Showing posts from October, 2015


Sooo very glad to be home. The urgent work of the day was to develop, refine, and print the already well-germinated seeds of an All Saints' Day homily for use tomorrow at St Matthew's, Bloomington. This entailed a trip to Staples for an inkjet printer cartridge. Picked up a wi-fi signal booster for home use while I was there, and combined the errand with a haircut and the purchase of Hallowe'en candy. Got the new technology successfully installed at home. I hope the candy is chock full of preservatives, however, as we had a grand total of zero tick-or-treaters and the tentative plan is to hold it over for next year. At 7:45 I set sail in the YFNBmobile for Bloomington, where the early liturgy at St Matthew's is at 7:30.  Many in the Episcopal world are converging on Washington, D.C. for tomorrow's installation of Michael Curry as Presiding Bishop. I will, obviously, not be there, for a combination of reasons, mostly owing to a 2015 visitation schedule with no mor


A travel day--Houston to home--but one in which I also managed to process a prodigious number of emails and phone calls. What did we do before out "always available" technology? Of course, I know what we did. I was around! And, in many ways, it was better, healthier. But I can say that, this evening, I'm much more at peace having dealt with those issues than I would be if they were still on my plate.

Thursday (James Hannington & Companions)

Today's working group consisted of one other bishop, two priests, one layperson (the smartest of the bunch), plus YFNB. All five are associated with TLC in some way, so were already in Houston for the board and/or foundation meeting, so we leveraged that convergence. Today our taskmaster was the Communion Partners group of bishops, whom we seek to resource with theological and strategic legwork, particularly with a hugely important meeting of the Anglican primates set for less than three months from now. We had a productive day. And the Bishop of Springfield is exceedingly eager to be home.

Ss Simon & Jude

Yesterday was the Living Church Foundation Board of Directors; today the meeting was with the members of the foundation itself. (All the directors are themselves members of the foundation, and are elected by the foundation.) We increased our numbers, electing nine new members, with only two rotating off. In the afternoon, we did some "blue sky" creative dreaming about the kinds of roles TLC can in today's complex and tendentious ecclesial environment. Some great things have already been done, and more is in the wings. After a couple of hours of down time (es, I processed some email), we gathered at the nearby home of St Martin's rector and TLC foundation member Russ Levenson and his wife Laura for a reception with the foundation members, along with some local clergy from nearby parishes and some of their parishioners. This was by way of a "soft" intro to a capital funds campaign that will get fully underway sometime in 2016. Dinner afterward at a nearby Indi


Reported to the mammoth St Martin's Church, Houston, about a quarter mile from the hotel, at 9am for Morning Prayer. Then is was down to business with the Living Church board, which I had to chair in the absence of both the President and Vice-President. Lunch at the fully-staffed cafeteria on the church campus. Our business wound up around 3pm, after which I took the time to process emails. Emails are forever. For dinner, the board members gathered with the larger group, the members of the Foundation, for dinner at a nearby restaurant. (The annual Foundation meeting is tomorrow.)


Still at Nashotah House. Morning Prayer/Mass/breakfast. Morning and afternoon sessions with the Board of Directors, with six of the nine of us present, and several former trustees who are now "members of the corporation" looking on from a makeshift "gallery," with neither seat nor voice. It felt pretty strange, but we will get used to it. By any measure, we were much more efficient in getting through our business than would have been the case with the old way of doing things. We had a small break between the conclusion of our business in the afternoon, and a 5pm Evensong in Adams Hall, during which it was my privilege to confer an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree on the Revd Kevin E. Martin.  Tomorrow, I'll be driving to Minneapolis, picking up Brenda at the airport there mid-afternoon, then spending the weekend with our daughter and her family in St Paul. We drive home Monday, but that evening I am set to catch a plane for Houston, and the regular meeting o


Regular Nashotah schedule--8am Morning Prayer and Mass, followed by breakfast. The Board of Visitors (all those who were formerly known as Trustees, and now aka "members" of the corporation) gathered at 9:45. Under the new statutes, I do not chair this group, and am ineligible to be elected to do so. Something about balance of power. So the Secretary called the meeting to order and we proceeded directly to electing Fr Andrew Mead to the position of Convenor of the Board of Visitors.  The new development officer, Diane Platenberg, gave a most informative presentation. We have a real pro at the helm in this department now. The Dean gave us the same orientation presentation that he gives to new students, connecting life at Nashotah House with the ancient and venerable Rule of St Benedict. Lunch in the refectory. Back in harness, we heard a presentation from the Academic Dean, Fr Andrew Grosso, on some issues of curriculum and enrollment. We discussed some issues pertainin


