Showing posts from November, 2015

Advent Sunday

Up and out of my hotel room in Effingham a little past 8, continuing south and east. Arrived in Mt Carmel with plenty of time to space in advance of the regular 10:30 Mass at St John the Baptist. We confirmed a young lady, and otherwise enjoyed a hearty celebration of the First Sunday of Advent, followed by a just-as-hearty potluck meal and conversation in the parish hall. Hit the road at 1:10 and pulled into my driveway right at 4:30. With the exception of Cairo, this is the longest of my Sunday afternoon drives. P.S. I will be on personal retreat this week, so laying off of social media in all forms. Back in this space next weekend.

Sermon for Advent Sunday

St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel -- Luke 21:25-31 , Zechariah 14:4-9 I believe it was the renowned theologian of the last century, Paul Tillich, who said that a preacher should always prepare a sermon with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. If I were to follow that advice today, what would I find?  My Bible tells me we're early in the season of Advent, because I have just heard passages of scripture that speak of that time outside of time when history as we know it will come to an end, the good guys in the white hats will win, everyone will be happy, and the curtain will come down on the play. And what does the newspaper—figuratively speaking; most of us get our news from the internet now—what does the “newspaper” tell me? The newspaper tells me that a militant fringe of the Islamic world is inflicting unspeakable suffering on the people of Syria and Iraq, and, when they can manage it, Europe and North America. The newspaper tells me that a crazy person with a

Saturday (Kamehameha & Emma)

Got back from family time in Chicagoland last evening. Slept in, quality time on the treadmill, quality time with the french horn, roamed around social media, processed a short stack of emails, packed, and headed for Effingham, where I'm spending the night before moving on to a visitation in the morning to St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel.

Wednesday (James O.S. Huntington)

Usual weekday routine; MP in the cathedral. Prepared to celebrate and preach the midday Mass. Spent some quality time with the Provost, covering a range of issues. Roughed out the third of my three quiet day meditations at St Stephen's,  Providence (RI) the weekend of III Advent. Processed a short stack of emails. Showed up for the noon Mass, but it failed for lack of a quorum. A quorum is two. Happily, this is not a very frequent occurrence. Grabbed some grub from La Bamba and took it home to eat. Remained home for the afternoon. Worked on my homily for III Advent (in Providence). It's now at the rough draft stage. Researched video-conferencing platforms for an upcoming conference call. Packed for two nights away. Hit the road with Brenda at 4:20 for points north. Stopped in at OSF St Joseph Hospital in Peoria to look in on Fr Brian Kellington. He is much improved, and may already have been moved to a rehab unit (after two weeks on a ventilator) by the time you are


Just as I was pulling out of the driveway to head to the office I got a phone call from my optician's office letting me know that my new glasses were ready, so I diverted west instead of east. Then I stopped for gas. When I arrived at the office, I discovered I didn't have my keys, so I drove back home to retrieve them. While returning, I got a phone call from a priest in another diocese seeking pastoral/strategic counsel, which kept me out in the parking lot for several minutes as we concluded our conversation. All this is just to say ... it was fully mid-morning by the time I got in! Consulted with the Archdeacon and emailed the Treasurer about some cash flow technicalities pertaining to wiring some funds to one of our companion dioceses. Fiddled with some new software that a friend online enticed me into downloading (a Mac client for WordPress). No satisfactory outcome from that yet, but I'm hopeful. Spent the rest of the morning refining my homily for this Sunday (A

Christ the King

With the regular liturgy at St John's, Centralia set for 11:30am, it was a relaxed morning. I met Fr David and Elizabeth Baumann at the Cracker Barrel in Mt Vernon for breakfast at 9:00, after which we all headed north and east to St John's. The liturgy there had lots of energy, and it was great fun to visit with folks over good food in the parish hall afterward. I finally got home a bit before 4:00.

