Showing posts from May, 2016

Visitation of the BVM

Morning Prayer at home. Refined, edited, and printed a working script for my homily at this evening's ordination. Met with the Dean over a couple of important but non-urgent concerns. Began to work on refining my homily for this weekend (Saturday night in Robinson, Sunday morning in Albion and Mt Carmel). Out the door at 10:45 (the power in the office having just been knocked out by a thunderstorm, anyway) for an appointment with my primary care physician.  Picked up some lunch at Long John Silver's (not on my usual beaten path, but convenient today) and brought it home to eat. The person at the drive-through window said of my attire, "I like the purple. Nice look." After lunch, remained home and complete the sermon work I had begun in the office. Processed a short stack of emails. Out the door again just past 2:30, this time headed for Danville, with a stop back at the office to pick up the book that ordinands need to sign after they promise conformity to &q

Richard Lewis Ordination (Visitation of the BVM)

Holy Trinity, Danville --Luke 1:39-57; Romans 12:9-16b This is certainly a happy occasion. It’s one that Richard has looked forward to for a long wile now, and, just as intently, it has been looked forward to by the parish family of Holy Trinity. Richard has been part of the life of this community for many, many years. And so he comes to this transitional moment  from  among you, having been one  of  you. Tonight is one incremental step in altering the shape of that relationship. On a very technical level, Richard will no longer  belong  to Holy Trinity; he will no longer be a member of Holy Trinity the way he has up until this point. Rather, he will belong to the diocese and to the whole church. Having come from you, he will now be set apart by prayer and the laying-on of hands, and  assigned  to you. He’ll be the same person, but the dynamics of the relationship will be different.   Richard has served Holy Trinity for more than a year now as a licensed Lay Pastoral Leader. A


8am Morning Prayer & Mass in St Mary's Chapel (keeping the feast of Corpus Christi, transferred, since we always observe Jackson Kemper at Commencement), followed by a somewhat attenuated breakfast ahead of a firm 9:30 start time for the regular May meeting of the Board of Directors. We were joined by several Members of the corporation, who had seat but not voice, although on selected occasions we solicited their input. The bulk of the morning was devoted to figuring out how to deal prudently with the financial straits that the House finds itself in, although they are not as narrow as they were a year and two ago. After an expeditious 30 minute lunch, we dealt with more routine concerns--election of officers (I am once again the Chairman), cleaning up some language in our statutes and policies, adopting new Audit Committee protocols. We were finished at 2:50. Forty minutes later I was on the road toward the Twin Cities, where my daughter and her husband and their two children l

Thursday (Corpus Christi)

Morning Prayer was a 7:30, but most everybody, YFNB included, thought it was a 8:00, so ... on the breakfast. At 9:15 I headed over to the St John's-Northwestern Military Academy chapel to vest and get otherwise oriented and organized for commencement, which was at 10:00 (on this, everyone agreed). I know the chapel is not air-conditioned, so I expected to be uncomfortable, and I was, but it could certainly have been worse. After the Dean and Faculty award the earned degrees (of which there were 26, including two from the Diocese of Springfield), it's my turn to award the honorary degrees, of which there were two: Bishop Michael Marshall (who was one of my homiletical and catechetical heroes as long ago as the early 1980s ... so, very cool) and Bishop Harold Miller of Down & Dromore. I then presided at the Eucharist, which was a distinct privilege.  Just enough time to pose for pictures, air out a bit, grab some lunch in the refectory, and head down to the room called

Wednesday (St Bede)

8am, Morning Prayer in St Mary's Chapel 8:45ish until 10:15ish--breakfast in the refectory. Sat a bit with Matthew Dallman to review the draft of the liturgy for his ordination to the diaconate on June 11. Processed some emails. 10:30-11:45ish: Attended the annual Alumni Day Mass, in the chapel. Brilliant homily from Fr Joel Prather of the Diocese of Milwaukee on the importance and relevance of St Bede. Noonish until 1:30ish: Lunch for alumni and tomorrow's graduates at the Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc. 2:00-3:30: Attended a presentation by Fr Jack Gabig (faculty) and Fr Lee Nelson (alumn) on some ideas about catechesis in a post-Christian culture. Relevant and timely. Sat in the refectory (where there's good wifi) and processed emails. 4:30-5:40ish: Solemn Evensong in the chapel, which included a "sermonic lecture" from the Bishop of Down & Dromore in the Church of Ireland, Harold Miller. It was superb. Gala banquet in Adams Hall, which included the p

