Showing posts from March, 2016

Easter Wednesday

I can pretty much just say "ditto" to what I wrote yesterday. Except to underscore that this has been the  best  Communion Partners meeting ever. We're not moving away from reactivity, through responsiveness, and into proactivity. Great energy, great synergy, great camaraderie. I'm excited. I'm also going dark in this space for a few days. If all goes according to plan (travel is always a vulnerable enterprise), Brenda will join me here midday tomorrow, and then we have a condo in New Smyrna Beach arranged for over the weekend. We fly home Monday and I'll be back in harness on Tuesday.

Easter Tuesday

At the Communion Partners meeting in Oviedo, FL (an Orlando suburb). There are seventeen bishops present: three domestic diocesans, one suffragan, three diocesans plus one coadjutor from Province IX (TEC dioceses in Spanish-speaking countries), two retired bishops, and three diocesans from the Anglican Church of Canada's "Gracious Restraint" group (CP counterparts). We are also joined by three members of the Communion Partner Rectors steering committee. So ... we worshiped, we ate, and we met--multiple iterations of each activity. The interchange has been exceedingly lively and fruitful, the best yet of these meetings. We are seeking to create a place where Episcopalians of traditional theological convictions can not only survive, but thrive. Beyond that, we want to sow "good seed" for the sake of the gospel among Anglican Christians--seed that, in time, will bear abundant fruit. We intend not to be reactive, but proactive.

Easter Monday

Despite the venerable tradition of clergy doing a disappearing act after Easter, my calendar called for me to get on a plane this morning. Yes, I am in Florida, which is nearly always a good thing. But I am hear for work--a gathering of Communion Partner bishops, and a couple of rectors, and three or four of our Canadian counterparts. That winds up on Thursday, when Brenda flies down to meet me and the delayed disappearing act happens over the weekend at a condo in New Smyrna Beach (where it looks like it will be raining, but we'll enjoy it anyway).

Easter Day

Under normal circumstances, I would have again been the cathedral this morning. But Trinity, Jacksonville is between rectors and does not have a regular supply priest, so it was the right decision for me to be out there. Mercifully, they only have one liturgy and it's not until 10am, so I didn't have to leave the house at an inordinately early hour. Everything went smoothly, and it was fun to be with the people of Trinity. After coffee, I was the guest of the senior warden and her husband at an Easter brunch at Jacksonville Country Club. It was lovely. Then I drove back to Springfield and joined Brenda, who was already at the home of a cathedral parishioner family with whom we have had Easter dinner most of the years we've been in Springfield, and it's always delightful to be with them and the other guests.

Easter Homily

Springfield Cathedral (Vigil) & Trinity Jacksonville (Easter Day) There is no eyewitness account of the actual event we are gathered here to celebrate.  No human eye saw Jesus cast off his grave clothes and stand upright. Nobody saw how the stone that sealed his tomb got rolled away. No one saw Jesus walk out of the grave. What we do have are eyewitness accounts of the tob being empty, and of Jesus already risen from the dead. First, of course, are the women, with Mary Magdalene in the lead. Then, on the evening of that first Easter Sunday, the risen Christ appeared to his disciples, then to others, as many as 500, as St Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians. Precisely because of what these people saw, and what they told others about what they saw, and for no other reason, you and I are assembled here at this moment doing what we’re doing. We may not be eye-witnesses, but we are ear-witnesses to the proclamation that Christ is risen from the dead. That annou

Holy Saturday / Easter Eve

Up and out in time to lead the cathedral altar guild at 9am in the Holy Saturday liturgy of the word. I've done this now for 25 consecutive years, in four different parish communities. For the sermon, I use a magnificent anonymous ancient homily on the harrowing of hell. Puttered around until 12:3o attending to various details of preparation for the Easter Vigil. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home, followed by some R & R. Practiced the french horn, took a walk, processed a short stack of emails. Back at the cathedral by 5:00. Puttered around some more. Led a liturgy rehearsal, enjoyed some pizza with the altar party and baptism/confirmation parties.  Got back to what seemed like an endless supply of preparatory details. Presided and preached at the Great Vigil of Easter. One adult baptism, three adult confirmations and three youth confirmations. Home a bit before 11pm.

