Showing posts from July, 2015


Woke up to a crisp 27°F, though it was not that cold in our unheated hotel room in Juliaca. We were picked up by our usual driver, Fr Victor, at 8am. The first stop was the parish of St Mary Magdalene, where we had visited briefly last night. This time, Fr Luis, the rector, was with us. We read Morning Prayer together, then learned more about the details of the parish's ministries and their plans for expansion onto property they already own in order to accommodate the demand for a primary school. There are also two missions in Juliaca, both of which are also taken care of by the same clergy team of Fr Luis and Deacon Justo. Both of the buildings are owned by private parties who are happy to make them available to the diocese as long as they continue to hold services. Both are located in growing neighborhoods, where the Roman Church has no presence. There is great potential in both places. Together, the three churches involve over 300 people on a regular basis.  It was around 11:30


My excuse for missing a day this time? Not socializing in an exotic bar, but technological failure. I wrote a post last night using Blogger's iPhone app, but it wouldn't upload, due to what I assumed was a too-weak cell signal (no wifi where I was). But when I connected to wifi twice today, the app was just frozen in "publishing" mode, and when it then crashed, my work was gone. So ... a bit of a marathon here. Yesterday we travelled--with Bishop Alejandro, his English-speaking grown son, and Fr Victor as our most excellent driver--from Arequipa to Cabanaconde, more than six hours in a modestly comfortable but smallish Chevy van. This entailed views of wild vicuña herds, desert landscapes resembling parts of Utah and Nevada, herds of alpaca and sheep under professional oversight, crossing the crest of the Andes as 15,000 feet, stopping for some coca leaf tea (it alleviates the symptoms of altitude sickness), spying a settlement far, far below the mountain road we were


We checked out of the Villa Molina, our Lima digs, in time to meet our ride to the airport at 7:30. Peru is beginning to celebrate what is effectively a week of Independence Day festivities (the actual day is tomorrow), so auto traffic was lighter than usual. But, for the same reason, "people" traffic at the airport was heavy. All went smoothly, with only minor hiccups, and we touched down in Arequipa, about 450 miles southeast of Lima, at 12:30. The first thing we noticed, and immediately welcomed, was the brilliant sunshine. It virtually never rains in Lima, but, during the winter, it's perpetually drizzly and 60-something degrees. Arequipa is true desert--warmer than Lima by day and cooler by night. We were met by Bishop Alejandro and one of his priests, Fr Ricardo. They took us to the guest house where we are spending the night, where we dropped off our luggage and immediately went back out for lunch at a nearby restaurant. After the meal, Fr Ricardo was our host for

The Lord's Day (IX Pentecost)

It was my joy to preach twice today at both of the English language services at the Cathedral of the Good Shephard in Lima. (Attendees were mostly American, Canadian, and British ex-pats, with a smattering of Peruvians who are, for whatever reason, attracted to worship in English; there is also a Spanish service at 11:30.)  After the usual coffee hour in the parish hall, we were treated to a delicious curry lunch in the deanery, occupied by Fr Allen and Deacon Rachel Hill and their two boys; Allen takes care of the English-speaking cathedral parishioners. Arriving back at the hotel sometime after 2:00, we seized the opportunity for some rest, though I used it to proces a stack of emails. Dinner in the evening for Brenda and me was with Bishop Godfrey and Judith at an Argentinian steakhouse on a high bluff overlooking the ocean. We leave Lima tomorrow morning by air for Arequipa. More from there.