Tuesday (Jackson Kempter)

Last night I had driven as far as Rockford, so this morning I got up and continued my journey to Nashotah House, where I arrived around 10. Spent the morning signing some certificates and catching up with the Dean and the Secretary of the Directors on a range of issues. Lunch in the refectory, then I got settled in to my quarters (just a few feet from where I lived as a student in the 80s). Then it was off to the nearby St John's-Northwestern Military Academy chapel, venue for commencement on Thursday, for a liturgy rehearsal. Back on campus, I processed several emails, and then attended semi-choral Evensong (the Psalm and Canticles were sung by the choir) in a packed chapel. This was followed by a reception in the refectory for Professor (of Church Music) Joseph Kucharski, who is retiring. The evening was capped off by a smallish gathering of some Corporation Members (formerly known as Trustees) and three of those who have been nominated for election as members.

Trinity Sunday

Met Mother Kathryn Jeffrey, rector of St Andrew's, Carbondale (with St James' Chapel, Marion) for breakfast at 8:30. We then headed to the church ahead of the regular 10am Sunday liturgy, at which we received one adult and confirmed her teenage daughter. The liturgy was enhanced by the presence of a harpist--not something I've experienced very many times--and she was joined by an accomplished flutist, in addition to the regular keyboard musician (piano today, as the organ is acting up). Toward the conclusion of the coffee hour I made about a 20 minutes presentation on the approaches to parish mission strategy. Pointed the YFNBmobile toward home around 12:30 and pulled into my driveway a little bit before 4:00. After a walk and a casual meal out with Brenda, I spent much of the evening responding to emails. This entire week will be devoted to travel, and some stuff just needed to get done sooner or later.

Sermon for Trinity Sunday

St Andrew's, Carbondale w/ St James', Marion -- John 16:12-15 ,  Romans 5:1-5 , Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 You’ve probably noticed how difficult it is for human beings to get along sometimes, right? That’s why we have wars. That’s why we have lawyers. That’s why we have conciliators and facilitators and psychotherapists. Countries have conflicts with other countries; we see it on the news every day. Very serious cutthroat competition drives our marketplaces. Extended families are dysfunctional across multiple generations. Even those who claim to be followers of Jesus squabble amongst themselves over all kinds of things, both major and minor. And I’m sure that none of this comes as any news to you. It’s just the environment we live in. But, as Christians, as followers of Jesus, we have a distinctive attitude toward all this ubiquitous conflict. We certainly live under its shadow—whether the conflict is global or local, whether it’s substantial and dangerous or just petty and


Out the door at 8:30, headed south. Arrived at St Paul's, Alton at about 10:15. Presided over the installation of the Revd Cindy Sever as Rector of Alton Parish. It was an energetic and lovely ceremony. After the post-liturgical potluck I headed further south still, arriving at St James', Marion in time for their regular Lord's Day celebration, which occurs on the eve thereof. Presided, preached, and laid hands on one person renewing her baptismal vows. Dinner for vestry and spouses at the home of St Andrew's, Carbondale parishioner Trish Guyon, which is always an elegant affair. By now she knows what I like to drink and what I like to eat, so it's pretty special.

Friday (St Alcuin)

Arrived at the cathedral/office complex and puttered around the cathedral nave and chancel *kind of* getting ready for the Diocesan Council Mass, but not fully because the painters, who had scaffolding erected all over the place just yesterday, were still working on clearing out of that end of the building and setting up in the other one. I was able to get a few things done, however.  Short form of Morning Prayer in the office. Got my iPad and Bluetooth keyboard set up and worked on drafting my homily for Proper 6 (June 4-5 in Robinson, Albion, and Mt Carmel). Presided and preached at the Council Mass, keeping the lesser feast of St Alcuin of York. Presided over the regular quarterly meeting of the Diocesan Council. There was a positive spirit, and we got done what needed to be done (looking at YTD finances, approving outreach grants, to name a couple of the highlights) quite efficiently, and were finished right around noon. The usual handful of post-meeting sidebar conversations

Thursday (St Dunstan)

