Showing posts from March, 2017

Friday (John Donne)

Usual AM routine. Task planning at home; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Worked with the Administrator to figure out how to make MS Word and our network copier/printer play well with each other to produce liturgy booklets for the Chrism Mass. It was mysterious, laborious, time-eating, and frustrating, but I think we achieved victory. Reviewed and responded to draft minutes from Tuesday's meeting of the Nashotah board. Reviewed and responded to a draft bulletin for this Sunday at St Andrew's, Carbondale. Attended to some technical issues pertaining to the ordination process. Took my morning walk--down Second to South Grand, over to Fifth, and back up. Wrote a note of regret to the Bishop-elect of Indianapolis. With one trip outside the diocese ending the day before her consecration and another one beginning the day after, it's just not coming together for me to be there. I may not be the best example of respecting one's limitations, but I do occasionally succeed.


Extended treadmill workout to start the day. Was within just a few steps of my daily goal of 10,000 before I even left the house. Morning Prayer at home; devotions (intercessions, Angelus) in the cathedral upon my arrival around 10:00. Checked in with the Dean over a handful of issues/concerns. Took a substantive phone call from one of our clergy, over an ongoing issue. Attended to some details of this weekend's visitation to St Andrew's, Carbondale. Went down a technology rathole (which always has the potential to become a  black  hole) related to our almost-ready-for-prime-time database software. Attended to a bit of administrivia of the care-and-feeding-of-clergy variety. Began the process of turning my homiletical message statement for Easter III (April 30 at St Bartholomew's, Granite City) into a detailed outline. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Returned to my sermon task, and marked it complete around 3:15. As a reward, I ambled across the alley and fooled around

Wednesday (John Keble)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral chapel (still lots of organ-installing going on in the nave and chancel). Prepped to preside and preach at the midday Mass. Completed my prep (begun last week) for tonight's Lenten teaching series presentation at the cathedral. Walked laps in the cathedral nave, since it was raining outside. Reviewed the proofs of the formal portraits that were shot a couple of weeks ago, made a few notes to the photographer, and picked out the winners in each pose. Celebrated and preached the Mass for the lesser feast of John Keble. Lunch from Hy-Vee (Chinese section), eaten at home. Met for about 75 minutes with one of our rectors over an ongoing pastoral matter. It was somewhat intense, which always means I need to kill time with something relatively mindless afterward. So I processed a stack of emails and walk more laps in the cathedral nave, keeping track of the organ becoming playable. Hunkered down with commentaries on the readings for Easter VI (May


Weekly and daily task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral chapel. The chancel is in disarray due to the ongoing installation of a new (electronic, sadly) organ. (it will sound better than its predecessor, but a cathedral deserves a proper organ.) Went down a technology rabbit hole in preparation for an afternoon conference call (relearning and reconfiguring my bluetooth earpiece). Attended to some more preparation for said conference call (Nashotah House board). Bits of administrivia (fall clergy conference, continuing ed aid to a priest, this weekend's visitation). Began working on the final editing and refinement of this Sunday's homily (Lent V, St Andrew's, Carbondale). Took a brisk walk up Second to Monroe, over to Spring, and back down, around 2500 steps. Continued and completed the aforementioned sermon prep. Responded by email to a layperson over a pastoral concern. Lunch from McD's eaten at home. While still home, processed some emails,

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Up and out of the Doubletree in Bloomington (after a nice complimentary breakfast) in time to lead the adult Sunday School class at Christ the King, Normal at 0900. We talked about the rich Johannine gospels in Year A of of Lent, and then zeroed in on today's narrative of Jesus healing the man born blind, with a side trip to I Samuel and the anointing of David. There were several dots to connect. Then there was the regular 1015 Eucharist, which was exceptionally well-attended by recent CTK standards. After a potluck lunch, I was back home just before 2:00.

Sermon for Lent IV

Christ the King, Normal -- John 9:1-41 , I Samuel 16:1-13, Ephesians 5:1-14 While I was in college, unlike many of my contemporaries, I never really lost the Christian faith in which I was raised. I struggled with it, and rearranged it, and it ended up in a package very different from what I might have imagined when entered college, but I never lost it. And I also never lost my sense of duty to share that faith, to talk about it—at the appropriate time and place—to those whose lives mine might touch. One day, after flying back to southern California from an academic recess of one sort or another, I found myself on a Greyhound bus  en route  from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. Seated next to me was a woman just a few years older than I was. We started to talk, and I inwardly groaned because she was giving off all the signals of someone in a state of real spiritual flux—definitely in a “teachable moment,” we might say—ripe to hear the good news of God’s love in Christ. Yet, I fel


