Showing posts from November, 2016

St Andrew's Day

Still in Salt Lake City for the meeting of the "bishops of small dioceses" group. (The Presiding Bishop was also with us last night and this morning.) We discussed a wide range of issues, some planned and some spontaneous, all broadly concerned with what might be labeled "missionary strategy," with particular attention to our rapidly-changing societal environment. This included looking at a couple of General Convention resolutions from 2015, one of which encourages dioceses to consider merging and consolidating (not a popular concept in any given diocese) and the other creating a task force to examine the means by which bishops are chosen. In the afternoon, we heard from a representative of the Church Pension Group about the rollout of some major changes (all positive, IMO) in the pension plan for clergy. In the midst of all this, I managed to squeeze in two quite substantive phone conversations about emerging pastoral matters. We celebrated the Eucharist at 5:00 an


Up and out at an ungodly hour to catch the 5:40am United flight from Springfield to Chicago, then a 9:10 departure for Salt Lake City. I'm here for an annual (more or less) meeting of a group called "bishops of small dioceses," which is self-selecting. By any measure, though, Springfield qualifies. Last time we met, there were only about five in attendance. This year there are more than double that number, including two from the Anglican Church of Canada. There always seems to be something substantial coming out of these meetings that benefits our life together in the Diocese of Springfield.

Advent Sunday

Celebrated, preached, and confirmed at St Thomas', Salem. As always, a tasty post-liturgical repast and lots of good conversation. Hit the road for home just before noon and pulled into the driveway a little past 2:00. Sunday mornings are the highlight of my week, every week. And I get paid to do this. Amazing.

Sermon for Advent I

Marion County Parish -- Matthew 24:37-44 , Isaiah 2:1-15, Romans 13:8-14 Having raised three children into adulthood, I’ve had many occasions on which to reflect, over the past several years, on the differences between the environment in which they were raised and the environment in which I was raised. In many respects, my children and I were raised in very different worlds. But there is one experience, at least, that they and I share. We’ve all had some version of the following conversation—I with my parents, my children with me: “Why do you want to do that?”  “Because all the other kids are.”  “Well, if all the other kids were jumping off a cliff, would you want to do that too?” And the conversation usually breaks down at about that point with a sigh and rolled eyes. Peer pressure wasn’t new yesterday and it won’t be old tomorrow. It’s part of growing up, a universal experience that young people have to deal with. But what we may be less aware of is that peer pressure is not


Grateful for two days of extended-family time (basically, my family-or-origin, including my 90-year old mother), with assorted offspring, spouses of offspring, and lots of babies and toddlers. The total count, at its peak, was well north of 30. Brenda and I returned to Springfield Friday evening. Today I indulged in a leisurely morning, processed a stack of emails, did some task organizing, took a walk, packed for an overnight, and headed south around 3pm. That put me at St John's, Centralia in time to preside, preach, and confirm one adult. I'm now camped out at the Hampton Inn in Mt Vernon ahead of tomorrow's visitation to the other Eucharistic Community of Marion County Parish--St Thomas', Salem.

Wednesday (St Clement of Rome)

Task planning, as well as substantive attention to an emerging pastoral issue, at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared to celebrate and preach at the midday Mass. Attended to that same pastoral issue, via a couple of phone calls and an email. Gathered and duly submitted expense documentation for my trip to Mississippi last week. Looked around at various pockets I might pick and put together some short-term financial aid for one of our postulants. Scanned the pile of items in my physical inbox. Finally gave up on writing any birthday/anniversary notes to clergy and spouses with nodal events in November, and received the December stack. Went over to the chapel to celebrate Mass, but it was one of those relatively rare occasions when nobody showed. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Stayed home to work for the afternoon. Finished tagging and organizing the items I scanned before I left the office. Dealt with correspondence from "national church" officials

Tuesday (St Cecilia / C.S. Lewis)