Morning Prayer in the office.  Spent a substantial amount of time on two different phone conversations trying to straighten out a particularly vexatious pastoral-administrative matter. I broke every one of family systems theory's best practices, but, in the end, it seemed to get the job done.  Finished my prep for a coffee hour presentation I'm set to make at St Andrew's, Carbondale on Sunday.  Reviewed the draft liturgy sheet for my visit to St John's, Albion on June 5.  Reviewed, in my capacity as a board member, some draft materials pertaining to an imminent capital campaign by the Living Church Foundation.  Took care of an administrative loose ends with respect to one of our postulants.  Lunch at home. Leftovers.  Planned the liturgy (readings, service music, hymns) for the Synod Mass in October and passed that info along to the organist.  Took a brief walk on a beautiful afternoon.  Began to work on drafting the text of my homily on the occasion of a dia


Morning Prayer in the office. Prepared to preside and preach at the midday Eucharist. Took care of some administrative details regarding a cleric who is leaving us for another diocese. Followed up on an administrative matter pertaining to one of our postulants.  Reviewed the draft liturgy booklet for this Saturday's installation of the new rector of Alton Parish. Spoke by phone with Bishop Thomas Paprocki, my Roman Catholic counterpart. Another first get-to-know-you meeting with an individual considering discernment toward ordination. Celebrated the midday Mass, using the collect and readings for Proper 2. Lunch from HyVee, eaten at home. Worked for a good while on liturgy planning for the St Michael's Youth Conference next month. Worked on a smallish presentation I'm set to make this Sunday at St Andrew's, Carbondale. Made a hotel reservation for an upcoming out-of-town trip. Worked a bit more on preparing liturgical materials for an upcoming diaconal ordi


Morning Prayer in the office (cathedral nave being worked on). Debriefed with the Archdeacon over some ongoing issues. Worked with Sue on some communication details about the November clergy conference. Worked on some Nashotah House business ahead of next week's meetings of the Corporation and the Board of Directors. Traded emails with the senior warden of a vacant cure, which resulted in a later-morning phone conversation with another bishop. But it all ended happily, as we finished the day with a signed Letter of Agreement, with the call to be announced in that parish this Sunday. Edited, refined, and printed a working text of my homily for Trinity Sunday, to be delivered at St James', Marion and St Andrew's, Carbondale. Met with the Dean of St Paul's over a short array of concerns. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Met with the Archdeacon and the Administrator for a ritual that usually takes place midsummer, but is moved up by my impending sabbatical--"election


St George's, Belleville always seems to have a happy vibe, which makes me happy to visit there. Wonderful hospitality, dinner last night with vestry and spouses, after-dinner beer pub with four of them, opportunity for teaching on the spiritual life and appropriately "spirited" discussion sandwiched between two energetic liturgies, the second one including the confirmation of a Methodist pastor (currently on leave) who is enthusiastically discovering the Anglican roots of his own tradition. Then, Mexican lunch in downtown Belleville with Fr Dale and Deacon Jody Coleman. And the takeaway line from my homily: The linguistic unity of Pentecost is a sign of the reversal of the curse of Babel.

Homily for Pentecost

St George's, Belleville -- Acts 2:1-11 If you’ve ever done any foreign travel, you’ve experienced in a firsthand and practical way the fact that human beings speak different languages. And sometimes it’s the same language: Brenda and I once rented a movie that was made in northern England and we had to turn on the closed caption feature because we couldn’t understand a word of what anybody was saying, and they were speaking English! And I can remember being in a truck stop restaurant in rural Tennessee, and needing my southern-educated daughter to interpret for the waitress. The language barrier has a deep impact on the way human beings relate to one another. Wars have been fought because of misunderstandings arising from differences in verbal communication. In one of the briefer and more obscure parts of the Book of Genesis, we find an attempt to explain the origin of linguistic diversity. It’s the story of the Tower of Babel. This is the stuff of legend, of course, rathe


At the cathedral-office complex around 9:20, and right away began the run-up to the liturgy at which we ordained David Wells to the priesthood. There are so many details prior to an event like this, that it feels like I never stop walking (and, at the end of the day, my pedometer bears that out). The ordination went splendidly in every department; I couldn't have been more pleased. The post-liturgical reception was equally wonderful.  I left the area around 2:00, and headed home, where I had less than an hour to rest a bit, process some email, and packs for an overnight. Hit the road with Brenda at 2:50 and landed at St George's, Belleville at just the right interval ahead of their 5:00pm observance of Evening Prayer, at which I was the officiant. Most of the congregation were vestry members and spouses, who subsequently joined us for dinner at Bella Milano in O'Fallon. After dinner we joined two other couples for a libation at a beer bar next door to the restaurant. Con