Sermon for Proper 12

Lima (Peru) Cathedral -- John 6:1-21 It’s indeed a great joy to be with you this morning, and I bring you greetings in Christ Jesus from your brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Springfield, which encompasses about two-thirds of the state of Illinois. We have been in a companion relationship with the Diocese of Peru for nearly three years now, and as the Diocese of Peru moves toward the creation of four new dioceses from the current one, and taking its place as the 39 th  autonomous province of the worldwide Anglican Communion of churches, we share your excitement, and look forward to a continuing partnership with the region of Arequipa—soon, God willing, to become the Diocese of Arequipa, under the leadership of Bishop Alejandro, whom we consecrated yesterday. In April of 2013 I had already made travel arrangements to come down here for a visit then, but I discovered that I needed to have a valve in my heart replaced, so Father Mark Evans, who is with me on this trap as well,

St James

Blogging for yesterday fell victim to a time of socializing with old and new friends at the most spectacular bar/restaurant setting I have ever seen--a place designed with a stunning pre-Incan burial mound, lit up at night, as a backdrop. So I will try to cover two days in this post. We were picked up by another of the senior priests of the diocese, along with a driver, in yet another very used 12-passenger van. In addition to Brenda and me and Fr Evans, the group consisted of Bishop and Mrs Hind once again, the new General Secretary of the Anglican Communion (Bishop Josiah  Idowu-Fearon), the special assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury for Anglican Communion Affairs (Canon Precious Omuku), Bishop Dorsey Henderson (retired of Upper South Carolina and now assisting in Florida, which also has a companion relationship with Peru), the Bishop of Paraguay (Peter Bartlett), and a lay woman from Dallas who handles finances for the Friends of Peru.  This time our destination was the south


Wednesday was a very long day of travel, made longer by a mechanical issue (malfunctioning weather radar) forcing our plane from Altanta to Lima to turn back to Atlanta an hour after being airborne. Then we had to circle Atlanta to burn off fuel and wait out a thunderstorm. The eventual delay amounted to five hours. So we didn't get to our hotel until this morning at nearly sunup. We took the morning to get some sleep and settle in. At 2pm we were picked up by one of the senior clergy of the diocese in a spacious but "veteran" van owned by the diocese. We were accompanied by Fr John Park, formerly a missionary here in Peru and now retired back in the U.S. Fr Park served as our interpreter. We were also joined by Bishop John Hind, sometime Bishop of Gibralter and retired from Chichester, and his wife Janet. They took us to visit two churches in the northern part of the Lima area. Even though it was "in town'" getting there involved over 90 minutes of thick, u


With a number of chores to be completed ahead of tomorrow's departure from Peru, I did not go in to the office today, but there was no shortage of productivity via email. Brenda and I, along with Fr Mark Evans, depart for St Louis tomorrow morning ahead of a 1pm flight to Atlanta and a connection to Lima that will get us there about 30 minutes before midnight. I don't know precisely what our wifi access will be like there--it will probably vary in different places--but I will endeavor to stay as connected as I can, both with words and images. We will be in Lima until Monday, and, while there, I will assist with the consecration of three new bishops on Saturday and preach at the English service at the cathedral on Sunday. On Monday we fly to the proto-diocese of Arequipa, which, when erected, will be Springfield's companion going forward. While based in Arequipa, the plan is for us to make one or two long drives--long, as involving overnight stays--to outlying missions. Deta

The Lord's Day (VIII Pentecost)

One of the characteristics of a small church in a small town is usually that the congregation consists of only a handful of extended families. This is certainly the case at St Mark's, West Frankfort, and it's a joy to see those families manifest themselves across generations. I definitely didn't lower the average age today. Plus, there was a baptism, which is always a source of joy.

Sermon for Proper 11

St Mark's, West Frankfort -- Mark 6:30-34, 50-56 ; Jeremiah 23:1-6, Ephesians 2:11-22, Psalm 23 I probably don’t say it often enough, but I have great fun being the Bishop of Springfield, and Sunday mornings are always the highlight of my week. There’s no greater joy than breaking open the Word of God and then breaking open the Bread of Heaven and the Cup of Salvation for God’s people in this diocese. It’s certainly the best job I’ve ever had and may actually be the best job anywhere! But it’s also a demanding job, as you might imagine. It is certainly the most demanding job I have ever had. But it’s not like there are just a couple or three huge parts of my ministry that are particularly challenging. Rather, it’s the sheer massive number of little things that sometimes get me down—things that might take only five or ten minutes of my time, but are really important to somebody, and then multiply that by a factor of dozens on any given day. Hardly anybody wants a real big piece


Pretty much a carbon copy of last weekend: Lazy morning, long walk, some attention to email, then packing up and heading south, this time to West Frankfort, where we were feted to a delicious dinner in the parish hall of St Mark's featuring freshly-caught local fish. Looking forward to sharing in Word and Sacrament tomorrow.