Task planning at home; MP in the cathedral. Addressed a bit of administrivia pertaining to our diocesan church camp program, which is processing the shock of our longtime partner, the Diocese of Quincy (once TEC, now ACNA) is pulling out of the relationship. Briefly addressed a bit of pastoralia concerning one of our seminarians. Took a phone call from a priest regarding someone else in the ordination process. Refined, edited, and printed the working text of my homily for this weekend in Marion County Parish. Went to lunch with John-Paul Buzzard, communicant of St John the Divine Chapel in Champaign, and organ builder extraordinaire. Kept a dental hygiene appointment. Good marks this time (in contrast to last time). Performed major surgery on an old text of a homily for II Advent, repurposing for use at St Luke's, Springfield. Wrote a note of encouragement to a colleague bishop who is facing some serious health issues. Conceived and hatched a homily for the ordination of

Christ the King

The little cutie is Chayce, whom we baptized this morning at St Michael's, O'Fallon. He's with his godparents. His Mom is between Fr Ian Wetmore and me. What's more fun than a baptism? Not much.

Sermon for Christ the King

St Michael's, O'Fallon -- Colossians 1:11-20, Luke 23:35-43, Jeremiah 23:1-6 As many of you know, my father was born and raised in Brazil. He immigrated to this country when he was in his twenties, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen when he was about forty. Being Brazilian, of course, he knew nothing about that quintessential American pastime—baseball. I, on the other hand, was raised in the suburbs of Chicago, so, despite my Brazilian ancestry, I was keenly interested in baseball. When my dad, being the dutiful father that he was, took me to my first big league ball game, he brought along an issue of  TIME  magazine to keep him occupied! Now, if you know about baseball, you know that there’s a certain subtlety and relaxed sophistication to the game that causes those who are not brought up on it to find it boring. When you’re raised on soccer, a baseball game must seem like nothing’s going on most of the time. That isn’t true, of course, but it seems that way. Until you

Saturday (St Elizabeth of Hungary)

Other than attending a three-hour meeting of the Commission on Ministry, and taking a healthy long walk in the afternoon, I must confess that I had an utterly unproductive day, spending my evening watching three consecutive episodes of the Netflix series The Fall. So, those who have been counseling me, "Bishop, get some rest," take due note. The Bishop got himself some rest.

Friday (St Hilda of Whitby)

Usual AM routine at home. MP in the cathedral. Liturgical and homiletical prep for the Diocesan Council Mass. Quick conference with the Archdeacon on a couple of emerging matters. Began work on refining my homily for this Sunday. Presided and preached at the Diocesan Council Mass (keeping the lesser feast of St Hilda of Whitby). Presided over the regular quarterly meeting of the Diocesan Council. Conferred briefly with two of our clergy following the meeting. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Resumed work on Sunday's sermon (to be delivered at St Michael's, O'Fallon). Spoke by phone with the Dean of Nashotah House for a bit. Put this Sunday's homily in the can and began cleaning of the text of next week's (Advent Sunday in both Eucharistic Communities of Marion County Parish). Signed the form consenting to the Diocese of Haiti electing a Bishop Suffragan. Put the finishing touches on and sent along an article for the  Covenant  blog. Conferred wi

Thursday (St Hugh of Lincoln)

A day of air travel: Jackson to Houston, Houston to Chicago, Chicago to Springfield. It all went smoothly and according to schedule, for which I am always grateful whenever it happens. It's good to be home.

Wednesday (St Margaret)

The retreat with Diocese of Mississippi clergy concluded by midday. I was driven to Jackson, taken to lunch, and dropped off at a Hampton Inn, where I spend the afternoon resting, responding to some emails, and writing an article for the next print edition of the Springfield Current. (But you don't have to wait, you can click here and see it now.) In the evening, I attended a small dinner party at the home of a prominent Episcopalian laywoman here in Jackson. Beginning the journey home (via Houston and Chicago) in the morning.


Another good day of candid, sometimes raw, and always grace-filled conversation with the bishop and a group of clergy in the Diocese of Mississippi over how we continue to be with one another despite deep theological differences over sexuality and marriage. This is really important work that I am honored to be included in as a guest.

Monday (Consecration of Samuel Seabury)

A day of air travel, then getting settled in at the Gray Center near Canton, MS. Spending a couple of days with the Bishop and some of the clergy of the Diocese of Mississippi, facing into deep differences around marriage and looking at how we might remain in communion across those differences.