Went to bed feeling like a pile of rags and woke up feeling like a healthy human being. Not sure what the direct cause was, but it was surely an answer to prayer. Morning Prayer in the office (they clean in the cathedral on Friday mornings). Took care of a small administrative matter pertaining to the ordination process. Attended to some details on my calendar for the next few weeks, recognized a conflict, and began to take steps toward resolving it. Spoke by phone with the Bishop of Massachusetts. One of his ordinands has been called to a parish in our diocese, and he was just doing some due diligence on that score, since the individual in question needs to be formally released by him in order to take the position here. Got to play with hot wax and seal several certificates: one for tomorrow's ordination to the priesthood, one for the institution of a rector later this month, one for an ordination to the diaconate at the end of the month, and one for the newly-elected  Dean


Usual weekday AM routine. Devotions and Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Placed an online order for another batch of four starched cotton collars from Wippel. I like it that their online store is up and running--this used to require a phone call--but it was still more time-consuming than I would have liked. First get-to-know-you meeting with a potential diaconal ordinand and his priest. We've had a good batch of these lately. Good people who, if and when ordained, will serve with distinction. Decided to "call in sick" for the rest of the day. I started feeling progressively worse beginning yesterday morning--labored breathing, interior chest soreness upon inhalation. A trip to the urgent care clinic came up with the plausible theory that I'm having a reaction to a course of uber-strong antibiotics that I began taking on Wednesday and must continue for eleven more days. This is to destroy a bacterial infection in my stomach that was detected during an endoscopy a c


Morning Prayer in the office (cathedral interior still being painted). Began preparations to preside and preach at the midday Mass. Participated with the other usual denizens of the Diocesan Center in a tutorial session on the new network copier/printer/fax/scanner that we have obtained. My main interest was in figuring out how to print liturgy booklets on those relatively rare occasions that it falls to us to do so, and has been a significant source of frustration. We arrived at a workable way to do so, but it is not my ideal elegant solution. Completed preparations for Mass. Answered a couple of emails that have been hanging for a couple of days. Began to shape my details notes for a Trinity Sunday homily into a rough draft text. Presided and preached at the Mass, using the special liturgical resources for our in-progress novena for the disruptive outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the diocese. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Resumed work on the Trinity Sunday sermon, and completed


Morning Prayer in the office (cathedral interior being painted). Met with the Provost over an emerging pastoral concern. Addressed a couple of more bits of pastoralia via email. Took care of a bit of administrivia. First get-to-know-you visit with an individual in the early stages of an ordination discernment process, along with his parish priest. Met with one of our priests over a couple of different pastoral and systemic issues emerging in the congregation. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Refined, edited, formatted and printed a working text for this Sunday's homily (St George's, Belleville). Spent the balance of the afternoon with my music publishing software, preparing an item for an upcoming ordination liturgy. Evening Prayer in the office.

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Up and out of my Marion hotel room in time to make the relatively short drive to St Mark's, West Frankfort ahead of their specially-scheduled Sunday Eucharist at 8:30 (usual time is 9:00). Preached and presided with a congregation of about 20 people before skipping coffee hour and heading straight to St Stephen's, Harrisburg to their specially-scheduled 10:30 liturgy (usually at 10:00), to which I was about five minutes late, but they waited for me. This time I didn't have to run off right away, so I got to enjoy always splendid gustatory hospitality of St Stephen's (two of whose members really know how to barbecue--there was both brisket and pulled pork). I had the pleasure of being diverted by a ball game on the radio the entire drive home (and for a while thereafter; it went 13 innings), so it didn't seem all that long.

Sermon for VII Easter

St Mark's, West Frankfort & St Stephen's, Harrisburg -- John 17:20-26 I trust it will come as no shock to you if I were to say that sometimes Christians don’t get along with one another, right? I know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes there is conflict among those who claim to be followers of Jesus. Before becoming a bishop and getting involved with 35 different parish communities, I was individually involved with eight others, over my entire adult life, either as a layperson or a priest. And so I know about conflict it churches. It happens within local congregations. It happens between congregations within a diocese—I could tell you some stories about such conflict and disunity right here in the Diocese of Springfield. It happens between congregations and the rest of the diocese, or the leaders of the diocese. It happens between dioceses and provinces, what we call “national churches,” In the last decade, we’ve seen five dioceses vote to leave the Episcopal Church,


Home alone--Brenda is in Chicago, having attended our daughter-in-law's baby shower (grandchild #3 for us due later this month). I took a long walk (one of my usual routes of about four miles), paid some bills, processed a bunch of emails, make travel arrangements for a couple of upcoming trips, watched the Cubs-Nationals game, and hit the road south around 6pm. Talked en route with one of our clergy over some pastoral concerns. Arrived in Marion at 9:00, grabbed dinner at the 17th Street BBQ, and checked in at the Hampton Inn. Looking forward to visiting St Mark's, West Frankford at 8:30 and St Stephen's, Harrisburg at 10:30 tomorrow morning.