Good Friday

Allowed myself a slightly more relaxed morning than usual, arriving at the office around 9:20, but there was no one to care because it's a staff holiday and I was the only one around. Spent a few minutes with the Blessed Sacrament on the Altar of Repose, then prayed the morning office in the nave. Most of the morning was devoted to exegeting the propers for Easter VII in preparation for preaching at St Mark's, West Frankfort and St Stephen's, Harrisburg on May 8. At midday I took a brisk walk on a brisk and breezy day. Until mid-afternoon I attended to tasks related to Nashotah House, diocesan canonical revision, and an ongoing pastoral issue. I then went home for a couple of hours and mostly rested. Then back to the cathedral around 5:00: Prayed the evening office and generally got ready for the evening liturgy. Rehearsal with the altar party was at 6:00 and the service at 7:00. Good Friday is a choreographically challenging, but we pulled if off, I believe, with grace. Th

Maundy Thursday

Usual Thursday morning date with my treadmill. Morning Prayer in the office (church was being cleaned). Puttered around with the Provost and a couple of sacristan/altar guild types making physical preparations and talking through logistics for tonight's Maundy Thursday liturgy. Surfed through commentaries on the 14th chapter of St John's gospel in preparation for preaching on VI Easter (May 1 at Redeemer, Cairo). Plotted and scheduled necessary actions in preparation for two ordinations coming up in May. Lunch at home, leftovers. Made car rental arrangements in Dallas for the Living Church Foundation board meeting late next month, Discussed with the Administrator some details concerning the contract with the database software vendor whose customer we are about to become. Poked around the website of a training program--out of the diocese but nearby--that might be a solution for one of our diaconal postulants. Responded to a couple of pastoral care situations via email.

Wednesday in Holy Week

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared to preside and preach at the midday Mass. Had a substantive phone conversation with one of our rectors over the canonical revisions that are in process. Spent the rest of the morning writing a  pastoral letter to the diocese  and putting final touches on liturgical materials related to the subject of the letter. Just before I left to go say Mass, I got a text message informing me of the death of 97-year old priest whose parishioner I became 40 years ago this August. I was probably the first to offer a eucharistic intention for the repose of his soul. Lunch at home, leftovers. Pored over my notes on the readings for Easter V and gave birth to the message statement (simple statement of good news, present tense, indicative mood, with no subordinate clauses and no imperatives) for my homily on that occasion (24 April at Trinity, Yazoo City, MS). Kept an appointment with a gastroenterologist--consult in preparation for a procedure that clini

Tuesday in Holy Week

Task planning at home (49 taks on the radar for this week). Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Substantive (planned) phone conversation with the rector of Emmanuel, Champaign to discuss some of the details and meta-details of my visitation there on Easter III (April 10). Got to work on refining my homily for Easter (Vigil at the cathedral, morning in Jacksonville). Broke off from that work at 10:30 to participate in a planned regular conference call with U.S. Trust/Bank of America regarding the Putnam Trust. Stepped across the alley to confer with the cathedral Provost over some broad and fine details of Saturday night's Easter Vigil liturgy. Got back to and completed my sermon refining work. Executed a form signalling my consent for the Diocese of West Texas to elect of Bishop Suffragan, Attended briefly to a technology issue pertaining to our email domain. Attended the regularly-scheduled cathedral Mass for Tuesday in Holy Week. Lunch at home, leftover. Spoke by phone w

