Showing posts from June, 2015

Ss Peter & Paul

Back to the barely-civilized routine of 7:30am committee meetings.  See all the gory details of the legislative day here . Before the morning legislative session, I met briefly with three Deputies, who, like me, were "raised up" by St Timothy's in Salem, Oregon. I was gone before any of them arrived in the parish, so I never knew them in that context. But there are actually even more of us floating around; St Tim's was a real "priest factory" for a while. I had lunch with the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Dorsey McConnell, whose sense of humor is developed to about the nth degree, which is truly a tonic in an environment like this. Immediately following the afternoon legislative session was the bishops and spouses dinner. To be honest, the timing was not the greatest. After what transpired in the afternoon, these were not the people I was most interested in spending an evening with. Nonetheless, there were many enjoyable moments. In general, the d

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

In deference, perhaps, to this being the Lord's Day, there was nothing on the official convention agenda until the 10a Eucharist. ( See here  for observations about the liturgy, the sermon, and the afternoon legislative session.) Bishops were to report to our assigned territory at 9:15 to vest in rochet and chimere and process solemnly into the worship hall. It must have been a sight to behold (which I was not quite able to do, since I was part of it). Following the liturgy, I engaged in further reputation and relationship repair in the wake of "tweet-gate" earlier this week. I had lunch with two alums of the General Convention Youth Presence, both of whom are now Deputies, and one ordained. We had a lively and cordial discussion over a range of issues. It was a rich and nourishing time. After the legislative session, Brenda and I went straight to a panel discussion sponsored by The Living Church on the subject of marriage redefinition, with erudite panelists rep


Usual 7:30-9:00 committee meeting and later after noon legislative session.  Get the details here. It was a momentous feeling as the entire congregation was invited to be seated at the conclusion of the Eucharist as all the bishops filed out to waiting buses for the short journey to the nave of St Mark's Cathedral. Once there, we did some singing, and the chaplains led us in prayer. Then the roll was called, just as it was at the opening session on Wednesday. This was to establish the number present and voting, and, hence, the number of votes needed for an election. We cast our ballots, and then just milled around for a bit, with most eventually making their way to the parish hall, where there was food and drink laid out for us. When I was about halfway through my ham sandwich, we were suddenly called back into the cathedral nave to hear the results of the first ballot. Once there, we were handed tally sheets with enough spaces for up to ten ballots. Then the Presiding Bishop


Another earlyish start to the day--7:30 committee meetings. See my account of all the substantive action here.   The highlight of the day for me was an opportunity to meet with about a dozen or so youth from the Dioceses of West Missouri and Kansas, along with three of their adult leaders. They were all involved in last night's Twitterstorm (though not themsleves part of the General Convention Youth Presence). It was a gracious and lively and generous conversation, and if there's any redeeming grace to come from my error in judgment in tweeting out what I did last night, it was found here. We prayed together, I gave them a blessing, and we left feeling like we had been visited by the Holy Spirit.  Lunch was a working meeting once again. I hosted the Communion Partner bishops in the suite Brenda and I are staying in, and Brenda arranged for room service to have lunch brought in. We discussed various tactical issues regarding upcoming legislation.  It was a great gift that


A more humane start to the day today--8am legislative sessions. There was no actual legislating done; just organizational formalities. In the HOB, this included a roll call of all living bishops, present or not. There is one still alive who was consecrated in 1951, the year of my birth. Another tradition is for each House to send a delegation to the other informing them that they are organized are ready to do business. The HOD sent us a team of about ten Deputies--all of whom were born in the 1990s. I have rarely felt so old! I'm not embarrassed to admit that, with the exception of Sunday, it has become my General Convention habit to avoid the daily celebration of the Eucharist. I'm simply healthier--physically, spiritually, and emotionally for doing so. I judge not one for either emulating or not emulating me for this. It's less than ideal, but I believe it's the best decision for me. At 11:15, it was back to committee work. As always, you can find a fuller accoun

Nativity of St John the Baptist

A 7:30am start time to a meeting is harsh and challenging. A 7:00 start time is inhumane and brutal. But I was at my place in the (cavernous) room set aside for Committee 11 right on time--glad, in this case, for the time zone setback that supposedly made it feel like 8:00 to my body. We met for 90 minutes, heard testimony on resolutions having to do with resources for music in small churches, translations of liturgical materials into other languages, and the like. Then we began the legislative sausage-making business, and voted to report out about a half dozen resolutions with an Adopt recommendation, save for one that would have asked the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to produce a series of essays on Christian initiation.  See details here.  At 9:00 we gather in the House of Deputies chamber for initial remarks from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. An hour later, the bishops adjourned to our own chamber for a lot a tedious but necessary