Morning Prayer in the cathedral (including the special Novena collect). Addressed some business related to our companion relationship with Peru. Refined the text of my homily for this Sunday (West Frankfort and Harrisburg), then condensed, formatted, and printed it such that it fits on a single folded sheet of paper. Different congregational and physical dynamics dictate different delivery styles. While all this was happening, I devoted various chunks of time to working with an IT guy who was in refining the installation of our technology upgrade. In my case, it means configuring my diocesan email account (now hosted by Microsoft 365) to play nicely with the client app (IQTell) in which I read, write, and process emails. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Dealt at some length with a pastoral issue pertaining to the ordination process. Plotted sermon prep actions for the Sundays between the time I return from my sabbatical in mid-October and the beginning of Advent. This is a


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Sent a gift from my Discretionary Fund via Western Union to help with a mini-sabbatical for the Bishop of Tabora. Devoted another chunk of planning time to a clergy conference in November. Arranged a date and time for a first meeting with a potential ordinand. Wrote an email to the Treasurer regarding a financial issue in one of our parishes. Extended and substantive phone conversation over some issues related to the ordination process. Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. (while working from home for the afternoon) Gave birth to a message statement for the sermon I will deliver one the last visitation before my sabbatical, the first weekend in June (a trifecta: Robinson, Albion, Mt Carmel). Performed some fairly minor surgery on a Pentecost sermon from a prior year, rehabilitated for this year at St George's, Belleville. Worked on some musical issues pertaining to a scheduled ordination later this month. Left with Brenda at 2:45 for poin

Rogation Wednesday (St Monnica)

A reasonably routine weekday morning ... except I forgot my office key at home and had to go back an get it because nobody else was there yet. Of course, by the time I got back, people were there. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Consulted with the Archdeacon on a couple of ongoing issues. Consulted with the Administrator on some of the details of some significant technology upgrades we're in the midst of (new network copier/printer, more robust wifi, two new computers). Prepared to preside and preach at the noon Mass. Attended to some of the planning details of two upcoming ordinations. Took a phone call from a prospective candidate for one of our vacant cures. Spoke by phone with the Dean of Nashotah House on a couple of matters. Began drafting my homily for this Sunday (West Frankfort and Harrisburg). Celebrated the midday Mass, keeping the feast of St Monnica. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. With various interruptions, continued working on this Sunday's serm

Rogation Tuesday (St Athanasius)

Today the Bishop decided he just needed to be a Dad. Offspring #1 needed companionship and help as she piloted the rented truck holding all her worldly goods from Springfield to Chicago, the last leg of her move from New York City. It all went well, and it was the right thing to do. I caught the 5:15 departure on Amtrak, which pulled into Springfield fashionably late, around 9:00. En route, I availed myself of Amtrak Connect wif-fi and got a respectable amount of work done.

Sixth Sunday of Easter

These are the ones we could round up after Mass this morning at Redeemer, Cairo. There were actually 40 in all, but some of them ducked out to the potluck and missed the group shot. Eight confirmations, one reception, and two reaffirmations. The challenges in Cairo are daunting, which makes what's going on at Redeemer a "thousand points of light" just in itself. We sang "There's a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place" as the liturgy began. Indeed, there was.

Homily for Easter VI

Redeemer, Cairo -- John 14:23-29 When you stop and think about it, it’s a little strange that we’re here this morning doing what we’re doing. I mean, it’s seems pretty normal and routine to us, because we do it all the time, we do it routinely. But for someone who doesn’t know us, who isn’t familiar with who we are—who we are as Christians who worship in the Anglican tradition in connection to the Episcopal Church—what we’re doing, and the place we’re doing it in, are more than a little bit strange—maybe even weird. We are gathered here to read and think about some documents that are around 2,000 years old. And in just a few minutes, we’re going to take some bread and some wine and set them apart on a special table. Then we’re going to bless them through our prayers, break the bread, and give it to those who approach this table in faith. We are doing nothing less than obeying a command of Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our Lord—a command that we find in one of those 2,000 year-old