Sermon for Christ the King

St Thomas', Salem & St John's, Centralia- - John 18:33-37 We probably associate this conversation between Jesus and Pontius Pilate, recorded for us in John’s gospel, with being in church during Holy Week—Good Friday, to be specific. So it’s interesting—at least I find it interesting as a preacher!—to encounter it in a completely different liturgical context, as we come together to celebrate the conclusion of this cycle of the church year, the Last Sunday after Pentecost, the feast of Christ the King. But, in the gospels, there really isn’t much to go on by way of material that would help us celebrate the kingship of Christ in an obviously appropriate manner—you know, with crowns and scepters and thrones … that sort of thing. Instead, we’re left with passages like this one, where the words “Jesus” and “king” occur in close proximity to one another, but in an ironic, counter-intuitive sort of way. Today’s gospel is one of the most familiar in all of literature—not ju


Took the morning very easy. Eventually got in a nice, long session on the treadmill. After flitting around social media for a while, it was time for lunch. I managed to grab a few minutes with the french horn before having to pack and be out the door (solo) around 2:30. By 4:45 I had arrived at St Thomas', Salem, ready to celebrate, preach, confirm, and preside at a baptism. What a joy that was. After the invariably fulsome potluck repast in the parish hall, it was off to the Hampton Inn in Mt Vernon, where I'm bedding down for the night ahead of tomorrow's visit to St John's, Centralia.

Friday (St Edmund of East Anglia)

Morning Prayer in the office. (The church was being cleaned.) Prepared to preside and preach the noonday liturgy. Attended to several details pertaining to the transitions in two of our vacant or about-to-be vacant parishes. Responded to a query from the Church Pension Fund about the clergy of the diocese (generally). Thought through and made some mental notes on an ongoing sacramental/liturgical/pastoral policy concern. Celebrated and preached at the midday Mass, observing the lesser feast of St Edmund of East Anglia. Lunch from Hardee's, eaten at home. Kept a 2pm donation appointment at the blood bank. I was supposed to give red cells but my hemoglobin was too low, so it had to be plain old whole blood. More red meat, I guess! Spent a good part of what was left of the afternoon doing some routine once-in-awhile personal organization maintenance (if you must know, cleaning out the "Bucket" folder in my  Evernote  account). It's not sexy, but it needs to be d

Thursday (St Elizabeth of Hungary)

Early morning treadmill workout. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Took my homily for Advent I (St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel) from "developed outline" to "rough draft" stage. Various bits of administrivia. Wrote a long email to the Chancellor, who is chairing the continuing  ad hoc  working group for the revision of our constitution and canons, setting out my own thoughts on necessary canonical changes. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Crowd-sourced an administrative/pastoral/liturgical question to a group of friends on a listserv. Updated my contacts folder--a long-overdue task, since about a dozen of them were dead! Headed north to Peoria to look in on Fr Kellington (much improved, with a long road yet to travel) before keeping a date in Pekin with the combined vestries of St Paul's and All Saints, Morton. They were already looking at a pastoral vacancy in the new year. It's just come a little sooner than expected. Home around 9:30.

Wednesday (St Hilda)

A little catch-up: I was in Dallas over the weekend to take part in the consecration of the new bishop of that diocese. An ancillary part of the experience involved linking up, sometimes just for a moment and sometimes for a more extended period, with a pretty long list of friends and colleagues. And since a number of Communion Partner bishops were present, we took the opportunity for some odds and ends of business. I got home Sunday night/Monday morning, around 1am. Then, after a brief sleep, Brenda and I boarded the 8:37am Monday departure on Amtrak to Chicago. We had tickets to the Lytic Opera's production of Alban Berg's  Wozzeck , which was splendid (having first exercised our membership privileges at the Art Institute for a good portion of the afternoon, and enjoying a nice dinner at a restaurant near our hotel). Tuesday morning found us on the 9:25 southbound train, which put us back in Springfield around 1pm. Then, chores and errands, broken up by taking in the newest

Saturday (Consecration of Samuel Seabury)

Well, the consecration of Samuel Seabury took place on this date in 1783, but today it was the consecration of George Sumner as Bishop of Dallas (#1090, with Seabury bring #1--YFNB is # 1056). It was a 2 1/2 hour liturgy, but splendid from beginning to end. It was my honor to be one of the primary co-consecrators. I have quite a few friends in the Diocese of Dallas, so there were lots of mini- reunions. Because of the vicissitudes of the airline schedules, I am here another whole day, taking the last flight to Springfield tomorrow night.