Attended Morning Prayer and Mass in the Nashotah House chapel. Breakfast in the refectory. Informal conversations with students, faculty, and other trustees. Took advantage of the unscheduled morning to attend to a few tasks. Walked slowly through the cemetery--hallowed ground (Jackson Kemper, James Lloyd Breck, several bishops of Milwaukee and Fond du Lac, several deans and professors of Nashotah House, the priest under whom I was confirmed in 1975, a classmate's wife). Lunch in the refectory. Called the last meeting of the Board of Trustees to order at 2pm. We passed, soon thereafter, a revision of the House's statutes that eliminated the trustees and reconstitutes the former trustees as members of a corporation who are responsible for electing from within their own number a Board of Directors consisting of six to nine individuals. According to a pre-agreed transition plan, the former Executive Committee constitutes the first iteration of the Board of Directors. There will be

St Luke

Until 4:30pm, I enjoyed a pretty typical and normal day off. Then it was back in the YFNBmobile, pointed north. I'm bedding down now in guest accommodations at Nashotah House, ahead of this week's regular October meeting of the Board of Trustees.

The Lord's Day (XXI Pentecost)

A very humane start to the day, which was welcome, given the pace of my life of late. My visitation was to St Luke's, Springfield, about a ten minute drive from home, and their principal liturgy is at 10:30. Of course, we celebrated their feast of title, and the occasion was wonderfully enhanced by the presence of a cohort of the madrigal singers from Rochester High School. They were outstanding ... as was the post-liturgical repast; they had me at pork empanadas. Nice down time at home in the afternoon. Then we were off to St Paul's Cathedral for a Solemn Evensong, at which the Bishop of Tabora was the preacher. A lovely occasion.

Saturday (St Ignatius of Antioch)

Back at Hamilton's Catering in Jacksonville in time to gavel the 138th annual synod of the Diocese of Springfield back into session at 8:30, We amended the proposed 2016 budget a bit, then passed it. We had a lively discussion of the proposed revisions to the diocesan constitution, and, with some relatively minor amendment, passed it on first reading. My general observation about synods and conventions in general is that I wish people would think twice about making motions that have the potential to be decided by a close vote. A close vote appears to resolve an issue, but it usually creates unanticipated ripple effects that complicate the life of a community. Sometimes it's better to be patient and let the same results be achieved organically. At any rate, we were finished around 11:30, and, after a couple of short impromptu meetings, we headed home (where we had not been since Wednesday morning). At that point, the weary Bishop of Springfield rested.

Friday (Oxford Martyrs)

Left the Hampton Inn in Jacksonville by myself at 9:30 to check out the Synod venue. Kept a 10am appointment with Fr Mark Winward, Commander USN, who serves the chaplain corps from his station in Tampa, but it canonically resident here in the diocese. Kept an 11am appointment with someone discerning a potential vocation to the diaconate. Drove back to the hotel to retrieve Bishop Elias, Lucy, and Brenda. We had lunch together at a nearby Applebee's. The Synod convened at 1:30 and recessed at 4:15. In the meantime, we had a bit more drama over the budget than any of us expected, but I believe all will be well. The Synod Mass a few blocks away at Trinity Church celebrated the lesser feast of the "Oxford Martyrs" (Cranmer, Latimer, & Ridley), and was Rite I, Willian service music, and eastward facing--all a kind of liturgical comfort food for Episcopalians. Bishop Elias preached, for which I was grateful. Niee dinner for all back at Hamilton's afterward.

Thursday (St Teresa of Avila)

Met Bishop Elias and Lucy for breakfast at 9:00; gassed up and headed south on I-57 an hour later. At 11:00, we met Fr James and Jane Muriuki at Redeemer, Cairo, and spent a delightful three hours with them looking around the church and the town and having lunch at the inimitable Shemwell's BBQ. They both speak Swahili, so it was a joy to see Lucy light up when she heard a familiar language being spoken. Then it was on to Belleville, by way of Carbondale. We arrived at St George's at 4:45, and had an hour or so to relax there. Then, from 6:00 to 7:30, we pulled off a reprise of last night's event in Mt Vernon. We headed for Jacksonville afterward, arriving at the Hampton Inn just before 10:00. Over 300 miles on the odometer today.