An big day, a full day. Up and out by 0815 ahead of a 0945 liturgy rehearsal at St Matthew's, Bloomington. The ordination of Tim Leighton to the diaconate began at 1100--an utterly joyful event. By the time all was said and done, I left the premises around 0145. I checked into my room at the Doubletree, rested for a bit, enjoyed a vigorous 30 minutes on the treadmill, cleaned up and then headed over the Christ the King for a 0400 meeting with their Mission Leadership Team. A couple of hours later, we welcomed the MLT of St Matthew's for dinner. We're hoping to foster a completely cooperative and mission-driven relationship between the two Eucharistic Communities, and tonight was some important incremental progress in that direction.

Friday (Oscar Romero)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Signed and sealed the ordination certificate for Tim Leighton's being made a deacon tomorrow morning. This is a fine art at which I seem to have become proficient enough of late to get it done on one try. (We print three copies to allow for mishaps.) Took a substantive phone call regarding some personal/family business. Devoted the rest of the morning to creating a rough draft of my homily for Lent V (St Andrew's, Carbondale)--with a break for a walk over to Fifth, down to South Grand, back to Second and up. Lunch from MJ's, a new soul food carry out place on South Grand. (I didn't order their shrimp and grits this time, but I did notice on the menu for future reference.) Conducted a substantive phone interview with a very promising candidate for a position that is part-time in a parish and part-time on diocesan staff for mission strategy development. Followed up with a detailed email to the relevant Senior Warden. The ball is roll

Thursday (St Gregory the Illuminator)

Intended to complete my usual Thursday early morning workout, but my treadmill developed mechanical difficulties midcourse, so I had to add a supplementary afternoon walk. After everything, at the office around 9:45. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Sent emails recruiting people to specific roles in the Chrism Mass. Followed through with a couple of bits of administrivia--one related to Cursillo, one related to Nashotah. Tended by email to some pressing personal/family business for about 25 minutes. More attention to the Chrism Mass: selected the hymns and service music, purchasing three items from RiteSong in the process. Finished a rough draft of the service booklet. Lunch from KFC, eaten at home. Spoke by phone with the Dean of Nashotah House. Spoke by phone (prearranged weeks ago) with a sociologist from Ithaca College in New York. It was an interview for a research project he's working on that looks to document how church communities are dealing with the changes in ch

Wednesday (James DeKoven)

Usual AM routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Made preparations (which mostly consisted of identifying and printing out the readings) to preside and preach at the midday Mass. Attended to a small bit of business related to the fall clergy conference (in November). Refined the rough preparations I made last week for tonight's Lenten series presentation at the cathedral, and printed out my working notes. Midday walk: Up Spring to Monroe, west to Walnut, down to Lawrence, and back to the ranch. Began (hand-)writing notes to clergy and spouses with birthdays and anniversaries in April. Celebrated and preached the midday Mass. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Spoke by phone with the secretary of the Nashotah House board ahead of next week's conference call board meeting. Returned to the note-writing task, and finished it. Gave a close look at the latest liturgy booklet draft for Saturday's ordination. It was AOK, and I printed out a copy and placed it in a ceremonial bi

Tuesday (Thomas Ken)

Task planning for the day and for the week at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Devoted a chunk of time to various planning details for this year's Chrism Mass (the Saturday before Palm Sunday). Registered for a conference that I thought I had already registered for. But I apparently hadn't. Took care of a small bit of clergy deployment business. Began working on a final working text for this Sunday's homily (Christ the King, Normal). Took a brisk walk up Second to Capitol, over the Fifth, then down to Canedy and back to Second. My FitBit continues to be a motivating taskmaster. Took a look at a draft of the liturgy booklet for this Saturday's ordination to the diaconate. Made a few tweaks. Continued working on the sermon, and brought that task to completion. Sat down with the chair of the Audit Committee to debrief on where we are with that work. Lunch from Twyford's BBQ (pulled pork), eaten at home. Attended to a handful of substantive items perta

Third Sunday in Lent

Here I am at coffee hour at St Christopher's in Rantoul, with Priest-in-Charge Fr Steve Thorp and Deacon Ann Alley. For the first time in any of my visits there, I think, I was considerably older than the median age, as several members of a Boy Scout troop that used to be sponsored by St Christopher's, and is currently led by parishioners, were in attendance.