Palm Sunday

Preached at 8am and preached/celebrated at 10:30 at St Paul's cathedral. It's always a joy to be in my "home" church for Holy Week. After a meal and nap (with the classic film  Roman Holiday  on in the background), Brenda and I hit the road southbound to St Luke's Hospital in suburban St Louis to look in on Bishop Ed Salmon (retired of South Carolina, former Board Chair and long-term interim Dean of Nashotah House, and canonically resident in Springfield), who is trying the sort out some complications from treatment for prostate cancer. Unfortunately, he was undergoing a long battery of tests, so we didn't get to spend much time with him--just a short time of prayer before they stuck him back in an imaging tube. Please hold him in your prayers, as he is very uncomfortable. In the meantime, Chris DeWitt snapped this photo yesterday that looks like a portrait but is actually candid. Then photographic artist Richard Hill, seeing it on Facebook, tuned it

Sermon for Palm Sunday

Springfield Cathedral For people of my generation, one of the watershed events of our youth, one of the benchmarks by which we measure the passage of time, was the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. I was in the seventh grade when it happened, too young to have a very mature political perspective. All I knew was, he was the President of my country, the father of two young children, and he had been brutally murdered. To this day, I cannot hear the Navy Hymn,  Eternal Father, strong to save , without getting a lump in my throat, because I associate it so strongly with hearing it played incessantly as President Kennedy’s flag-draped coffin was drawn through the streets of Washington while millions of Americans watched on television. Many times, I have watched a dramatic portrayal of that trip to Dallas, and knowing full well how it was going to turn out, found myself glued to my seat in anticipation, subconsciously hoping that there will be a last-minute change in the parade

St Joseph

The centerpiece of the day was the Mass of Chrism, at which the clergy of the diocese, along with their bishop, renew their ordination vows, and we bless oils to be used in baptism and the anointing of the sick. Before that event, I participated in part of a Standing Committee meeting, and afterward (and after the lunch for clergy and families), I met with two persons in the ordination path to the diaconate and one of our parish priests. Then I saw to some details pertaining to tomorrow's celebration of Palm Sunday at the cathedral. Got home around 2:30, dead tired.

Chrism Mass Homily (St Joseph's Day)

Thanks to serendipity, or to the Holy Spirit, or, perhaps, to both, the Saturday before Palm Sunday, which is when we’ve been having the Mass of Chrism in this diocese, happens to coincide with a Prayer Book major holy day, the feast of St Joseph, which, in turn, always coincides with the anniversary of the consecration of the eleventh Bishop of Springfield, but, in this case, a somewhat nodal anniversary thereof, being the fifth. Five years ago at this very hour, many of us who are here today were gathered across town at the First United Methodist Church to do the deed that gives me a guaranteed seat in this church whenever I come by, no matter how crowded it might otherwise be! So I have a bit of a homiletical needle to thread this morning. I don’t want to allow either an ordination anniversary, or the feast of St Joseph, to overshadow the ordinary, regular occasion that we are observing. Both of those are, in a sense, interlopers, uninvited guests who just happened to be in

Friday (St Cyril of Jerusalem)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Attended to a fairly substantial list of details pertaining to tomorrow's Chrism Mass. I think I have it pretty much in hand, but there will be some last-minute concerns. This took a good while. Responded to an email from my colleague and companion, the Bishop of Tabora. Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Processed a couple of late-arriving emails. Met with two of our new postulants for ordination to a priesthood (a married couple). Excited about their potential. Drafted some more liturgical materials in connection with a special initiative that I will introduce to the clergy tomorrow at the luncheon following the Chrism Mass, and roll out to the rest of the diocese next week. Prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary. We are blessed to have in the cathedral stained-glass windows that represent the Sorrowful and Joyful Mysteries along the sides of the nave and the Glorious Mysteries at the clerestory level in the sanctuary. And there's roo

Thursday (St Patrick)

Task planning at home--38 items on the radar, most of which will have to wait until next week. Conferred with the Archdeacon on a range of concerns, and developments therein that arose during my absence. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Took preparations for tonight's Lenten teaching series at Trinity, Lincoln from the "rough" stage to the "refined" stage. Attended to some Communion Partners business via substantive emails to two individuals. Refined and printed the working text of my homily for Palm Sunday, to be delivered at St Paul's Cathedral. Dashed off emails to two of our priests celebrating ordination anniversaries. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home Performed reconstructive surgery on an old Easter homily to make it fit for a reprise this year--at the cathedral Easter Vigil and Trinity, Jacksonville on Easter morning. Worked on a budding initiative, soon to be rolled out, that will invite the diocese to a special period of focused prayer b


A day of travel. All went smoothly. It is, as always, wonderful to be home.