A day of traveling and connecting. Up and out in time to catch the 8:11 AM departure from Springfield nonstop to Dallas. Picked up my rental car and drove to the Highland Park neighborhood, venue of the official hotel for the consecration of the next Bishop of Dallas. Checked in, got settled, grab some lunch, and otherwise relaxed a bit. Met with some of my Communion Partners colleagues over an ongoing project that were involved with. Caught the shuttle to the big Methodist Church in downtown Dallas where tomorrow's consecration will take place, in order to attend a rehearsal. (I am honored to be one of the co-consecrators). Then, back to the hotel for our reception, followed by a dinner for bishops an out-of-town guests.

Thursday (Charles Simeon)

45 minutes on the treadmill to start the morning. Morning Prayer in the office. Took up work on my sermon for Proper 29 (Christ the King, in the two Eucharistic Communities of Marion County Parish) turning a rough outline into a rough draft. At 11, met with one of our deacons who is involved in the parish in transition to discuss future deployment. Lunch at home -- leftovers. My afternoon was devoted to driving up to Peoria to visit Fr. Brian Kellington, who is recovering from emergency heart and aortic surgery earlier this week. It's been a rough couple of days, but he seems to have taken a favorable turn today.

Wednesday (St Martin of Tours)

The original agenda for the day called for a late afternoon trip to Peoria to visit Fr Kellington, followed by a meeting with the joint vestries of St. Paul's in Pekin and All Saints, Morton. But the weather forecast called for violent wins to arrive in the late afternoon, so an exchange of text messages with one of the wardens from Pekin lead to a rescheduling of that meeting, and a text message from Laurie Kellington indicated that Fr Brian is still too sedated to receive visitors. So it was back to a more normal daily routine. I made travel arrangements, worked on some clergy deployment issues, celebrated the midday Mass, attended to some Nashotah House and Communion Partners business, and prayed the offices in the usual manner.

Tuesday (St Leo of Rome)

Weekly task planning over breakfast at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Caught up with the Archdeacon on a range of matters, some trivial and some substantial. Hosted the semi annual meeting of the diocesan trustees in my office, along with three others joining my conference call on the speakerphone. Our investment advisor was with us as well. Met with an individual in the middle stages of discerning a potential call to the priesthood. began to get accustomed to the reality that I am working with an iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard all week. My laptop is in the shop, hopefully getting outfitted with greased lightning. It’s been moving at a rather glacial speed lately. Lunch from Pizza Hut, eaten at home. One of the guilty pleasures I allow myself only rarely. Devoted a chunk of time and energy to an ongoing project on behalf of the Communion Partners Group of bishops. Took care of some supplementary sermon prep planning in the view of a change I made to my visitation calenda

The Lord's Day (XXIV Pentecost)

Up and out with Brenda by 7:45, heading for an 8:45 arrival time in Carlinville, ahead of their regular 9:15 celebration of the Eucharist. I presided, preached, and confirmed on adult. It was a beautiful day for a drive in the central Illinois countryside. They had a potluck afterward. One of the parishioners asked if it's like that everywhere we go. It pretty much is. It's usually a party when the bishop visits! What a privilege it is to lead this life. After a couple of hours of downtime at home, we got back in the YFNBmobile and headed east this time, to sit in on Linda Buzzard's organ recital at St John's Chapel in Champaign. We wavered as leaving time approached, but when I heard Bach's Passacaglia & Fugue in C-minor was on the program, I didn't need much persuading. It's one of those "touch the face of God" pieces for me. Then, to compound our good fortune, we were steered to the Black Dog Smoke & Alehouse for dinner, and it was one o

Sermon for Proper 27

St Paul's, Carlinville -- Mark 12:38-44,  I Kings 17:8-16,  Hebrews 9:24-28 It’s been barely more than a week since the World Series ended, so, for some of us, baseball is still on the brain. If you’re familiar with the game of baseball, you know about the play called a “sacrifice.” This is when the batter, either intentionally or unintentionally, hits into an out. He doesn’t become a base runner, and heads back to the dugout. But, as a result of either being thrown out at first base or retired because an outfielder catches a fly ball, that batter’s team enjoys a benefit—either in the form of a run scored, or someone already on base advancing to the next base. The batter  sacrifices  his own chance to get on base and score a run, he sacrifices his opportunity for personal glory, in order to benefit his team. Of course, in a much more serious vein, we talk about the sacrifices made by members of the military, who follow orders and put themselves in harm’s way, offering their li

Saturday (St Willibrord)

With nothing scheduled, I took the opportunity to do some cocooning--though, with an internet connection, it wasn't a very pure form thereof. Processed several email, attended to some Communion Partners business, took a sermon from "message statement" to "outline," took a good hard and long walk, spent some quality time with my french horn, read Morning and Evening Prayer, and tried to relax a bit. I need to get better at that.

