Showing posts from February, 2017

Shrove Tuesday

At home: organized tasks for the week and the day. Scanned the blogscape, left a substantive comment on one. Morning Prayer in the cathedral (after conferring with the Archdeacon on a range of issues). Looked in on the Dean, who professed to be "85% there" after his weekend bout of illness. Took care of a relatively minor but time-sensitive administrative chore on behalf of one of the priests of the diocese. Addressed another relatively minor but time-sensitive Nashotah-related concern. Via text message, arranged a phone date with the Dean of Nashotah House. Refined, edited, and printed a work text of my Ash Wednesday homily (I'll be at the cathedral). Lunch at home--leftovers. Dashed off a short article for the next issue of the  Springfield Current. Kept my phone appointment with Dean Peay at Nashotah. We talked for about 30 minutes. Saw to a few details concerning two upcoming trips: to North Carolina next week for a House of Bishops meeting, and to north Fl

Last Sunday after the Epiphany

St John's, Decatur is one of those Eucharistic Communities whose "8:00 service" is at 7:30. If I aim to arrive 30 minutes in advance (which is indeed my aim), and it's a 45 minute drive from my house to St John's ... well, you do that math. It was tempting to drive over last night and get a hotel, but that seemed a little decadent. In any case, it was a fulfilling visit, with wonderful music at the later liturgy, a couple of adult confirmations, and some time spent with the adult Sunday School class, which is studying The Screwtape Letters. We were back home a little before 1:00

Homily: Last Sunday after the Epiphany

St John's, Decatur -- Matthew 17:1-9 I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and have lived once again in the midwest for the last ten years. But most my adult life has been spent on the west coast, in California and Oregon. Perhaps the principal feature that distinguishes the midwest from the far west is that the midwest is mostly flat, especially central Illinois, while hills and mountains abound in California and Oregon. Living in the flatness of the central time zone, it’s easy to forget what a lift to the spirit it can be to get some elevation and be able to look out over a few hundred square miles. I think this is a virtually universal human aspiration. We use the expression "mountaintop experience" as a metaphor, a figure of speech for any experience that either thrills us or moves us emotionally or gives us an unusually clear insight into some aspect of our own lives, an experience that gives us a "birds-eye view" of where we've been, where we are


Pedal-to-the-metal for six solid hours between leaving home at 8:30 and returning there at 2:30. Prepped for an attended a the beginning of Commission on Ministry meeting, met privately with one of its members during a break, met with two of our postulants before and after their interviews with the commission, and then pinch-hit on short notice with a suddenly-ill Dean of St Paul's and presided at a funeral there at 1:00. There were no major hiccups in any of this, for which I am grateful, but it was stressful, so I arrived home weary and hungry. The main accomplishment of the rest of the day was 90 minutes on the treadmill.

St Matthias

Kept an 8:30 appointment with a photographer at the diocesan office. It seems time to consider a new round of official portraits. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Emailed the senior warden of one of our Eucharistic Communities with a list of date on which I am available to meet with their Mission Leadership Team, Talked with the Archdeacon on a broad range of substantive issues. Tightened, tweaked, and printed a working script of my homily for this Sunday at St John's, Decatur. Performed surgery on the text of an Ash Wednesday homily from several years ago in preparation for using it next week at the cathedral. Attended the Mass for St Matthias' Day in the cathedral chapel. Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. Made airline and hotel arrangements for attending the Bishops Class of 2011 annual continuing education time the third week in April. Hand wrote greetings to clergy and spouses with nodal events (birthdays, wedding anniversaries, ordination anniversaries) in Mar


I've been absent from this venue because I've been at the annual pre-Lenten clergy retreat, and there was no wifi in my room. The retreat was splendid, conducted by Fr Andrew Mead, lately rector of St Thomas', Fifth Avenue in NYC, who offered meaty reflections on three Psalms (27, 51, and 112). When things concluded yesterday after lunch, I brought him back to Springfield with me because he's a huge history buff and a fan of Abraham Lincoln, so Springfield was the place he needed to be. I took him to the Lincoln home and the Lincoln museum, and then drove him to STL this afternoon for his 3:05 flight home to Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. I got home around 3:30, rested a bit, and then spent quality time with the treadmill. Processed some email and snail mail along the way.

Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

Out the door and on the road with Brenda a little before 7am. It was quite foggy all the way to Salem, which made driving stressful but only slowed us down negligibly. We arrived a little past 9:00 ahead of presiding and preaching at the regular 9:30 liturgy at St Thomas'. We duly kept the feast, enjoyed a fried chicken luncheon and the exemplary hospitality of the that Eucharistic Community, and were homeward bound just past noon. By this time, the fog had finally burned off, and the return trip was all sunshine.

Sermon for Epiphany VII

St Thomas', Salem -- Matthew 5:38-48 I don’t know how many of you are on Facebook or Twitter or follow internet news sources, but, if you are, you don’t need me to tell you what a turbulent world was and is represented in those places in the run-up to and since the election last November. The level of passion—some might call it hysteria—from all political directions, the degree of polarization, is like nothing I have seen before in my 65 years, and like nothing I would have ever anticipated. Now, my own social media footprint is mostly among Christians of various stripes, but there are several non-Christians in my networks. And so I find it interesting, at least, that, when it comes to the tone of rhetorical discourse about secular politics, I don’t see any appreciable difference between my Christian and my non-Christian contacts. Christians are not only not immune to all of this, but their Christian identity seems, most of the time, to not make a discernible difference in


The centerpiece of today's agenda was the regular quarterly meeting of the Diocesan Council, so I arrived at the office-cathedral complex around 9:15 to make preparations for the Eucharist and take a last-minute look at council-related business. We celebrated a votive Mass "For the Nation" at 10am, which seem appropriate given the general level of political angst in the air these days. The council meeting itself was the first under the new canons, which pare down membership considerably. I think I can safely say it was an unusually productive and fruitful meeting. We amended the 2017 budget to fund some new ministry initiatives about which I am quite excited. Following the meeting I had lunch with the two co-chairs (and thus far only members) of the Department of Mission, newly-configured as the canonical heir to the former Department of General Mission Strategy. We discussed some possibilities for fully staffing the department (one more layperson and two clergy) and bega

Friday (Janani Luwum)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Crafted and sent a substantive email to the Bishop of Worcester (Church of England), whose diocese also has a companion relationship with the Diocese of Peru, and who will be traveling there shortly. Sent an email note of condolence to a lay leader who has suffered a death in the family. Took a substantive phone call from one of our clergy. Took a brisk and longish walk on an unseasonably warm winter morning in search of some inspiration for a blog post that is due for Covenant. I believe I found what I was looking for. Began working on the aforementioned blog post. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Got sucked into a technological/administrative quagmire trying to help Brenda access her healthcare provider's online portal for finding things like medical records and lab results. It was time-consuming. Eventually I had to resort to last century's SOP of physically going by their office and receiving hard copy. Frustrating. Got back t

Thursday (Martyrs of Libya)

Extended treadmill workout. Took a scheduled phone call from the Bishop of Missouri, informing me of an event in St Louis that may be of interest to people in our diocese. Attended and participated in the semi-annual meeting of the diocesan finance committee. Entertained the active deacons of the diocese in our home for lunch and a vigorous discussion of diaconal ministry. Returning to the office at 3p, I scanned and otherwise processed a formidable stack of hard copy items. Reviewed the psych exam reports on a couple of our postulants. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Wednesday (Thomas Bray)