Friday (William White)

Out of the house on the early side (leaving tile grouters and tree surgeons already at work), because I at an appointment right at 9:00. Morning Prayer in the office. Met wit Br Kirt Gerber and his (both biological and religious) Brother Ned Gerber, members of an Anglican Benedictine community with houses in both the U.S. and Australia on a couple of specific concerns of theirs.  At 9:30, I had to take a hiatus from the meeting in order to make a scheduled phone call to Carrie Headington, evangelism officer for the Diocese of Dallas, and presenter at a parish mission workshop we're having here in Springfield in September--styled "Moving Into the Neighborhood." Being an introvert, I am vulnerable to intense meetings and phone conversations. They wear me out. So, since I'm already in I-need-a-vacation mode, I had to blow off some time doing something mentally unchallenging--in this case, reading social media comments on my pastoral letter on marriage. I have a thic

Thursday (Our Lady of Mt Carmel)

Customary Thursday morning treadmill workout. Task planning at home over breakfast. Morning Prayer in the office (cathedral was already abuzz for a funeral). Arranged for some modest assistance to a clergy family in extraordinary need. Took care of some business related to one of my DEPO parishes. Arranged for publicity for an important parish mission strategy workshop in September. Attended to a sensitive pastoral issue with a public relations aspect. Attended to a small but important piece of Nashotah House business. Followed through on a detail pertaining to a parish search process. Lunch from ChiTown's Finest (Italian beef), eaten at home. Monitored some of the internet traffic following the pastoral statement on marriage that I issued yesterday. Much of it was positive and grateful. Much of it was quite ugly. I'm not surprised; I knew this would happen. But it's still hard to see. Worked on my homily for Proper 19 (September 13 at St John's, Decatur), t


Usual AM routine: task planning at home, Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared to preside at preach at the regular cathedral midday liturgy. Returned a couple of phone calls. Arranged for an ad to be placed in the next issue of The Living Church in an attempt to scare up some candidates for one of our clergy vacancies. Got to work on my homily for Proper 17 (August 29 at St Mary's, Robinson), takeing developed notes to a rough draft. This took the rest of the morning, and part of the afternoon. Celebrated and preached the midday Mass--ferial Wednesday. Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Wrapped up work on the Proper 17 homily. Attended to a brief Nashotah-related chore. Ordered some starched cotton collars from Wippel. Spent the rest of the afternoon drafting  this pastoral message  on General Convention and marriage. Evening Prayer in the cathedral. After supper and a walk at home: Drafted an Ad Clerum letter to the clergy, for distribution tomorrow; attended to a smal


Minor email processing and major task planning at home. 47 tasks in the queue for this week, 14 chosen for today. (They all got done, but it required the evening hours as well.)  Morning Prayer (short form) in the car on the way in (got delayed at home, late start).  Sent two emails with important questions, trying to arrange phone appointments.  Phoned the office of a neighboring diocese to inquire about a priest whom we may try to tap for occasional supply work.  Refined and printed the text of my homily for this Sunday at St Mark's, West Frankfort.  Met with one of our our clergy over a personal and pastoral matter.  Lunch from KFC, eaten at home, after which I made a detour to the restaurant Brenda and I ate in last night to retrieve the credit card I had left there.  Attended in some detail to plans for an event I have been invited to participate in in the Diocese of Mississippi in September. It's geared to uncovering some of the theological assumptions that under

The Lord's Day (VII Pentecost)

