Showing posts from December, 2016


Almost on the spur of the moment, I pretty much took the day off. I did attend to some Peru-related email correspondence, but otherwise let myself be swept away by personal and family errands. There'll be time enough for workin' ...

Thursday (St Thomas Becket)

Customary Thursday weights and treadmill workout. Morning Prayer (memorized short form) in the car  en route  to the office. Devotions and intercessions in the cathedral. Brief email volley with the Dean, working out the weekday Mass rota for the first quarter of 2017. Normally I cover Wednesdays, except when I'm traveling. Hit the mother lode this time, with lots of my favorite saints days falling on Wednesday. Entered these occasions into my task planning application. Spoke by phone at some length with Fr Mark Evans about the (fairly brief) trip to Peru it now looks like we are both making in early February to check in with out companion diocese there, which is very much in flux. Spent some mental energy and time building out the nugget of my homily for this Sunday (Feast of the Holy Name, at St Barnabas', Havana). This time I won't be showing my work, as it will be delivered extemporaneously. Many times I have arrived at the office only to discover that I've le

Holy Innocents

Usual weekday AM routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared to preside and preach at the midday Mass. Dashed off an email to the new(ish) United Methodist Church bishop for this area, whose installation I missed during my sabbatical, inviting him to set a lunch date sometime in January. Conducted a thorough review of our diocesan mission strategy. Noted where we have had incremental success, where we are spinning our wheels, where we need to keep doing what we're doing, and where we need to do new things. This should happen every six months, but it's been about eleven--again, due to my sabbatical. Scanned and otherwise processed accumulated hard copy in my physical inbox. Reported to the cathedral chapel to celebrate Mass, but I was a party of one. When this happens on a ferial day, I just pack up and leave. But today is a feast day, when there is a general obligation to have a Eucharist, if at all possible. So I vested and began the liturgy solo. However, in the

St John

Usual AM routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Debriefed with the Archdeacon on various matters professional and personal. Responded (in Spanish) to a new email message Bishop Jorge Aguilar of our companion diocese of Peru. Contacted (via email) the priest in a parish where I'm scheduled to be on a Sunday in January just to touch base on some of the details of the visitation. Took an incoming phone call from a priest from outside the diocese who was (benignly) seeking some information about someone inside the diocese. After looking at a couple of other examples of the species, mentally charted a course toward an extemporized homily on the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, this Sunday at St Barnabas', Havana. Scheduled an appointment with my eye doctor for an exam next week. My current glasses are not really working for me, on a number of level, and I'm due for a checkup anyway. Spoke by phone with a priest of the diocese over an emerging pastoral and administrati

Christmas Homily

Springfield Cathedral I can be something of a grouser and complainer during the weeks leading up to Christmas.  At no other time of year do I find my own inner being quite so much at odds with what’s going on in the secular culture. But even I must admit that there is a certain mystique to it all. The “Christmas spirit,” however we think of it, does encourage us to look for the best in one another, which is remarkable precisely because most of the time we tend to see the worst in each other.  Shoppers see inattentive and snippy sales clerks. Sales clerks see obnoxious and demanding shoppers. We see drivers expressing “road rage” on the highways. Con artists find a new sucker every day. Bad cops are paid off to look the other way at crime and office holders sell their power and influence to the highest bidder.  All this tends to make us pretty cynical about human nature. We end up defining people by their behavior: so-and-so is a drunk, someone else is a philanderer, he has a t

Christmas Eve

Generally took it easy most of the day ... weights & treadmill ... some work on the ministry teaching document ... headed to the cathedral around 4:30, where I preached at the early Christmas Eve celebration ... out to dinner with Brenda between services ... preached and celebrated at Midnight Mass. All was lovely.

Friday (O Emmanuel)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral chapel (since there were people still putting the finishing touches on Christmas decorations). Responded fairly substantively, and in Spanish, to an email greeting from a Peruvian bishop whose consecration I participated in when I was there in July 2015. Processed some responses to the vetting request I made yesterday about the teaching document on ministry that I've been working on. Responded by email to one of our clergy regarding some parochial concerns. Read and responded to a handful of Ember Day letters from our handful of postulants. Re-registered the YFNBmobile with the Illinois Secretary of State's office. Attended to a small administrative issue pertaining to my Nashotah House duties. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Kept a 1:30 appointment at home with a notary tasked with getting us to sign a stack of documents that signify the closing of a new home mortgage loan. Refinancing was a prudent thing to do at this time. Back at the offi

Thursday (O Rex Gentium)