Spent the first part of the morning at home, working with Brenda to get ready to host the deacons of the diocese for lunch tomorrow. Then I accompanied her to a doctor's appointment, after which there was just enough time to drop her off back home and head to the office-cathedral complex and prepare to preside and preach at the 12:15 Mass. We kept the lesser feast of Thomas Bray. I drove down to Subway, grabbed a meatball marinara, and brought it back to my office for a working lunch. Processed a bunch of email and prepped for the afternoon meeting ... which was an "examination interview" with a candidate for the vocational diaconate. It's been more than a dozen years since we've had one of those in the diocese, during which time the national canons have changed, so we're having to sort of invent the wheel. So I gathered three deacons of the diocese and the three priests with whom they work (one of whom was absent due to illness) for a wide-ranging conversatio

Tuesday (Ss Cyril & Methodius)

Weekly task planning at home, MP in the cathedral. Sent out email reminders about a couple of important meetings this week. Reviewed in detail a slew of documents (agenda, financial statements, evaluation materials) pertaining to the afternoon's scheduled conference call meeting of the Nashotah House Board of Directors. Otherwise prepped to chair the meeting. Lunch from China 1, eaten at home. Chaired the regular bimonthly conference call meeting of the Nashotah board. Took a brisk walk down Second to South Grand, west over to Spring, then up past the north end of the capitol, and back down on Second. Because exercise has to become even more of a priority for me. Finished, refined, and printed the draft I wrote week before last of a homily for Epiphany VII, this Sunday at St Thomas', Salem. Evening Prayer in the cathedral. While eating my dinner at home, a phone call from a senior warden reminded me, with horror, that I was supposed to be meeting the the MLT of one of

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

It's always a tonic to drink in the intense liturgical spirituality of Holy Trinity, Danville, where we once again were dazzled by the organ playing ot Tom Harrigan, even though he was in Florida! That postlude on "Come, thou fount" was a barn-burner. #karaokemass

Sermon for Epiphany VI

Holy Trinity, Danville -- Matthew 5:21-24, 27-30, 33-37 , I Cor. 2:1-9, Ecclesiasticus 15:11-20 Just a few short weeks ago, New Year’s resolutions were in the forefront of our consciousness, but now, barely six weeks into the new year, most of them are long forgotten. In another two-and-a-half weeks, Lent will begin, another occasion that invites us to make a resolution, to change our behavior in some way. And by the time Easter arrives, about the same length of time from Ash Wednesday as we are now from the beginning of the year, a good many of those resolutions will have fallen by the wayside as well. We’re talking about habits here, trying to make the practice of a virtue or the avoidance of a vice something we do automatically, without thinking about it each time. It’s hard to do. Bad habits are exceedingly difficult to break and good habits are exceedingly difficult to form. Whenever I make my confession, which I try to do at least before Christmas and Easter each year, t


Home, unpacked, showered, rested, and repacked before heading out to the Hampton Inn in Champaign ahead of tomorrow's visitation to Holy Trinity, Danville. Fr Evans and I landed in St Louis right at noon, after having been in transit since 4:30pm yesterday, central time. Yesterday's time in Arequipa was immensely fruitful, beginning with a productive conversation with a priest from one of Peru's other diocesan partners (Worcester in Church of England), a tour of the two Anglican schools in Arequipa, a marvelous lunch with our Peruvian hosts and our C of E friends at a restaurant situated on a trout farm, with an opportunity for serious conversation with area vicar Fr Carlos Quispe, and a wonderful and open conversation with Bishop Alejandro Mesco, who, while he continues to live in Arequipa, now has the remit of planting a church in Cusco, taking care of a region north of Lima, and fostering spiritual and liturgical formation in the diocese. Fr Mark and I came home with som


Packed and checked out in time for a 0930 pickup to the airport. With Lima's horrendous traffic, the 12 mile trip took the better part of 90 minutes. Nonetheless, we were in plenty of time for our 1250 departure. We were met in our a keeper by nearly the full contingent of local clergy, including Bishop Alejandro and Vicario Carlos. They took us to La Casa Hogar San Lucas, where we spent a delightful couple of hours with the children and staff. We can check into our hotel and enjoyed a little bit of downtime before being transported to Cristo Redentor for a pretty serious conversation about the parameters of the companion relationships between Peru and both Springfield in Worcester. This was followed by a late dinner for everyone at a restaurant near the hotel.