Wednesday (S.I.J. Schereschrewsky)

Packed for three nights away. Picked up Bishop Elias and Lucy at the Doubletree at 9:45. Headed east. Stopped at St John's, Decatur and had a good look around while visiting with Fr Swan. Continued our eastward movement and enjoyed wonderful impromptu hospitality at Emmanuel, Champaign. Lunch at the very hip downtown restaurant scene. We drove by the Chapel of St John the Divine, noticed the door ajar and enjoyed a visit inside, but there was nobody around to say hello to. Then it was down I-57, with a shopping stop in Effingham, arriving at Trinity, Mt Vernon at 5:30. Clergy and laity from all over the Eastern and Hale deaneries gathered for a potluck repast, a word from Bishop Elias about his ministry in the Diocese of Tabora, and Evening Prayer in the church. We're bedded down now in Marion, anticipating another long day of auto travel tomorrow.


We retrieved Bishop Elias and Lucy at their hotel at 9:30 and walked the several blocks down to the office-cathedral complex. After visiting there for a while, we ambled over the Christ Church and looked around there. Then back to the hotel for them to touch base by phone with the home front. We had lunch across the street at the restaurant that is no longer Bennigan's (for the record, they have awesome beanless Texas-style chili), Then we did the Lincoln Museum, to which we take all of our out-of-town guests, and which never fails to impress. After some late-afternoon downtime for everyone, we took them to dinner at Julia's Kitchen. Tomorrow the road trip begins.


Brenda and I were on the road at 5:35am, headed north to meet Bishop Elias and Lucy as they arrived at 9:15 at O'Hare in Chicago from a weekend in Connecticut, having flown in from Tanzania on Friday. We made it to Bloomington in time for lunch with Fr Dave and Amy Halt, then to Springfield by mid-afternoon. We got the Chakupewas checked in at the downtown Doubletree to enable them to get some rest, and then home for us to do the same. I fetched them later for dinner at our house along with Fr Mark Evans and Sandy, and Archdeacon Denney and Mary Anne.

The Lord's Day (XX Pentecost)

Out the driveway with Brenda at 6:20am, headed for points south. Arrived at St Andrew's, Edwardsville in good time to preside and preach at their regular 8am Eucharist, then meet with a college student who is discerning a vocation to Holy Orders, then presided, preached, and confirmed at the the 10am liturgy. Tasty potluck luncheon, the home by about 2:30.

Sermon for Proper 23

St Andrew's, Edwardsville -- Mark 10:17-31 There’s a rather inane movie from the early ‘90s called  The First Wives Club , that I probably wouldn’t even know about, except for the fact that Diane Keaton was in it, and I’ve had kind of crush on Diane Keaton since the ‘70s. At the end of the film, after they've supposedly got their lives and their relationships with men all straightened out, the three members of the club sing a hit song, from the ‘70s— You Don't Own Me . They were referring, of course, to their former husbands, who had all behaved rather badly, and in that sense they may have been correct. But these three ladies, whether they realized it or not, were very much still owned. One was owned by an obsession with her own good looks, and went to more than extraordinary lengths to preserve them as her years inexorably advanced.  Another was owned by an idealized vision of the perfect mother and perfect wife living with her perfect family in their perfect hom

Friday (Robert Grosseteste)

Up and out of my Denver hotel ... breakfast at a rather hip and trendy restaurant near St John's Cathedral ... participated as a panelist in a discussion of "Catholic implications of same-sex marriage" (I was the designated "conservative" and didn't really say anything I haven't said many times before) ... changed into my traveling attire (I don't usually wear clericals when I fly) and headed to the airport ... returned my rental car ... checked my bag ... had an expensive burger for lunch (is there any other kind at an airport?) ... flew to Chicago ... sat in the bar at the United Club and watched to Cubs lose to the Cardinals, who enjoyed an assist from the home-plate umpire's very liberal interpretation of the strike zone whenever the Cubs were batting ... caught the 9:15 flight to SPI and pulled into my driveway at 10:30.


The 6am flight out of Springfield now leaves at 5:40. So I was out the door at 4:30. All went smoothly. I made it to Denver by midday, and joined the in-progress conference of the Society of Catholic Priests around 3pm. (The SCP is made up entirely of Episcopal and Anglican Church of Canada clergy, in all three orders. I'm a guest, not a member, as I've been invited to appear on a panel tomorrow on "Catholicity and Same-Sex Marriage." I'm the designated conservative.) I got to hear a presentation by the somewhat notorious Fr Alberto Cutie on hispanic/latino ministry. Then there was Evening Prayer, a social hour, Solemn Mass, and (a fashionably late) dinner.


