Showing posts from March, 2015

Holy Tuesday

Weekly task planning at home. More than I will ever have time to accomplish this week. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Responded to a voicemail with an email. Conferred with the Treasurer and the Archdeacon over an emerging financial/administrative situation in one of our parishes. Followed up with an email to arrange a meeting. Made some last minute adjustments to the bulletin for the Maundy Thursday liturgy at the cathedral. Emailed it to Bonnie, then stepped next door to discuss it with her. Spoke by phone with the Bishop of Peru. The way is now clear to make travel plans to be there in July in order to participate in the consecration of new bishops for what is slated to be a new province of the Anglican Communion. Reviewed a draft of a revised charter and statutes for Nashotah House. Made some notations and sent them along to the consultant who is helping us with this project. Attended the midday Mass in the cathedral chapel. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Attended

Palm Sunday

Presided and preached at two quite well-attended liturgies at St Paul's Cathedral in Springfield. As circumstances have developed, last year at this time we were between the untimely death of the last permanent priest to serve there and the arrival of the interim. This year we are between the departure of the interim and the arrival of the next Provost. Each time it has been my joyful duty to step in and do the liturgical and sacramental (and, to be honest, pastoral and administrative) heavy lifting during Holy Week. It's fun, but it will be exhausting. This photo is of the reading of the Passion according to St Mark at the 10:30 celebration.

Sermon for Palm Sunday

St Paul's Cathedral -- Psalm 22:1-11 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” This is the refrain (literally, perhaps, depending on how we do the liturgy) that haunts us today and during this entire week. Even though Psalm 22 was written probably around a thousand years before Christ, the gospel evangelists put it on his lips as he hangs on the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And are so far from my cry, and from the words of my distress?” The whole passage is almost unbearably poignant: crying day and night without answer; being laughed at, scorned, and derided, acutely aware that trouble is near, but there is none to help. Suffering is endemic to the human condition. Nobody escapes it completely, except perhaps those who die suddenly in very early infancy. Whether it’s a scraped knee or a knife in the gut, whether it’s a schoolyard insult or libelous humiliation for all to see on the internet; whether it’s a friend standing you up for a coffee dat


Up early (for a Saturday). Weights and treadmill. Out the door to the cathedral complex around 9:15.  Many of the details of the Chrism Mass were necessarily left for the pretty much the last minute--namely drafting people for particular jobs. It all got done in good order. Presided at the annual Mass of Chrism, at which the clergy renew their ordination vows and the oils used in baptism and the anointing of the sick are blessed. Fr Dave Halt delivered an excellent homily. Joined the clergy and spouses for lunch in the Roundhouse. Spent the next two hours getting back in touch with how much work is required, dealing with a mountain of details, to make a major extraordinary liturgy like Palm Sunday happen in a seemingly effortless fashion. Kudos to the cathedral Altar Guild, with whom I co-labored much of the time. When I got home a little past 3:00, I was running on empty. Mindless television was called for to recharge my batteries.

Friday (Charles Henry Brent)

The cathedral area was already a beehive of activity by the time I arrived, so Morning Prayer happened in the office, and even then, not without interruptions. Conferred with Bonnie in the cathedral office, took some of the load off her desk and got her pointed in a good direction with respect to what was left. Helped a couple of members of the Altar Guild with the beginning preparation for reconfiguring the liturgical space for the Chrism Mass and Holy Week. Got started on laying the broad strokes for my next editorial deadline on the Covenant blog. Met with Nichol del Giorno, cathedral music director, to review some Chrism Mass and Holy Week details. Returned to the cathedral to continue with the necessary furniture moving and related preparations. Finished my Covenant blog project. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Began to look at some Nashotah House materials in early preparation for May's board meeting. Ran off to an appointment with my cardiologist, following up on the dra