Weight and treadmill routine at home. Brief devotions in the cathedral, then MP in my office, as there were a couple of people putting finishing touches on the "greening" of the church. With a brief break to pass out staff Christmas gifts from Brenda and me, and to exploit that event by getting them to witness and attest to our signing of revised wills to reflect the birth of our youngest grandchild, and the usual lunch break, I spent the rest of the day, until 4:00pm, working on a major teaching document on ministry which has been in the hopper more more than a year. I'm pleased to say that I completed the draft, and sent it out electronically to some trusted friends for their comments before I take it public. Reviewed and made a few notes on a teaching resource from Forward Movement ( Faithful Questions ) that has been in the queue for a very long time. In spite of minor quibbles here and there, I like it, and would recommend it to parish clergy for use with folks w

St Thomas (O Oriens)

Customary weekday AM route. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared to celebrate and preach the midday Mass. Attended to a bit of Nashotah-related administrivia. Attended via email to a bit of ordination process-related administrivia. Refined, edited, printed, and posted by Christmas homily (to be delivered at St Paul's Cathedral). Reviewed and commented on the draft minutes of yesterday's Nashotah House board meeting. Cleaned up a handful of other relatively minor pending issues via email. Presided and preached at the 12:15 liturgy in the cathedral chapel, keeping the feast of St Thomas, whom I consider the patron saint of my priesthood, as I was made a priest on the eve of the feast 27 years ago. Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. Gave my consent to the Bishops of Spokane and Indianapolis to retire. (Yes, this is a thing. You have to get a majority of the House of Bishops to consent to retiring from office, even if you've reached the mandatory retirement age


Weekly task planning at home over breakfast. Morning Prayer in the cathedral.  Spent some quality time with the Title IV (clergy discipline) canons trying to sort out my options and responsibilities in a situation that has arisen. Took care of an administrative chore pertaining to the Nashotah board. Spoke by phone with the Dean of Nashotah House (laying groundwork for a PM Board of Directors meeting). Took care of an administrative chore pertaining to the relationship between the diocese and the national church. Conferred with the Dean of our cathedral in his office concerning some of the liturgical details of the Christmas celebrations in which I will be participating. Spoke by phone with a disgruntled member of one of our Eucharistic Communities. Hopefully he is now more gruntled. Lunch from Chi-Town's Finest, eaten at home. After some brief prep time, chaired a 90-minute conference call meeting of the Nashotah House Board of Directors. Spoke by phone with a priest of

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Much to my horror, we were iced in today. An exchange of text messages yesterday afternoon with the senior warden of St Barnabas', Havana led to the decision to postpone my visitation there. It felt weird. This is not what Sunday is supposed to be like. We hadn't been out since our harrowing trip downtown on Friday evening for a concert, Early this evening I determined that my prophylactic salting and sanding yesterday created sufficient gaps in the ice and snow on the driveway to safely back the car out, so I made a brief foray to Smashburger to pick up some dinner.


Usual weekday morning routine; MP in the cathedral. Quickly dispatched a small administrative matter. Wrote a letter of introduction to a Brazilian bishop on behalf a communicant from one of our parishes who will be taking a work-related trip there next summer. I wrote the letter in Portuguese, so it took a little extra time. And I first had to research the name of the diocese and the name of the bishop. Consulted at some length with the Archdeacon on potential candidates to beef up how our Department of Finance is staffed. It has grown a little thin. I then forwarded the names we came up with to the department chair. Consulted with the Archdeacon, also at some length, over the possible need to schedule a conference for wardens, treasurers, and Rectors/Vicars/Priests-in-Charge. Put the question out by email to the Treasurer and the chairs of the Audit and Finance Departments. Lunch from China 1, eaten at home. Spent a good portion of the afternoon reading three reports from our


Back to the on-and-off Thursday morning routine of a fairly short weights workout followed by 45 minutes on the treadmill. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Made air travel and hotel arrangements for a trip to Philadelphia next month in order to attend the annual Mass and meeting of the Society of King Charles the Martyr. Since they were kind enough to grant me an honorary life membership last year, and then elect me to their board, it seemed the right thing to do. I've never been to Philadelphia, so that will be an added bonus. (Plus, I'm preaching the next day in a friend's parish.) I took the time to familiarize myself with a map of downtown, and with transit options from the airport. Conferred a bit with Pete Sherman, with whom we are contracting to get our new database software up and usable. Handed him my Mac laptop for him to install a Windows emulation program, since the new software runs in a Windows environment. Kept a scheduled telephone appointment with the

Wednesday (St John of the Cross)

Did a good bit of email processing and task organizing while still at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared to preside and preach at the midday Mass. Conceived and hatched a homily for Christmas (eve and morning), St Paul's Cathedral. Attended to an important issue with one of our clergy, via voicemail and text message. Began work on an  Ad Clerum  (letter to the clergy) Celebrated and preached the regular liturgy in the cathedral chapel, keeping a ferial Wednesday in the Third Week of Advent, Finished the  Ad Clerum  and delivered it to Sue for  transmission. Lunch from McD's (craving for McNuggets the last couple of days), eaten at home. Since it has been so long since this diocese has ordained a vocational deacon, we're a little rusty. There has been a major reform of the Title III ministry canons since our last diaconal ordination. However, we have one candidate ready to be examined for ordination, and two more in the pipeline, and strong hints of ot

