epiphany I (Baptism of Christ)

Springfield Cathedral -- Mark 1:7-11 , Isaiah 42:1-9, Acts 10:34-38 “Diversity” is a politically loaded word these days. But behind all the turmoil is the simple reality that people are different. Among those who gather for worship at St Paul’s today, there is diversity. We come from different ethnic and family backgrounds. We are of different ages and have had different life experiences. Some have multiple college degrees; others haven’t even started school yet. Some live on the edge of, or in, poverty; others are financially quite well-off. Some are sick and dying; others are in the peak of health. Some tend to vote Democratic, some tend to vote Republican; others don’t know or don’t care. Some are very secure in their commitment to Jesus Christ and his Church; others are spiritually uncertain, and in a searching and inquiring frame of mind. But in spite of all this diversity, there is one experience that binds the great majority of us together. Most of us have been baptized

Saturday (William Laud)

Today's agenda was simple but substantive: Drive to Champaign to attend a special workshop for clergy and wardens. The presenter was Fr Jay Sidebotham, representing R enewal Works , a spiritual revitalization ministry under the aegis of Forward Movement. My hope is that several parishes of the diocese will go through the survey and workshop phases of this process this fall. Back to Springfield around 4:00. Stopped by the cathedral to render some technical assistance to Brenda, who is filling in there tomorrow and next Sunday as organist. Oddly, she's a way better musician than I am, but I know more about organs, generically.


Morning Prayer in my office. (Cathedral being prepped for a funeral.) Roughed in some substantive revisions to a "previously owned" sermon text, rehabbed for use on January 18 at Christ the King, Normal.  Spoke at some length by phone with a priest of the diocese over an emerging pastoral/human relations concern. Spoke at some length by phone with another priest of the diocese who has been geographically non-resident for five years but for whom I am still canonically responsible. Read and responded to a couple of Ember Day letters from postulants. Worked with Western Union online to transmit a small discretionary fund donation to a priest in a dangerous-for-Christians part of the world to help him with a particular project. Actually impressed with what Western Union has made possible. Lunch from KFC, eaten at home. Plotted all my sermon prep tasks from the beginning of Lent through Trinity Sunday. This involves looking at each date and determining whether there's


Very enjoyable three days and four nights in the Orlando, Florida area with Brenda and some members of my extended family (including some Brazilians). It was warm there. It's cold here. Back to reality. Customary Thursday AM weights and treadmill workout. Task planning and Morning Prayer at home. Culled hard copy items that arrived in my absence. Signed forms transferring clergy to/from canonical residence in the diocese--one inbound, one outbound.  Spoke by phone at some length with a priest of the diocese over an emerging pastoral/missional issue. Spoke by phone with the Secretary of the Nashotah House trustees over an administrative and human relations issue. Spoke by phone with another priest of the diocese over an administrative and human relations issue. Made the necessary preparations to preside and preach at the midday cathedral Eucharist. Spoke by phone with a lay leader in one of our parishes over an issue of continuing concern. Spoke by phone with yet another


Still taking things at a dialed-back holiday pace ... stopped by the cathedral-office complex to retrieve some vestments, say some prayers, interact briefly with three people, listen to some voicemail and respond by email ... visited Fr Gus Franklin in St John's Hospital, where he's recovering well from major surgery earlier in the week ... a few personal errands ... by mid-afternoon, it was time to pack the YFNBmobile with appropriate paraphernalia and point it east in the direction of Champaign. After depositing our son and his wife at the Amtrak station for their trip back home to Chicago, all the action was at Emmanuel, where it was great fun to ordain Cameron Nations to the transitional diaconate. We were back home at 10:45, a decent hour. Tomorrow, the National Weather Service and the FAA permitting, our plan is to fly to the Orlando area for some extended family time until the middle of next week. We'll see you again in this venue on Thursday the 8th.

Sermon for the Ordination of Cameron Nations

Emmanuel, Champaign -- John 1:19-28 It’s a true joy, as always, to be at Emmanuel, and especially at this time of year, when everything is done up so beautifully. But it is particularly energizing to be present at an event like an ordination—a liminal time, a pivotal moment, a chronological hinge in the life of Cameron Nations, and also, although perhaps not quite so visibly, a real moment of transition in the life of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic church scattered throughout the world. So it’s a time of excitement and joy and, I would imagine, some measure of relief—though I would be remiss to completely omit any mention of the specter of the General Ordination Exams that lurks outside in the parking lot somewhere, not quite welcome here in the church! But it would also be remiss of me to completely omit any mention of the fact that there’s a certain, shall we say, structural ambiguity about exactly what we’re doing tonight. The program says that we’re ordaining a deacon