Foreign travel and the lack of routine have prevented me from keeping up in this venue on a regular basis. Father Evans and I arrived in Lima early Monday morning on a redeye flight and, mercifully we're given the rest of the day to rest. It is, of course, summertime in South America, and the weather in labor is unusually warm and humid. Yesterday, we met a priest and three Lake people from the diocese of Worcester in the Church of England, which has a long-standing relationship with the diocese of Peru. We gathered with them and a handful of our Peruvian hosts at the Cathedral for a presentation on the current status and future strategy of the diocese of Peru. Weekend enjoyed a lovely lunch in the garden of the cathedral deanery. The rest of the day was spent with informal visiting and dinner with our British friends.

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

After a morning celebrating the Eucharist with the people of St Thomas, Glen Carbon, a tasty potluck, and a lively discussion with their Mission Leadership Team (our new canonical language for Vestry), I'm biding my time for a 7pm flight to DFW, and then a red-eye to Lima. Looking forward to ongoing relationship building in the Anglican Diocese of Peru.

Sermon for Epiphany V

St Thomas', Glen Carbon -- Matthew 5:13-20 Most of you have heard me say before—many times, perhaps—that we are presently living through the death rattle of the era—a long era, an era that has lasted more than a millennium and a half—an era in which Christianity was the dominant force in western civilization. Those of us who are middle-aged or older have witnessed a significant deterioration in the relationship between church and society just within our lifetimes. Of course, we can debate the causes and effects, the dangers and the opportunities, presented by this fact, but that’s not really where I want to go in this sermon, at least not directly. I bring it up, however, because it is precisely the relationship between church and society that Jesus is talking about in the fifth chapter of St Matthew’s gospel. Jesus says that the church is the “salt” of the earth. In ancient times, salt was not thought of primarily as something that raises your blood pressure, but, rather,

Friday (St Anskar)

Our three grown children are in town for an early celebration of their mother's birthday today and tomorrow. So ... personal time.


Thursday morning weights and treadmill. MP at home. In the office around 10:15. Processed a short stack of emails. Revised, edited, refined, and printed the text of my homily for Epiphany VI (Holy Trinity, Danville on the 12th). This got pushed up because I'm going to be in Peru all next week. Attended to a small administrative chore. Wrote a note of condolence to a friend outside the diocese whose mother has died. Attended the cathedral chapel Mass for this feast of the Presentation. Lunch from McD's (the one on South Grand and Fifth, since the MacArthur location is now closed), eaten at home. Devoted most of the rest of the afternoon to taking my Easter VII homily (the 19th in Salem) from the "developed notes" stage to the "rough draft" stage. Dealt by email with a pastoral question raised by one of our parish clergy. Made air travel and car rental arrangements for a Communion Partners (bishops) meeting in early April. Evening Prayer in the cath

Wednesday (St Brigid of Kildare)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepped to celebrate and preach the midday Mass. Responded by email to a request for advice from one of our parish clergy regarding a pastoral matter. Attended to some of the details of a slowly-developing set of travel plans for a visit to our companion diocese of Tabora (Tanzania) next July. Began the work of major surgery on the text of an old homily for Epiphany VI en route to repurposing for use at Holy Trinity, Danville on February 12. Spoke by phone with Fr Evans, who is accompanying me to visit our other companion diocese of Peru next week. Spoke by phone with another of our parish clergy about an emerging pastoral/administrative concern in his congregation. Reported to the cathedral chapel for Mass, but found that Fr Wells was vested and ready to roll. Obviously a communication mixup, but, no worries, I just stowed my alb and came back to be part of the congregation, keeping the lesser feast of St Brigid of Kildare. Lunch from Taco Gri