Tuesday (St Lucy)

Usual weekday morning routine. MP in the cathedral. Responded by email to an enquiry from the senior warden of one of our Eucharistic Communities in transition. After some technological issues, I finally managed to wire via Western Union some designated outreach funds to the bishop of our companion diocese of Tabora (Tanzania). Spoke by phone at some length with one of our rectors over an emerging pastoral issue. Refined, edited, and printed (and scheduled for posting) the text of my homily for this Sunday (at St Barnabas', Havana). Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. Substantive phone conversation with the Dean of Nashotah House. 45 minutes of quality time on the treadmill. Headed north with Brenda at 3:15, arriving at St Paul's, Pekin in time to get oriented and situated and otherwise prepared for the 5:00 rehearsal ahead of the 6:00 liturgy at which we ordained Matthew Dallman to the priesthood. After all the festivities, it was 11:00 before we got home.

Third Sunday of Advent

Up and out with Brenda at 8am, headed eastward. Due to an inordinately long wait at the McDonald's drive-through, we arrived at Trinity, Mattoon with only about fifteen minutes to spare before their regular 10am liturgy. Presided, preached, and confirmed. Trinity has a really happy vibe going on under the part-time pastoral leadership of Fr Jeff Kozuszek. We were home by 2pm, grateful that the winter weather that had a more severe impact on northern Illinois came only in the form of light rain during our drive.

Sermon for III Advent

Trinity, Mattoon -- Matthew 11:2-11 Several years ago, I saw a news item on the internet that caught my attention—one of those “odd but true” stories—about the dissolution of the local branch of a nationwide service club, due to lack of new members. After several decades, they just decided to give up, to disband. Of course, what made the event worthy of note was that it was a branch of the Optimists Club, and disbanding seems … well … the opposite of optimism. At any rate, in our society we tend to value the quality of optimism. You know the old contrast between a “glass half empty” attitude and a “glass half full” attitude. Most of us would rather work with a “glass half full” person than a “glass half empty” person. Robert Kennedy captured this way of thinking, and galvanized a generation of young people nearly a half a century ago when he said something along the lines of, “Some people look at the evil we’ve done and ask, ‘Why?’ I look at the good we haven’t done and ask, ‘Why


After some time on the Bowflex and the treadmill in the morning, Brenda and I were on the road to Jacksonville by 11:15. There we ordained Zachary Brooks to the priesthood, and instituted him as Rector of Trinity Church. This was the second of three close-in-succession presbyteral ordinations, and it was such a happy time. 


Late start to the morning owing to the late end to the prior evening. (There was a time in my life when I could just plow right through such things, but that time is evidently past.) I was in the office around 10:30. Attended via email to a fairly minor pastoral concern with one of our clergy. Did the same with a fairly minor  administrative  concern (noting, at the behest of the Treasurer, the odometer reading on the YFNBmobile, and adding up all the non-diocesan related miles I have driven during 2016. Got to keep the tax people happy. Reviewed and commented on the draft minutes of the last Diocesan Council meeting. Reviewed the draft minutes of the last board meeting of the Society of King Charles the Martyr. Responded to a couple of appeals for modest donations from the Bishop's Discretionary Fund. Lunch from Rally's, eaten at home. Back to the office in time to take part in a two-hour conference call meeting of a Nashotah House committee tasked with one element of

Thursday (Immaculate Conception)

Brief Bowflex workout upon arising. It's been lying fallow for several months and needs to be re-engaged. This is a cyclical thing. Short-form MP in the car on the way in to the office. Angelus and intercessions in the cathedral after I got there. Participated in a Nashotah-related conference call that lasted about 20 minutes. Edited, refined, printed, and posted my homily for this evening's ordination. Met with the Administrator and an individual whom it appears we will engage as a temporary contract employee to help us get up and running with the database system we purchased before my sabbatical, but which we don't have the human resource bandwidth to learn how to avail ourselves of yet. Played with hot wax: Signed and sealed three ordination certificates. Lunch from China One, eaten at home. Spent 45 minutes on the treadmill. Departed at 2:30 for points east, arriving at Holy Trinity, Danville a couple of hours later. Got Richard Lewis properly ordained to the