After several interruptions due to travel or illness, back to the Thursday morning weights and treadmill routine. One does lose some ground when one doesn't keep up. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Conferred with Bonnie in the cathedral office over the several service programs that need to be produced. Continued to work on the bulletin for the Palm Sunday main liturgy, stymied by one technical difficulty after another. Technology is not always my friend. Made travel arrangements to attend a Living Church Foundation board meeting in Dallas next month. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Took care of task related to this summer's St Michael's Youth Conference. Worked on the bulletin for Maundy Thursday. Again, inordinately time-consuming due to it not being a routine task. Spent some more quality time with the readings for the Third Sunday of Easter, when it will be my privilege to preach at the Chapel of St John the Divine in Champaign. Have a clear path to a message now. A


Task planning at home. Way more in the queue for this week than I will be able to accomplish. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Met with Bonnie Roberts, the cathedral office manager, to talk about issues related to the service bulletins for the Chrism Mass, Palm Sunday, and Holy Week. Brought my working notes for tonight's Lenten teaching series from "rough" to "polished." Worked on the bulletin for the early Palm Sunday liturgy at the cathedral; delivered it to Bonnie via email. Rushed off to an appointment with a dermatologist at Springfield Clinic. I've been having some skin irritation issues that seem to be traceable to a reaction to the gel used in an echocardiogram procedure a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully we have a handle on it now, but it's been tricky. Began the work of refining and polishing my homily for this Sunday. Attended Mass in the cathedral chapel for the feast of the Annunciation or Our Lady. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Complet


Back from Arizona yesterday--tanned (well, a tad burned, actually) and relaxed. Good time. Task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Brief word with the Treasurer on an administrative matter. Debriefed with a Archdeacon on a couple of ongoing "situations." Called the blood bank to see if a certain prescription I'm temporarily on precludes me from donating. It does. Appointment rescheduled. After failing to find his phone number (which is weird, because we exchanged text messages several times in late January, but they seem to have disappeared from the record), composed and sent an email to Bishop Godfrey of our companion Diocese of Peru. Took care of six relatively quick pastoral/administrative matters via email. Got to work in earnest on the program for this Saturday's Mass of Chrism. Things that were second nature to me when I was in parish work no longer are, so it was more time-consuming than it ought to have been. Lunch from Taco Gringo,

St Joseph

Between the Standing Committee of the diocese as it was constituted in 2010, and the calendar of the Presiding Bishop, it was decided that St Joseph would be the patron of my episcopate, as I was consecrated on this day four years ago. St Joseph was the guardian of the BVM, who is the prototype of the Church. Following the patron of my episcopate, I endeavor to be a guardian of the Church. Still feeling like a round peg in a round hole, and grateful to the faithful of the diocese for placing their trust in me. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Briefly took care of an administrative concern with the Archdeacon. Prepared to celebrate and preach at the midday liturgy. Met with the Office Manager and Treasurer of the cathedral on a couple of imminent concerns. Met with Connie Lynn, cathedral Altar Guild directress, to go over some details of the Chrism Mass and Holy Week. Attended to a small detail pertaining to the videography of my Lenten series in O'Fallon. Attended to some

Wednesday (St Cyril of Jerusalem)

Mostly a travel day. After breakfast at Kanuga, packed my stuff and hung out on the reception lounge processing emails and take care of a handful of to-do items. Then it was time to board a shuttle to Asheville Regional Airport. There were probably a dozen to fifteen bishops on the 1:09 departure to Atalanta. Made my connection there and arrived in St Louis a little past 4:00. By the time I got to my car and waded through thick late-afternoon traffic, I was right on time for the Wednesday Lenten program at St Michael's, O'Fallon. Home around 9:30, for which I was immensely grateful.

Tuesday (St Patrick)

Well, that's a wrap. Day 5 of the House of Bishops .


And now the moment we've all be waiting for ... Day 4 .

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Curious about Day 3 of the House of Bishops? Satisfy your curiosity right here .


Day Two HOB in the can. Check it out here .

Friday (James T. Holley)

See here for Day One of the House of Bishops.