Friday (William Temple)

Usual AM routine; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Turned my attention once again to my sermon for Proper 27 (this Sunday at St Paul's, Carlinville). Exalted some valleys and made some rough places plain, and printed out a working script. Got to work on scanning a formidable pile of assorted hard copy materials that had been accumulated on my credenza's inbox. Presided and preached at the regular midday cathedral liturgy. Lunched with the Provost and two of his parishioners. Strictly social, no agenda. Got back to the scanning project. It was quite a pile. Took a phone call from a Nashotah House stakeholder. Sat prayerfully with my notes from exegetical commentaries on the readings for Christ the King (two weekends hence in Marion County Parish) and arrived at the single declarative message statement from which every sermon sprouts. Prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


Early morning treadmill workout. Task planning at home; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Participated in a routine conference call with the administrator and the investment manager of the Putnam Trust, which benefits two of our parishes, and of which the Bishop of Springfield is by title a co-trustee. Prepared to celebrate and preach at the midday Mass. Then discovered that I'm actually on tomorrow, not today. So I then prepared for tomorrow. Reviewed the resume of a potential candidate for one of our vacant parishes. Made contact by email with another potential candidate for the same vacancy. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Processed a few emails. Kept a routine dental hygiene appointment.  Took the rough outline of a homily for this Sunday (St Paul's, Carlinville) and developed them into a rough draft of a working text. In the midst of that project, I took time out for a substantive phone conversation with the Dean of Nashotah House. The hour was late; Evening P


Breakfast at Toddhall ... Morning Prayer (including an office hymn, with YFNB at the organ again, this time more respectably) ... more from our presenter Paul Hoffman (including a simulated catechumenal Bible study) ... Votive Mass "For All Baptized Christians," at which Pastor Hoffman preached ... lunch ... final presentation session with Q&A .... discussion with bishop & clergy on an unrelated topic ... took Pastor Hoffman ot STL, then headed north, arriving home around 5:30. It was a very good clergy conference.

Tuesday (Richard Hooker)

Back to a usual weekday morning routine, although it's been so long since I've been in the office in a "usual" way that it seemed a little exotic. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Lots of conferring with the Archdeacon and the Administrator on an array of issues. Sorted through the pile of hard copy material that had accumulated in my absence. Attended to some of the details of corporate worship at the clergy conference that began in the late afternoon. Wired some funds to our companion diocese in Tanzania--money that we've been accumulating and aggregating until there's enough to justify the wire transfer fee. Lunch from China 1, eaten at home. Drove southward at 1:45, and carried on four conversations with key players at Nashotah House over some exigent issues. Arrived at the airport in St Louis and retrieved Pastor Paul Hoffman (ELCA), the presenter for our clergy conference. Drove out to Toddhall, checked in, ate dinner, and gathered for Evening Prayer in

All Saints

Presided and preached at the 7:30 and 10am liturgies at St Matthew's, Bloomington, with the later celebration including two (adult) confirmations and two receptions. Good visit to a parish that is doing well under very capable leadership. Headed home for an afternoon and evening of rest, with a bit of email processing. Looking forward to a full day off tomorrow, the first since September 21.

Sermon for All Saints' Day

St Matthew's, Bloomington -- Matthew 5:1-12 Today is the feast of All Saints. It is a time when we remember, and give thanks for, and join in worship with, our fellow Christians of times past who have distinguished themselves in the corporate memory of the church for their heroic sanctity—devotion, courage, perseverance, holiness of    life. We honor them, we praise God for their example to us, and we bid their prayers on our behalf.  The lectionary of the Book of Common Prayer directs that, at the Mass for All Saints' Day, we read from St Matthew's account of Our Lord's "sermon on the mount;” more specifically, that portion of the sermon on the mount that is known as the "Beatitudes".  "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn ... blessed are the meek ... the merciful ... the pure in heart ... the peacemakers ... those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.” These are the qual