Sermon for the Ordination of Richard Lewis to the Priesthood

Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Holy Trinity, Danville) -- John 19:25-27 ; Genesis 3:8-15, 20; Romans 8:18-30, Psalm 131 What a complete joy it is for us to be together this evening, in this place, doing what we’re doing. It’s been a long time coming. St Paul wrote to the infant Christian community in Rome, in a passage we heard read from this very spot just a few minutes ago, “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” While this is not quite the event Paul had in mind when he wrote those words, perhaps, it’s certainly true that Holy Trinity Parish, and Richard Lewis, have been doing their fair share of “eager longing” for this occasion ever since Father Scanlon moved fully into his well-earned retirement. But Richard’s journey began some good bit even before that. So, tonight is the culmination of an extended process of reflection, discernment, education, formation, preparation, and on-the-job training. As your bishop, I take special joy


Usual weekday morning routine; MP in the cathedral. Prepared to preside and preach at the midday Mass. Took a final editorial look at the draft program for Richard Lewis' ordination to the priesthood on Thursday evening. Dealt by email with some questions from an individual in the ordination pipeline. Spoke with the Administrator and the Treasurer over some administrative and financial issues. Arranged for a donation from Discretionary Fund to an organization that provides assistance and advice to seminary administrators and board members. Took notice of a meeting of Communion Partner bishops in April. Worked on my homily for IV Advent (18 December at St Barnabas', Havana). Meet with Deacon Tom Langford to discuss the deployment of his gifts for ministry. Presided and preached at Mass, keeping the lesser feast of St Ambrose of Milan. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Dealt via substantive email with a pastoral issue involving one of our clergy. Spoke by phone

Tuesday (St Nicholas)

Task planning at home over breakfast. Quickly processed a modest stack of hard-copy items on my desk when I got to the office. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Dealt via email with a pastoral-administrative item that has been on the radar for a few days. Got to work on my homily for this Thursday's ordination of Richard Lewis to the priesthood. Conferred with the Administrator, the Archdeacon, and the Treasurer on an emergent administrative concern that has financial implications. Lunch at home. Returned to the ordination sermon, bringing it to the rough draft stage. Refined, edited, and printed a working text of my homily for this Sunday at Trinity, Mattoon. Hand-wrote notes to a selection of clergy and spouses with December birthdays and anniversaries. Cleaned up the desktop on my computer, a periodic routine maintenance chore. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Second Sunday of Advent

I intentionally put my closer-in visitations during the months of high-risk weather, since I don't want to be stranded in some of the outer reaches of the diocese (as winsome as places like Albion, Harrisburg, and Carbondale might be). So this morning I lollygagged around the house until it was time to drive three whole miles for preside and preach at St Luke's right here in Capital City at their regular 10:30 liturgy. But now I have a reputation among the parishioners there for making it snow, because it did, just like on the occasion of my last visit. I hope I fed them well sacramentally and homiletically, because they certainly fed me well physically after Mass.

Sermon for II Advent

St Luke's, Springfield --Isaiah 11:1-10, Matthew 3:1-12, Romans 15:4-13 None us who are at least 20 years old or so, and had access to a television on the morning of September 11, 2001, will ever forget the image of the massive twin towers of the World Trade Center, still standing, with smoke and flames billowing from their upper stories. They had not yet collapsed, and I don’t think it had even crossed our minds that they might. Yet, as we look back, we know that such damage had already been done that, even as they remained 110 stories tall, they were as good as destroyed. The process was irreversible. We could call them “collapsed skyscrapers standing” the way a condemned prisoner on the way to execution is called a “dead man walking.” If we were to pause and reflect, we could probably come up with several more instances in our experience when appearance is one thing, and known reality is another, and it’s only a matter of time before the appearance catches up with the r

Friday (Channing Moore Williams)

I spent the bulk of the day at St Barnabas', Havana, meeting with transitional deacons Zach Brooks and Matthew Dallman, both of whom will (God willing) be ordained to the priesthood in a matter of days, to do some last-minute colloquium and practicum on matters liturgical. It's one thing to know a lot about the details of liturgical practice, but there's nothing that quite compares with actually being at the altar presiding at the Eucharist. So we worked through some of the details that you only notice if you're the one doing it. I got back home around 4:00, and spent some time with homiletical spiff-up--both for this Sunday (St Luke's, Springfield) and next (Trinity, Mattoon). Also had a substantive Nashotah-related conversation by phone on the way up to Havana in the morning. All in a bishop's day's work.

Thursday (Nicholas Ferrar)

Our bishops-of-small-dioceses meeting ended officially after breakfast, but, since my flight home wasn't until 4pm, I hung out at the conference center with a handful of others whose flights were also later in the day. Processed some emails as they came in, caught up by phone with an old friend, spoke by phone about a more immediately substantive concern, and eventually took the very fine light rail train out to the airport. To my great relief, the air travel all went smoothly and on schedule, and I pulled into my driveway around 10:15.