Fifth and final day of the Spring House of Bishops meeting .

Saturday (St Gregory of Rome)

Get your pixels while they're hot. Day 2 HoB action here.


First full day at Spring House of Bishops. See the full account here .


Mostly a travel day; some visiting and getting settled. Up and out in time to catch the 10:33 United flight to O'Hare, then the 12:50 departure to Houston. Everything ran pretty close to on time, but it was a rough ride through some weather getting to Texas. People actually pay money to amusement parks for similar experiences. We landed in Houston around 4:00, and the Camp Allen shuttle got five of my bishop colleagues and me to the camp a little past 6:00. They had dinner waiting for us. I took the rest of the evening getting settled in my room, doing some intentional walking, and catching up with colleagues as they arrive. The formal agenda begins tomorrow.

Wednesday (St Gregory Nyssen)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared for the midday Mass. Check in by phone with Fr Jim Fackler, whose wife Joan passed away yesterday after a long, slow slide into dementia  Consulted with the Provost and the Secretary across the alley at St Paul's about our Chrism Mass program printing technical issues. They were very kind to work with us, and, after some fits and starts, we emerged with a camera-ready master that we can take to a printer for duplication.  Surveyed several possibilities in my files and eventually identified a Palm Sunday homily from a very long time ago that was suitable for freshening up and repurposing for use this year. Then I focused on the freshening up and repurposing. Downloaded the schedule for the soon-to-begin House of Bishops meeting and put it into an accessible electronic form. Celebrated and preached the midday Mass, keeping the lesser feast of St Gregory of Nyssa. Lunch from Dynasty (Asian place next to TG), eaten at home. Routine sca


Usual weekday AM routine. MP in the cathedral. Dealt by email with an ongoing and increasingly vexing pastoral-administrative issue. Answered an email inquiry from a lay leader in one of our vacant parishes seeking advice on interviewing techniques. Arranged for a check to be cut to one of our Eucharistic Communities to assist with a small but unexpected capital outlay. Did the rough planning for my fifth and final Lenten teaching series presentation at Trinity, Lincoln--which will not take place this Thursday, since I'll be away at House of Bishops, but, rather on the 17th. Drafted and emailed a proposal to the Finance Committee for the acquisition of database software and a couple of new office computers. Lunch from home. Leftovers. Produced a camera-ready version of the Chrism Mass program.  Theoretically  camera-ready, that is. It looks great on a screen. But we so seldom produce service booklets in the diocesan office that we forget how to do it from one time to the ne

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Out the door at 7:40am (solo) en route to a 10am arrival in Mt Vernon and the regular 10:30 Sunday Mass at Trinity Church. This being Rose Sunday in Lent, I got to wear the parish's twice-a-year-only vestments. But, let's face it, while formally "rose," this chasuble is effectively pink. But I've always been told I look good in pink. Anyway, it was a good visit to a thriving Eucharistic Community. Home around 3:15. Caught The Revenant with Brenda in the evening. Impressive performance by the lead actor, but the movie was unsatisfying tilting toward disappointment. Revenge isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Sermon for Lent IV