Up and out of my St Louis hotel around 5:30am, in time for a short drive to STL, parking, catching a shuttle, checking in, and clearing security ahead of a 7:05 departure for Atlanta, and thence to Asheville, NC. All went smoothly, except that there were a dozen or so bishops on the last leg, so ... you know ... if something had happened.  After assembling on the curb near baggage claim, where we waited for our ride, it was about 2:00 by the time I was registered and got my room key at the camp and conference center known as Kanuga. Spend the afternoon and evening in informal conversation with colleagues, helping Brenda with a project via email, texting, and Facetime, did some reading in church history oriented toward a specific practical purpose, and grabbed a nap. Work begins tomorrow.


Back to a regular weekday workday routine: task planning--and a bit of task  doing --while still at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Dealt via email and brief in-person meeting with several liturgical planning details for Holy Week at the cathedral. Returned a phone message from one of our lay leaders.  Debriefed with the Archdeacon on a couple of administrative matters. Small administrivia re the "big" House of Bishops meeting this week and the mere provincial HOB meeting next month. Developed, refined, and printed working notes for next Wednesday's Lenten series presentation in O'Fallon. Kept an appointment with my primary care physician to follow up on the weekend's drama. Lunch from Long John Silver's (what can I say? there it was, right on my way home), eaten at home. Packed for a week away from home. Met with one of our lay leaders regarding some ongoing issues in a parish. Assembled and delivered via Dropbox the JPEG files my late brot


The original plan was that, having seen an opera in Chicago last night, Brenda and I would spend some quality time at the Chicago Art Institute (one of our favorite haunts) this morning, catch the 1:45pm Texas Eagle, and get back to Springfield in time for dinner. But because of the sudden decline of my health over the weekend, that trip never happened. I lay very low yesterday, and was still pretty sick--fever, chills, general severe malaise (that old "run over by a truck" feeling). Slept a lot. But, after a pretty good night, I felt a great deal better this morning--virtually normal, in fact. I have an appointment to see my doctor tomorrow morning, but, unless she strongly cautions otherwise, I hope to re-engage my calendar, make my scheduled appearance at St Michael's, O'Fallon in the evening, and fly to North Carolina Thursday morning for six days of the House of Bishops. That's the plan, at any rate, but I have learned, with difficulty, that plans are subject

Third Sunday in Lent

Havana, IL is a quaintly adorable sleepy river town, and St Barnabas' Church there is an honest-to-goodness gem of a building, and there are great people in that community But this morning's visit was the strangest ever, as, after delivering myself of the homily linked herewith, I had to sit down and ask the priest-in-charge to continue with the liturgy. I felt like I might keel over at the altar. Brenda drove home. Canceling travel plans to Chicago tomorrow for the opera. I need to lie very, very low.

Sermon for Lent III

St Barnabas', Havana --Psalm 19:7-14, Exodus 20:1-17 After the Vietnam War was over, and the U.S. military stopped inducting draftees, the Selective Service System nevertheless remained in business, and the requirement that young men register for the draft when they turn 18 was never repealed. Apparently, however, there was a popular misimpression to the contrary, and the government bureaucrats in charge of such things were alarmed at the level of noncompliance. So they resorted to desperate measures, and retained the services of an advertising agency. The resulting campaign was run for several years—on television, on radio, and in print. There were several different scenarios that set up the situation, but the punch line was always the same: “It’s not just a good idea, it’s the LAW.” It’s the law. Those words can evoke different responses in different people. In some, they call forth humble compliance, a submission to something larger than oneself, a realization that the ru

Saturday (Ss Perpetua & Felicity)

One never plans on a day like I had today, but, in the larger scheme of things, I was well-timed, in that my "real" life has been only minimally disrupted.  Ever since my surgery two years ago to replace my aortic valve, I've had some ongoing mild "chest discomfort" symptoms. I've discussed them with my cardiologist, and only yesterday my new primary care physician and I charted a course to figure it all out. Yesterday afternoon, however, I developed a new twist on my symptoms, something I haven't experienced before. So I decided this morning to check it out at urgent care. As part of that process, they did an EKG, the results of which tripped a decision matrix, and the "standard of care" was for me to be shipped to the ER ... in an ambulance, no less. Once there, they drew blood for the usual cardiac enzyme test ... one of the steps in diagnosing a heart attack. But they have to draw blood twice, four hours apart, and compare the chang