Seriously, my last day in the office this month! Travel resumes tomorrow. Cranked out hard copy of sermons for next two Sundays, plus my Synod address. Talked with a priest about a potential interim gig. Dealt with some administrative matters pertaining to Synod. Processed several emails as they came in. Morning and Evening Prayer in the usual manner. Enjoyed watching a certain baseball team in the evening.

Tuesday (William Tyndale)

Duly participated in the regular meeting of the Forward Movement board, until about 1:45pm (eastern). When the meeting adjourned from the convent in Glendale to FM's offices in downtown Cincinnati, I took the opportunity to make an early exit and headed home, arriving right at 6:00. I'm privileged to join in fiduciary oversight of an organization whose logo tagline is "Inspire Disciples. Empower Evangelists."


Rose at a gentle hour in my Shelbyville, IN hotel room, giving myself credit for having eaten a time zone yesterday. After processing a few emails, I hit the road around 10:15 (EDT) for the leafy Cincinnati suburb of Glendale, OH, venue of the fall meeting of the Forward Movement board. I'm proud to be associated with an organization whose motto is Inspire Disciples, Empower Evangelists. We met all afternoon, then, after dinner, enjoyed a trek to Graeter's Ice Cream, by which all Cincinnati denizens loyally swear.

The Lord's Day (XIX Pentecost)

Because of the 11am service time at All Saints, Morton, it was a rather humane start to the day. On the road at 9:30. Presided and preached. Spent some time with whoever chose to stick around after the post-liturgical potluck in order to field initial questions on what awaits them after Fr Brian and Deacon Laurie retire at the end of the year. Then Fr Brian accompanied me into Peoria to visit Bishop Donald Parsons, who is hospitalized there with pneumonia. That's a pretty serious thing no matter how old you are, but when you're 93, it's whatever is up the ladder from "serious." We were happy to see him sitting up, very lucid, and very conversant. We gave him Holy Communion, after which I dropped Fr Brian off at the rectory in Pekin, and then drove myself home, arriving at 3:30. Some modicum of down time there, but not much, as I was back on the road 90 minutes later, headed to Shelbyville, IN, from whence I write. On the rest of the way to Cincinnati tomorrow for

Sermon for Proper 22

All Saints, Morton -- Genesis 2:18-24, Mark 10:2-9 Very often, subjects that we think we’re the most familiar with turn out to be the ones we actually know the least about. I suspect that the subject of marriage is in this category. Today’s Old Testament reading from Genesis, and the gospel passage from Mark, certainly do not exhaust what the Bible has to say about marriage, but any Christian reflection on marriage has to deal with this material. It is absolutely central to an informed Christian understanding of what marriage is. And, of course, I’m aware that marriage is presently a controversial subject, in both church and society. I have three main points I want to share with you today on the subject of marriage as it is illuminated by these scripture readings. It will help if you can visualize a garden plant—a sunflower will do very nicely. It has a root system, which is unseen, but which anchors the plant in the soil and without which it couldn’t live. It has a stem, or “


A "normal" weekday morning, except that I had trouble getting my mind, body, and spirit firing on all cylinders. Maybe I should start drinking coffee late in life. Maybe I've been working too hard and this was a sign that I need to slow down. Who knows? Once my engines were revving, around 10am, I conferred with the Archdeacon on my meeting in Jacksonville last night, and attended to a task related to one of our seminarians. Took care of a small piece of Nashotah-related business. Spent the rest of the morning on taking the broad strokes of my Synod address to "rough draft" status. Lunch from Hardee's, eaten at home. Returned to my Synod address, eventually completing the task by mid-afternoon. Updated the status report on everyone involved in any way with the ordination process. Sent by email to the chair of the Commission on Ministry and the Archdeacon. Conceived, hatched, and drafted a homily for St Luke's Day, to be delivered at St Luke's

Thursday (St Remigius)

Out the door just before 7am for my customary Thursday AM walk. Processed some emails and read Morning Prayer at home. Substantive consultation with the Archdeacon over a couple of ongoing pastoral/administrative concern. Attended to a package of details related to the ordination process. Lunch at home--leftovers. Finished the post for the  Covenant  blog that I roughed out last week. Sent it on to my blogmasters. Spent quality time with commentaries in preparation for preaching on the feast of Christ the King, to be delivered in Marion County Parish (St John's, Centralia and St Thomas', Salem). Processed another small stack of emails. Home for a fairly quick dinner, then off to Trinity, Jacksonville, where I met with the vestry for an initial consultation as they prepare for Fr Ashmore's retirement in January.