Trinity, Mount Vernon -- Luke 15:11-32 , II Corinthians 5:17-21 In the early 1980s, I spent several months selling medical insurance to members of the Oregon Wheat Growers League—farmers and ranchers, mostly in the central and eastern part of the state, some of it actually near where some recent drama on federal land took place! Every farm family, I’m convinced, has at least one dog, and, out in the country, of course, they’re not likely to be tied to a leash or behind a fence. So I formed a habit of trying to spot the local canine and assess its friendliness before getting out of my car. I was particularly glad when the dog seemed old, tired, and, best of all, sound asleep. I learned the meaning of the expression, “let sleeping dogs lie.” If the dog was asleep, I wasn’t going to disturb its slumber. Using such precautions, I only got bit once! It was a strategy that served well to protect my health. But there is also an unhealthy application of the proverb, “Let sleeping dogs


Generally took things easy--late breakfast, some french horn playing, cleaned up my computer desktop (badly needed), long walk, routine calendar maintenance chores, a bit of email processing.


Dropped my car off at the dealer for service. Walked down Second Street to the office. Morning Prayer in the cathedral chapel (cleaning going on in the nave). Prayed and sat with the readings for Easter VII, in preparation for preaching at St Stephen's, Harrisburg and St Mark's, West Frankfort on May 8. Took timeouts from this work to take two substantive phone calls: one from the previous Dean of Nashotah House (and my predecessor as Chairman of the Board, now deservedly retired in St Louis), and one from the current Dean of Nashotah House. Dealt by email with some issues around one of our parochial vacancies. Reviewed and commented on draft minutes from the February Diocesan Council meeting. Lunch from ChiTown's Finest (Italian beef), eaten at home. Reviewed the Renewal Works reports for St John's, Decatur. Reviewed a draft resolution from the Archdeacon regarding Outreach Fund expenditures for presentation at the next Council meeting. Made arrangements for a

Thursday (John & Charles Wesley)

Customary Thursday treadmill workout. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Completed preparations for this evening's Lenten series presentation at Trinity, Lincoln. Dealt by email with a couple of ongoing pastoral/administrative issues. Participated with the Administrator in a long (more than 90 minutes) webinar-style presentation by yet another database software vendor. I believe we are now in a position to zero in on a decision. Lunch from KFC, eaten at home. Assembled a dossier on a candidate for one of our parochial vacancies and sent it off (electronically) to the appropriate lay leaders. Read and responded to an Ember Day letter from one of our Postulants. Prayed over the readings for Easter VI, made a first pass at them, jotted down a few questions and note--all in anticipation of preaching at Redeemer, Cairo on May 1. Processed a handful of emails containing routine financial reports from our mission congregations.  Evening Prayer in the cathedral. Headed up to Linc

Wednesday (St Chad)

Task planning at home; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared to preside and preach at the midday Mass. Conferred with the Provost over a scheduling issue. Spent some quality time with various commentaries (mostly Raymond Brown on John) on the readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, in preparation for preaching on that occasion at Trinity Church, Yazoo City, MS, where I have a DEPO relationship. I always wish I had more time for Bible study. I could have spent the whole day on just that. Took an online survey in connection with the clinical trial I'm part of (heart valve). Presided and preached at the Eucharist in observance of the lesser feast of St Chad. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Reviewed a draft bulletin for Easter Sunday at Trinity, Jacksonville (where I will be supplying). Made a few tweaks and sent the draft back to the parish office. Developed a fully-inputted draft of the program for the Chrism Mass on March 19. Took the rough draft of a Chrism Mass homily tha

Tuesday (St David)

As I began to plan my work week, I was slightly terrified that there were 77 individual action items on my radar. But by 4pm, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had cleared more than one-third of them (26), with three days left to take care of the 51 (plus the handful that will appear in the meantime) that remain. Of course, the reason I was able to burn through so many today was that most of them required rather little time--responding to emails, setting appointments, continuing to process last month's COM meeting, etc. The most time-consuming action was making air travel arrangements for a Communion Partners event in Orlando during Easter Week, followed by four days of personal time nearby on the Florida coast with Brenda. As it turned out, we were able to book on Allegiant Air nonstop from Springfield to Orlando. We'll see how that goes. MP and EP in the cathedral. Lunch at home. Still feeling underpowered due to iron deficiency, but it's nice to now know why