Task planning and Morning Prayer at home. First appointment to break in a new primary care physician. She is curious and has a sense of humor, so I think we'll get along. That she may be younger than my own daughters is another matter entirely. Took care of a bit of administrivia pertaining to the cathedral. Via web and phone, attended to an issue involving my Chicago (CTA Ventra) transit card, which I do use most every time I'm in that area. Good customer service experience. Issue resolved. In my capacity as "temporary parish priest" at the cathedral during Holy Week, where it looks like there will be nobody else in Holy Orders suited up and ready for duty, I did some of the heavy lifting that I hope will lead eventually to a service leaflet for Palm Sunday. Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. Did my "rough prep" for the fourth Lenten Wednesday at St Michael's, O'Fallon--March 18. Took a first prayerful pass at the appointed readings for Ea


Back to my customary Thursday morning weight and treadmill workout. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Once in a while, something takes way too long. Today was one of those days, and the culprit was the task of rounding up and sending on to the cathedral music director some items for Holy Week that I had promised her. Some electronic files that I thought I had, I apparently no longer have. Took my whole morning. Lunch from ChiTown's Finest (Italian beef), eaten at home. Took a first prayerful pass at the readings for the Third Sunday of Easter, in preparation for preaching at the Chapel of St John the Divine in Champaign. Took care of an important piece of business pertaining to this summer's first scheduled St Michael's Youth Conference in the diocese. Read some materials in preparation for one component of next week's House of Bishops meeting. Fleshed out, refined, and printed my working notes for next week's Lenten teaching series session at St Michael'


Daily task planning at home. Made a few technical preparations for being able to record on video my presentation this evening in O'Fallon. Morning Prayer at home. Composed and sent a message via email to an individual in the early stages of the ordination discernment process laying out some specific near term steps in that journey. Met for the better part of an hour via Skype with the Dean of Nashotah House and a consultant retained by the trustees to assist with reworking our governance procedures. Met for an hour and twenty minutes with a priest regarding some ongoing pastoral and administrative issues. The Archdeacon was in on part of this meeting. Lunch at home; leftovers. Attended to some administrative followup related to the late morning meeting. Kept a phone appointment with a priest to discuss how a particular individual's gifts might be deployed for the sake of the mission of the diocese. Worked on my homily for Palm Sunday. Identified a central theme from m

Tuesday (John & Charles Wesley)

Weekly task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Conferred with the Archdeacon regarding one of our parishes in transition. Reviewed a credit card statement to make sure expenses were properly categorized. Spoke briefly by phone with the Chancellor on an administrative procedural question. Met with (soon to be retiring) Treasurer Jim Donkin to discuss some of the larger conceptual issues surrounding diocesan finances, as we discern how to proceed in the wake of his departure. Began drafting some content for the website, which will soon be repurposed as front page material for the next issue of the  Current . Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Got back to work on the aforementioned website article. Kept a phone appointment with one of our clergy to discuss an individual in the early stages of the ordination discernment process. Returned to the website article, this time bringing to a conclusion and pressing "Publish." Made arrangements to obtain s

Second Sunday in Lent

Awake and up at 5am to take stock of the weather situation. There was about a foot of snow on the driveway and it was still coming down. All the roads between Springfield and the Metro East area were colored red on IDOT's website, which means "100% covered with ice and/or snow." So, with reluctance, I made the decision not to set out for my scheduled visitation to St Bartholomew's, Granite City. A text message to Fr Clavier, and the deed was done. In due course, I got behind a snow blower and cleared the driveway, so Brenda and I could be pew sitters at a very sparsely attended 10:30 Eucharist at St Paul's Cathedral. In nearly four years of the doing the bishop thing, this is the first time weather has prevented me from making a visitation. I was not amused. The afternoon and evening were devoted to completing and posting a long and substantive blog post on reconciliation among Anglicans, stimulated by time spent with some U.S. and Canadian bishops last week, to