We had a relatively leisurely wakeup experience in our Marion hotel room, as the liturgy at St Stephen's, Harrisburg was not until 10. It's always a joyful privilege to break open the Word of God for the people of God, and to share the mysteries of the Eucharist with them, on the Lord's Day. Sometimes I can't believe I actually get paid for doing this. The post-liturgical repast was--as it always is at St Stephen's--exemplary. The occasion was made sweeter by the opportunity to gather around Fr Tim Goodman for the sacrament of Holy Unction in anticipation of major heart surgery scheduled for just that day after tomorrow. We were on the road right at 12:30 and home around 4:20. Traffic was inexplicably thick on all three interstates that we traversed--57, 64, and 55.

Sermon for Proper 10

St Stephen’s, Harrisburg --Amos 7:7-15 Well, as you probably know, it’s been barely more than a week now that I’ve been back in Illinois after the 78 th  General Convention of the Episcopal Church. If you’ve managed to look at either or both of the blogs I keep, or followed me on Facebook, you know some of my opinions about what happened in Salt Lake City, perhaps in more detail than anyone was really interested in! There is, of course, a great deal about General Convention that I find annoying, not the least of which is the way it dealt with the major issues, about which I’ve already said a lot, and will probably say more. But there are lesser annoyances as well, and among these lesser annoyances is the habit of considering and passing resolutions that presume to advise the federal government—and even, at times, foreign governments—on matters of public policy, including specific pieces of legislation. Now, in the case of many of these public policy resolutions, I find myself not

Saturday (St Benedict)

Unless I have a meeting scheduled, I usually let myself sleep in on Saturday mornings. Even so, I was startled to find it 8:45 when I woke up. Yesterday was a demanding day, and I came home tired. The main work of the day was to make sure I took a good, long walk, which was duly accomplished between rainstorms. We packed up and hit the road at 3:30 in order to have dinner at the home of some parishioners from St Stephen's, Harrisburg, which will be the site of my Sunday visitation in the morning. It was delightful. After twelve days of eating (mostly high end, because that's what was there) restaurant food in Salt Lake City, I can't say that I had a better meal there than I did in a home in humble Harrisburg, Illinois.


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Got to work putting meat on the bones of a sermon outline for Proper 11 (the 19th at St Mark's, West Frankfort). Took a returned phone call from one of our rectors to discuss a potential ministry initiative, Kept a scheduled phone date with the Archbishop of Calgary, and old friend and seminary classmate, who was one of my co-consecrators.  Put the finishing touches on the aforementioned sermon draft in time to keep a lunch date with the cathedral Provost, Fr Hook, along with Brenda and Bishop Mike and Kathy Milliken of Western Kansas. Bishop Milliken is in town to preach this evening at the Celebration of a New Ministry for Fr Hook. Visited a bit with the Millikens in my office. He and are are "classmates," in that we were both elected in 2010, and have formed pretty tight bonds with our ten colleagiues and their spouses. Got to work playing with hot wax for Fr Hook's certificate on induction. An annoying (because mostly unavoi


Back into a "normal" routine, started the day with 45 minutes on a treadmill. Task planning and a bit of email processing at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepped for a Nashotah House Executive Committee conference call by looking at several documents emailed yesterday by the Dean. Hosted and participated in said conference call. Attended to a small pastoral-administrative chore on behalf of one of our postulants for ordained ministry. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Got down to work on the homily I have been invited to give at the English service in Lima Cathedral during our Peru visit later this month. Took a one-line motif and developed it into a rough draft of a sermon. But it consumed most of my afternoon. Took a phone call from an old friend, a priest, with whom I commiserate from time to time over the bumptious state of our church. We are therapy for one another. Took care of another small administrative task, this one related to a marital judgme