The Lord's Day (XXVI Pentecost)

Here's the combined parish of Tazewell County (St Paul's, Pekin and All Saints, Morton) gathered after Mass this morning at All Saints. There is a spirit of optimism there under the new energetic leadership of Matthew Dallman, whom we will ordain to the priesthood a month from today at St Paul's.

Sermon for Proper 28

Tazewell County Parish -- Luke 21:5-19 , II Thessalonians 3:6-13 We are less than six weeks away now from the end of a calendar year and the beginning of a new one. When I was much younger, that sort of thing used to impress me, but I don't really give it much thought anymore. Those of us who were old enough to be conscious of the passage of time 17 years ago may remember all the hype that surrounded not only the arrival of a new year or a new decade, but a new century and a new millennium. We all took a deep breath, and when we saw that everything didn’t grind to a halt because of a Y2K virus, we exhaled and moved on. And when the western world marked the transition from the year 999 to the year 1000, there were widespread apocalyptic predictions. Surely such an occasion was a fitting time for God to bring history to an end and declare Judgment Day. Many sincerely thought that would be the case. Of course, many thought that would also be the case if the Cubs ever won the Worl

Saturday (Charles Simeon)

Aside from a leisurely morning and a late afternoon walk, I devoted my productive energy today to finishing up my prep for next week's clergy event in Mississippi. Still on the mend from the traumas of the week before last, but progress has been very, very good. I'm almost feeling like myself again.

Friday (St Martin of Tours)

Usual AM routine. MP in the cathedral. Did the usual homiletical surgery on an old text for Proper 29 (Christ the King), to be delivered at St Michael's, O'Fallon, freshening it up for contemporary use. Finally read and responded the autumnal Ember Day letters our postulants, candidates, and transitional deacons sent me in September. What a great group of upcoming ordinands we have. Resumed prep work for my trip to the Diocese of Mississippi next week. Lunch with Fr Dave Wells, one of our recent ordinands in a status I call "ready reserve," where he can be deployed to a variety of situations on a supply and short-term basis. Participated in a tw0-hour conference call with a Nashotah House committee in connection with our accreditation review self-study. This will be a monthly gig for a while. Back to work on my Mississippi prep. Finished this particular phase of the project. Attended to some routine December personal planning chores. Spent a period of silent

Thursday (St Leo of Rome)

Usual AM routine; MP in the cathedral. Reviewed some documents in preparation for two morning meetings. Sat down with the Administrator to do some 2017 calendar work. Began working on the final refinement of my homily for this Sunday (Tazewell County Parish). Attended the regular semi-annual meeting of the trustees of the diocesan investments, along with our investment advisor from Bush-O'Donnell in St Louis. Met briefly with the Chancellor (who was here for the Trustees meeting). Chipped away some more on the sermon for Proper 28. Met by phone, wearing a different trustee hat, with the two individuals at U.S. Trust with whom I work in connection with my trusteeship of the Putnam Trust, which generously benefits two of our parishes. More work on the sermon. Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. (Yes, the McDonald's on MacArthur still has hot mustard sauce; a relief every time.) Completed refining my homily, printed it out, and scheduled it to appear online on Sunday a


Clergy conference continued. We had Morning Prayer after breakfast, a morning session, Mass (Votive for the Unity of the Church) at 11:15, lunch, and an afternoon session. We wrapped it up a little past 2:00. Brenda and I headed north to Springfield, stopping by an urgent care clinic before going home. An allergic reaction to conductive gel used in my many procedures last week has become an issue. They gave me a steroid shot, which I hope will quickly make it a non-issue.