Up a little after 4am, on the road to SPI at 5, on board at 6, in Chicago by 7, on board again at 9, in Salt Lake City at 11:30 (Mountain Time(. Already a long day. Taxi to downtown hotel, room not ready yet, had lunch, wandered up to he Salt Palace (convention center), got registered, walked around the exhibit hall, saw lots and lots of people I know, got into our room at 3, got settled, crunched some emails, back to the (gargantuan) Salt Palace for a 5:30 meeting of Committee 11: Prayer Book , Liturgy, and Music. About 40 on the committee (larger than some state legislatures), and we take the time for the usual "go around the room" opening exercise, After some general announcements and instructions from the two co-chairs (one Deputy, one Bishop), we break up into subcommittees.. I am co-chair of the subcommittee on calendar. We will initially handle all resolution having to do with liturgical commemoration of individuals and events. While walking back to the hotel around 7:

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Thirteen hours out of the house, 400+ miles driven, two Masses celebrated, two sermons delivered, one young woman confirmed, one Cursillo weekend closed, several people greeted, hugged, or smiled at--all in a day's work, and I like it that way. Being who I am, I had a homily for today's propers "in the can" before the horrible event of this past week, but it was not hard to work it in as an example of the storm of Chaos and Evil that surrounds us, and into which Jesus speaks, "Peace. Be still."

Sermon for Proper 7

St Christopher's, Rantoul -- Mark 4:35-41 Everything was in chaos. The wind was blowing. Rain was falling. Waves were crashing. The small boat was in imminent danger of capsizing. And Jesus . . . Jesus was sleeping. “Master, wake up! We’re all about to die. Don’t you even care?” As long as human beings have told stories, and searched the world of nature for appropriate metaphors and symbols for our fears and passions and anxieties, the sea—particularly a stormy sea—has represented to us the terror of Chaos—the great abyss that threatens to swallow us up and absorb us in a great ocean of nothingness, devoid of meaning, devoid of hope, devoid of life. So, when we encounter stormy seas in our voyage through life, when we feel ourselves like those terrified disciples in a storm-tossed boat, it is sometimes difficult to sustain belief in God’s active and caring presence with us. When we read about wars and famines and earthquakes and hostage taking and tidal waves and droug


Awoke in my Columbia, IL hotel room, and, as sometimes happens, it took me an uncomfortably long time, staring out the window, to recollect where I was and what day it was and what was expected of me next. But that was just a couple of moments. In due course I reported to Toddhall in time to be prayed over by the Palanca team (what a wonderful tradition of ministry this is) and then present the Sacraments rollo (Cursillo-speak for "talk") for the weekend. After a break, there was some Q & A with the candidates and team members. Then we walked over to St Cecilia's Chapel for a celebration of the Eucharist, at which I presided and preached. With that concluded, I pointed the YFNBmobile northward, arriving home around 2:30. After a good, hard nap, I attacked some of the less mentally-demanding items still remaining on my task list for the week before going out to dinner with Brenda (Smokey Bones). 


I'm not a statement-maker on current events (it usually strikes me as pretentious when my colleagues do it), but, since I have a DEPO relationship with a parish in Charleston, and with an email nudge from one of my clergy, I took the time while still at home to post something on the website and share it on social media.   Morning Prayer in the cathedral.  I'm celebrating Mass, and preaching, both tomorrow and Sunday at this year's Cursillo weekend, so I prayed over the relevant readings and put some thoughts together in my head.  I'm also preaching at the cathedral in Lima (Peru) on July, so I did the same thing with respect to that occasion. This one, however, I till take the time to flesh out more fully when I get back from General Convention.  Watched the video presentations of each of the four candidates for Presiding Bishop. I believe they all love the Lord Jesus sincerely and endeavor to be his disciples. Three of them have rather too much "it's G

Thursday (Bernard Mizeki)