Task planning and some email processing at home. Then I got distracted by  this article and the following comments,  in which YFNB figures with some prominence. The times call for thickness of skin, do they not? Comments at the  Facebook version  of the same site are even more uplifting. So I didn't make it in to the office until around 9:30. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Appointment with a retired priest of the diocese who wanted to discuss some plans and concerns. Began work on refining the draft of my homily for this Sunday (St Stephen's, Harrisburg). Attended and participated in (by giving the homily) the noon funeral for a prominent member of the cathedral congregation. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Finished the work on this Sunday's sermon. Because of the particular physical layout of St Stephen's, I can't conveniently use a pulpit or lectern, so I had to condense my script down to a fold half-sheet of letter size paper. This is actually more work than t


Back in the diffuse insanity of the real world, which is preferable to the concentrated insanity of General Convention.  Usual AM routine; task planning at home.  Cleared the small pile on my desk blotter, which involved signing a couple of routine documents.  Morning Prayer in the office (there were meetings going on in the cathedral).  Reviewed, made some notes on, and electronically returned the rough draft of the liturgy for Friday's institution of the Provost of St Paul's Cathedral.  Attended and participated in a meeting of the Finance Department, at which we tweaked the rough draft 2016 operating budget that had been prepared by the Treasurer.   Tomorrow is the funeral of a prominent member of the cathedral parish, and it has fallen to me to preach. So I got busy preparing to do so. Since funeral homilies are rarely anticipated, my habit is just to say an earnest prayer, take a deep breath, and start writing what is given to me in the moment. It's a process t

The Lord's Day (VI Pentecost)

Not much to report. Still decompressing from General Convention, which is a physically and mentally exhausting experience. Having wisely rescheduled my planned parish visitation for today, Brenda and I enjoyed the rare experience of sitting together as part of the congregation at St Paul's Cathedral. I did scratch a final convention-related blog post in the evening, Looking forward to a normal day off tomorrow, and then a quite full week in the office beginning on Tuesday.


I allowed myself to sleep in again today, but caught most of the Presiding Bishop-elect's sermon at the Eucharist via the GC livestream. It's easy to tell how his reputation as a preacher precedes him into this office. The details (more than you might want) of the HOB, from my personal perspective, are  available here . Here's s shot with my Table 7 friends. We get shuffled and redealt after this meeting, and will have new table mates when the HOB reconvenes in March 2016. When all was said and done, Brenda and I enjoyed dinner with a quorum of our HOB Class of 2011 colleagues and spouses. We have formed a wonderful community over the last four+ years. 


I slept in until an embarrassing hour ... but wasn't really embarrassed! After the intensity and long hours of the last ten days, I am surely sleep-deprived. This morning was just a down payment on the deficit. The two legislative sessions were long, and occasionally grueling. It was a grind, but we were reasonably productive.  See the details here . Tomorrow may be the longest day yet, but when it's over, it's over.  Fun Italian dinner with the Springfield deputation tonight-- sans  one, who wasn't feeling well. (Late report is he's OK.) 


Coming down to the wire. The marriage stuff is behind us (in a tragic way, but behind us as far as this convention is concerned). Now the structure resolutions are on center stage.  See here  for my take on some of the legislative action. Lunch break was spent working, as I hosted eight Communion Partner bishops in my suite. We have crafted a minority report on the marriage resolutions which we hope to present to the House of Bishops in open session sometime tomorrow. I know many are looking to us for leadership. I hope and expect that we will provide just that. But it's rough, and we are not omniscient. The debate over structure is interesting and important, but I'm afraid I've already expended my reserve of passion for this convention. I will take my share in the conversation, as I am vowed to do. But I leave the intense feelings to others.


Usual weekday General Convention routine: 7:30-9:00 committee meeting, break for 9:30-10:30 Eucharist (or, in my case, down time), 11:15-1:00 legislative session, 1hr 15min break for lunch, then a marathon afternoon legislative session. Get the substantive details of those events here . I'm pretty much turning into a zombie at this point in convention. At times, I've almost fallen asleep waiting for an elevator. Only three more days. This was the evening traditionally devoted to seminary dinners, so I joyfully and dutifully reported to the Nashotah House event at a restaurant very near the hotel. What a privilege to be able to serve my alma mater .