A "normal" weekday morning--the first, actually, since the end of my sabbatical more than three weeks ago. Task planning with breakfast, at home. Stopped by the local polling place to cast my ballot on the way into the office. Only nine minutes from my car and back to it. Morning Prayer in the cathedral.  Created service leaflets (of a rather minimalist sort) for worship at the clergy conference. Reviewed my December visitations. Read an email report about one of them. Created some tasks. Walked across the alley to chat with the Dean about celebrant/preacher duties at the cathedral for Christmas and Holy Name. I'll be there for both weekends. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Worked with Brenda on some of the liturgical-musical details for the clergy conference. Hit the road with her for Toddhall Retreat Center, which is exactly a two-hour drive from our home. Ate, worshiped, and talked with the diocesan clergy assembled. We're looking at classic texts to

The Lord's Day (XXV Pentecost)

Up and out with Brenda and down to St Paul's, Carlinville by 8:45, ahead of their regular 9:15am liturgy. As always, we were received with great cordiality, and the talents of their organist, Diane Aiken, make being there a treat. We were home a little past noon, and I indulged in a long nap. Still feeling, as they say, "puny" after last week's medical adventures. Later in the afternoon I did a good but of sermon planning organizing, so my homiletical work is planned through the end of the 2017 post-Epiphany season.

Sermon for Proper 27

St Paul's, Carlinville -- Luke 20:27-38 , Job 19:23-27a Is anyone here into video games? I’m not, but, apparently, a lot of my “friends” on Facebook are addicted to something called Candy Crush. A long, long time ago, in the days before the internet was available to ordinary households, my children persuaded their mother and me to get them something called Nintendo, which I think you can probably now get at antique shops, but, for a while there in the early 1990s, was the “state of the art” in home video game systems. The most popular Nintendo game was something with the unlikely name of “Mario Brothers.” Mario is the character whose actions are controlled by the one playing the game—he looks sort of like a Venetian gondolier in painter's overalls. The object is to guide Mario through a series of 32 increasingly hostile environments that are known as "worlds.”  In each world, Mario confronts various hazards—deadly objects being thrown at him and monsters that want


With the trauma that my body (or, at least, certain parts thereof) has been put through this week, I tried to take things pretty easy today. I did run a few shopping errands--very slowly--around midday, attended to some business regarding our companion diocese relationships, and did some homiletical heavy lifting in prep for next Sunday (Tazewell County Parish).


Short-form Morning Prayer on the way in. Devotions in the cathedral upon arrival. Participated in a conference call meeting of the board of the Society of King Charles the Martyr. It's one of the classic Anglo-Catholic devotional societies of which I am proud to be a member. Did final editing and printing of the text for this Sunday's homily at St Paul's, Carlinville. Attended to some details pertaining to worship at next week's clergy conference. Met with a group of three men--Mark Waight from O'Fallon, Fr James Muriuki from Redeemer, Cairo, along with one of Fr Muriuki's parishioners, to hear about their concrete and exciting vision for the revitalization of Cairo. It is an amazing proposal, and as it unfolds, I will be happy to lend my support to it. Stay tuned. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Kept an appointment at my urologist's office. My condition is slowly improving, but there's no denying that my body has been through an ordeal thi

Thursday (Richard Hooker)

A slow start to the morning, given my recent medical issues. Morning Prayer and task planning at home. In the office around 10am, where I attacked a modest pile of hard copy items that had accumulated since I dropped by a couple of weeks ago. A couple of them were unexpected zingers that demanded immediate serious attention and consultation with the Archdeacon. Met with a potential aspirant to Holy Orders and mapped out the contours of a parish discernment process for him. Listened to and responded to a couple of voicemails. Home for lunch, from whence I worked for the rest of the day. Feeling slightly underpowered. Identified a homily for Proper 27 that was amenable to being reconstructed for use this Sunday at St Paul's, Carlinville, and went about the process of said reconstruction. Attended to some of the transportation details of an upcoming trip.  Did the broad stroke planning for worship at next week's clergy conference. Evening Prayer in my recliner.  Dealt wi

Wednesday (All Souls)

Sometimes things just go wrong. I had eagerly anticipated yesterday as my first day actually back in the office following my sabbatical. But, on Monday, I had an outpatient surgical procedure that resulted in complications such that Tuesday was consumed trying to attend to them. As it turned out, I spent the night hospitalized. This morning I submitted myself to a second surgery to fix the complications caused by the first one, and the recovery has not been smooth. (I have what is known in the urology trade as "retention.") I'm home now, and, because of some interim measures, reasonably comfortable. I do hope to keep some of my schedule tomorrow.