Early morning treadmill workout (laying the weights aside until there's a stretch when I can be consistent with them). Morning Prayer in the cathedral.  The Administrator and I met with representatives of an office equipment company. Our copies is working fine, but it's 11 years old and we've been told that pretty soon they won't be able to get parts for it. So we're going to be getting a new one in due course.  Took some more baby steps toward program planning for a clergy mini-conference in November.  Did a fast-track exegesis and message development of a homily for Proper 19 (September 13 at St John's, Decatur).  Celebrated and preached the regular cathedral liturgy, keeping the lesser feast of Bernard Mizeki, proto-martyr of South Africa.  Lunch from Dynasty, the Asian place next to TG, eaten at home.  Participated in a conference call with three staff members of Renewal Works , along with the rectors of five congregations that will be taking part i


Short-form Morning Prayer in the car on the way to the office. (I had an early-ish appointment.) From 8:30 until 11:30 I  was part of a group that met with two representatives of ACS Technologies, an IT company that does business with nearly half the dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the area of financial and personal databases. With a transition in the treasurer's office on the horizon, it seems an apposite time to look at all options.  When our guests departed. Then there were a couple of after-meetings on various issues, and I left for lunch a bit before 12:30.  Lunch from McD's, eaten at home.  Made some preparations for the talk I am set to deliver at this weekend's Cursillo on Saturday morning.  Attended to some details of the upcoming Peru trip.  Took my homily for Proper 11 (July 19 in West Frankfort) from message statement to rough outline.  Took care of a couple of small chores related to General Convention.   Left a pastoral check-in voicemail at the

Tuesday (Joseph Butler)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral.  Tweaked, refined, and printed a working text for this Sunday's homily (St Christopher's, Rantoul).  Made sure everyone involved in a conference call this Thursday has the coordinates.  Read and responded to an Ember Day letter from one of our candidates for ordination.  Completed the paperwork necessary to give my consent to the election of George Sumner as Bishop of Dallas.  Met with the cathedral Provost on a range of pastoral and liturgical issues.  Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home.  Wrote a note to a clergy family who have recently suffered the loss of a loved one.  Wrote an Ad Clerum--letter to the clergy--only my second of the year so far.  Scheduled an appointment with my primary care physician to follow up on some ongoing concerns.  Posted "alternative" Prayers of the People forms for Proper six through fourteen of the current year.  Wrestled with my notes on the readings for Proper 17 (August 30 in Robinson) u

Third Sunday after Pentecost

Out the door with Brenda at 6:30 AM. Arrived in Danville two hours later. Presiding and preached the regular 9:00 Mass at Holy Trinity. It felt strange to be there without Fr Geoffrey Scanlon, who served as rector for more than a quarter-centiry, but retired last year and has been serving only as a very frequent Sunday supply priest while a longer-erm strategy unfolds. I met with the vestry for about 10 minutes following the coffee hour. After a stop in Champaign for some shopping, we were home a little past 2:00.

Sermon for III Pentecost (Proper 6)

Holy Trinity, Danville -- Mark 4:26-34 There’s a movie that was hugely popular in the early ‘80s called  Chariots of Fire . Some of you, no doubt, remember it. For me, the most memorable part of the movie was the opening scene, which took place at the funeral of the main character (the rest of the film was then, of course, a flashback). And what I remember most vividly about that scene was a particularly stirring hymn that they sang at the funeral, a hymn that, in its day, was known by just about every man, woman, and child in England, and it’s from this hymn that the title line of the movie comes—“bring me my … chariot of fire.” It’s a setting of a short poem by William Blake, which you may be familiar with, and which I will shortly read to you. But first, two bits of information: the poem was written during the Industrial Revolution in England, so the expression “dark satanic mills” refers to the factories that employed thousands of workers in sweaty and back-breaking labor.


After breakfast, I finished processing the pile of emails that had accumulated during my time at the St Michael's Conference, some of which were resolved on the spot and some of which became tasks with future start dates.   By mid-morning, I was ready for a long, vigorous walk, in conditions that were already hot and muggy.  After cooling off on the front porch while watching a small thunderstorm blow through, it was time for a shower and lunch.  Settled down to refine and print my homily for tomorrow, at Holy Trinity, Danville.  Succumbed to the urge for another fairly major nap; second day in a row.  Back to the task list, which included finally resolving travel plans to Peru next month. following links to a couple of online articles I've been meaning to read, and disposing of some leaves that had accumulated on the bedroom balcony.  After dinner, it was routine household financial chores.


Today brought the conclusion of the amazing first annual St Michael's Youth Conference-Illinois. We gathered for Morning Prayer at our usual 7:30 time. I stayed behind while everyone went to breakfast (having a grabbed a muffin that we brought from home on Sunday) and worked on reconfiguring our two rooms into one (with the removal of a folding partition) for the celebration of a Solemn Votive Mass of St Michael & All Angels. That began at 10, and in addition to our conferees and staff, we were joined by several parents and other friends. Fr Wetmore delivered a fine homily, and we worshipped the Holy Trinity in grand style (grand, at least given our physical circumstances). After a final group photo, it was time to strike the set and head home. Brenda and I got back to Springfield around 1:30, stopping at Popeye's on the way in to pick up some lunch. After consuming it, I went down hard for a long nap. My poor introversion had been taxed to the uttermost for several days. S

St Barnabas

Fourth full day of St Michael's Youth Conference:  Morning Prayer  Breakfast  The morning was spent in a large barn doing the "high ropes" course. It's meant to encourage teamwork and fear-facing, and consists of a series of segments that must be traversed at ten, then twenty, feet above the floor, with only taut steel cables to walk on between platforms and only ropes to hold onto, culminating in a door leading to the exterior of the barn and a 450ft zipline ride back to terra firma . About five of the kids opted out, and there was no shame attached to that. YFNB donned the safety harness and practiced the procedures and ascended to the initial platform, but then changed his mind. There is no shame, and not even any regret, but a smidgen of sadness for not being quite psychically equipped to enjoy such an experience.  Mass for the Feast of St Barnabas, a little more liturgically upscale than has been our wont so far in the week, given the feast day.  Lunch 

Wednesday (St Ephrem of Edessa)

Third full day of the St Michael's Youth Conference. Morning Prayer ... Breakfast ... 80 minutes from Fr Tony Clavier on the Gospel of Mark ... break ... 80 minutes from Fr David Baumann on liturgy ... Mass, keeping the lesser feast of St Ephrem of Edessa ... lunch ... Afternoon at the lake beach with the various aquatic activities ... Choir practice and Evensong ... dinner ... Trivia Night and Q&A with the clergy. I'm so glad we're doing this. It may be the best thing we've done in this diocese on my watch.

Tuesday (St Columba)

Second full day at SMYC:  Morning Prayer  Breakfast  An activity in the woods known as "low ropes," led by one of the Lake Williamson staffers, basically a trust and community-building exercise. I was along with the group for a while, but, fairly early-on, one of the kids succumbed to the unpleasant symptoms of a stomach virus and I escorted him back to his room, made sure he was safe and hydrated, and left him to rest. Consequently, I spent the remained of the morning, as it were, "working" -- emails and phone calls.  Mass for the lesser feast of St Columba of Iona at noon.  Lunch  Three hours of instructional time. I finished up what I began yesterday on prayer for the first half; Fr Wetmore finished what he started yesterday on the creeds for the second half. He very effectively deployed several video clips from a web resource called Lutheran Satire. Pretty fun but theologically robust stuff.  30 minutes of music practicum, led by YFNB, with Brenda at


First full day at St Michael's Youth Conference, which we are holding at an Assemblies of God conference center near Carlinville. (It's a huge facility, and we are a very small proportion of those using it at present.) The day went very well: Morning Prayer ... breakfast ... 80 minutes of teaching on prayer (theory today, practice tomorrow) ... break ... 80 minutes of teaching on creeds ... Mass ... lunch ... recreation (black light dodgeball) ... free time ... music instruction/"choir" rehearsal ... Evensong (using some of what we had just learned) ... dinner ... time in the indoor pool .... snacks & conversation .... Compline. Very pleased with the responsiveness of the kids so far.

Second Sunday after Pentecost

Up and out in time to preside and preach the 10am liturgy at Trinity, Jacksonville. I'm getting a reputation there, because something untoward seems to be always associated with my visit (local water supply contaminated, I break and ankle in a fall, frozen pipes result in flooded parish hall). Today it was the refusal of the air conditioners that cool the nave to report for duty. Even so, the Word of God was proclaimed and the Blessed Sacrament duly administered. Then we were home just long enough to pack and head south to an Assemblies of God conference center just south of Carlinville, where the first annual St Michael's Youth Conference, Diocese of Springfield edition, is now off to a fine start. We'll be here all week.

Sermon for II Pentecost (Proper 5)

Trinity, Jacksonville -- Mark 3:20-35 , Genesis 3:8-15 One of the ironies of growing older is that, the more wisdom we acquire as we age, the less time we have to apply it. Think about that! One of these bits of wisdom is that it’s usually better to take the long view, to look down the road a good long way as we make plans, and not automatically choose the quick and easy solution. But, like I said, by the time we figure this out, we may have reached a point in life when there’s no more long view to be taken! In any case, even if this is a lesson we take to heart while we’re still young enough to do something with it, it still requires a considerable amount of personal discipline. It involves cultivating the habit of what one of my philosophy professors in college called “deferment of gratification.” It means persisting in long-term behavior that we believe to be right even when we could have a short-term reward for doing something else. For whatever combination of reasons,


At the Round House by 8:45ish, in anticipation of a big morning. Both the Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee met, and both interviewed three individuals who are interacting with the ordination process in various ways. In addition, both bodies had some regular business to attend to. I ended up shuttling between the two, and spending bits of time with the potential ordinands as well. We were all finished a little past 1:00. I stayed around to finish refining and printing my homily for tomorrow (Trinity, Jacksonville), then came home, stopping by ChiTown's Finest to pick up an Italian beef. Such mornings tax my introversion severely, so, after eating lunch, I went down for a hard nap. Later in the afternoon, I began chipping away at other odds and ends--final prep for my participation in the St Michael's Youth Conference that begins tomorrow, refining plans for the Peru visit, and other bits of administrivia and pastoralia. Nice long walk through Washington Park as


It was my joy to begin the day by servant as celebrant and preacher for the regular daily Mass in St Mary's Chapel at Nashotah House. Most of the congregation of 25 were part of the Covenant authors retreat. We kept the lesser feast of St Boniface. I was so stimulated by yesterday's first day of considering Augustine's City of God that I was truly regretful over my need to depart this morning. I was on the road right at 10am and back in my driveway at 3:15. While en route, I had three substantive telephone conversations: one with one of our clergy over an emerging pastoral issue, one with a prospective candidate in one of our search processes, and one with a consultant assisting Nashotah House with an internal issue. Then it was back to processing emails until stepping out with Brenda to dinner and a movie.

Thursday (Corpus Christi)

On campus at Nashotah by 8am for Morning Prayer and Mass in St Mary's Chapel. Then the Covenant authors group got down to our self-imposed task for the retreat, which is a symposium on St Augustine's magisterial work, City of God. Not for any lack of desire or intention, but I didn't get very much of it read. Nonetheless, because those designated to talk us through the work and stimulate discussion about various points were very well-prepared, and did a fine job. So it was quite stimulating, and I'm sorry I need to leave the retreat a day early tomorrow and drive home. It's so go to hang out with a whole bunch of people who are way smarter than I am. After Solemn Evensong, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and a procession around the cloister and back into the chapel, all in observance of the Feast of Corpus Christi, we all adjourned to the home of one of the faculty members for a delightful Wisconsin feast of grilled bratwurst on a perfect evening for sitting i

Wednesday (Martyrs of Uganda)

Packed and on the road northbound right at 10am. While  en route  to Nashotah House, had two substantive phone conversations. Checked in at the Hilton Garden Inn in Oconomowoc, then drove to campus. The occasion of my visit is a retreat for the authors connected to the  Covenant  blog.  Evening Prayer, dinner, and conviviality as we all gathered. Tomorrow our symposium on St Augustine's  City of God  begins.

Tuesday (Martyrs of Lyons)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral.  Listened to a voicemail left yesterday and contacted the caller.  Responded via email to an emerging pastoral issue.  Attended to a small chore (that has been in the chute for several weeks and had become a nuisance) pertaining to the Illinois Conference of Churches.  Took care of a couple of relatively small but important chores, one related to General Convention and one to Nashotah House. T ook a phone call from one of our rectors.  Fleshed out and brought almost to maturity the working outlines for the teaching I'm doing next week--on prayer--at the (first annual Diocese of Springfield) St Michael's Youth Conference.  Lunch from HyVee, eaten at home.  Worked, at different stages of gestation, on three different upcoming sermons: Proper 6 (June 14 in Danville), Proper 7 (June 21 in Rantoul), and Proper 19 (September 13 in Decatur).  What's the one question you would like to as the four candidates for Presiding Bishop? I was ask