Sermon for III Lent

St Christopher's, Rantoul -- John 43:5-42, Exodus 17:1-7 I would suspect that most of you here are not so young that you can’t remember the three Indiana Jones movies from the 80s. Some time ago I found myself watching, on television, the last of the three,  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade .  It's the one where Indiana Jones and his father join in the same search that lies behind the legend of King Arthur: the quest for the Holy Graal, the chalice used by our Lord at the Last Supper. The final approach to the cave where the Holy Graal had lain hidden for the past several centuries required the seeker to solve a complex riddle. Only by successfully solving this riddle could he avoid falling victim to a series of deadly booby-traps. What a wonderful metaphor this is for the way most people—including most Christians—conceive of their relationship with God. Much of the time we behave as though God's grace—God's favor, God's benevolent disposition towards us—


Compulsive exercise in the morning. A dozen or so work-related tasks on the afternoon, the largest of which was the drafting of a 1500 work article about my Camino experience for a magazine focused on health issues in a church context.

Friday (St Patrick)

Task planning at home, Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Yet more consultation with the Archdeacon on insurance issues. Phoned my doctor's office to arrange a prescription refill. Read and responded to a couple of Ember Day letters from seminarians. Saw to a small bit of related administrative work. Reworked an old sermon for Lent IV and repurposed it for use at Christ the King, Normal on the 26th. Took a brisk constitutional down Spring Street, over to Second, and back up to the office. Spoke by phone to one of our clergy on an emerging pastoral/administrative issue while doing this. Yes ... synergy. Attended briefly to another small administrative concern. Began rough prep on my next Lenten teaching series presentation at the cathedral. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Finished the aforementioned Lenten teaching series work. Conferred briefly with the Dean on a couple small matters. Conferred briefly with the directress of the cathedral Altar Guild on a couple of small matter


Began the day with 90 minutes of quality time on the treadmill. My new Fitbit device is making me a little OCD about exercise, which, on the whole, is a good thing. Task planning over a late breakfast. Morning Prayer (short form) on the way into the office. Devotions (intercessory prayer, Angelus) in the cathedral. Responded to some last-minute email. Took a call from a layperson from one of our Eucharistic Communities, sharing some substantive concerns. This is always tricky, because, when that happens, healthy boundaries dictate that I can listen, and offer counsel, but, unless it's a report that rises to the level of canonical clergy misconduct, I cannot act. Had a substantive discussion with the Archdeacon on the unwelcome news that our property insurer (for the diocesan office and most of the churches) has fired us, and the replacement carrier is charging considerably more. Attended via email to a Cursillo-related matter. Kept an 1130 appointment with my optometrist, b


Up at an unmentionable hour to catch the 0530 shuttle from Kanuga to Asheville Regional Airport. (It was 18F, by the way, in the North Carolina mountains.) Everything went well, and, with a brief layover in Chicago, we were wheels down at SPI around 10am. I unpacked, grabbed some lunch at Chick-Fil-A, greeted Brenda as she returned from spending a few days in Chicago, took a nap, had a treadmill workout, processed a stack of emails, got into uniform and headed on over to St Paul's Cathedral for their Lenten supper and teaching (Session 2 of Peeling the Paschal Mystery). More email processings and task organizing after I got home. I officially once again have way more to do than I have time to do it in.


Fifth and final day of the spring 2017 House of Bishops meeting. And it was a humdinger. Read all about it here.

Monday (J. Theodore Holley)

Heading toward putting Kanuga in the rearview mirror. Here's what went down today .

Second Sunday in Lent

And there was evening, and there was morning, the Third Day of the spring 2017 House of Bishops meeting. Read all about it here .


It's snowing at Kanuga. 3-5 inches tonight, they say. Here's my report of Day 2 from the HoB meeting.


See here for my reflections on Day 1 of the spring House of Bishops meeting.


A travel day, pure and simple. Caught the 10:30 departure from SPI to O'Hare, enjoyed a sit-down lunch of pizza and profiteroles, and boarded the 2:10 flight to Asheville, NC. There were about a half-dozen bishops on that flight, having flown in from various quarters. About a dozen of us were gathered up into a bus sent from Kanuga, the conference center about a 30 minute drive from the airport. They were so efficient that they gave us our room keys right there at the airport, before we even got on the bus. Settled in now and awaiting a pretty demanding-looking schedule for the next five days as the spring 2017 meeting of the House of Bishops gets underway.


Arrived early at the cathedral/office complex to get vestments and venue ready for a scheduled 9:30 portrait photo sitting. With four distinct "costumes" and locations within the building, it was more complicated than you might imagine. Customary devotions and short for of Morning Prayer. I won't know if the formal portrait session was a success until I see the results, but I have a good feeling about it. By the time we were finished and I had everything cleaned up and put away, it was 11:00. Dealt with a couple of relatively small administrative matters via email. Did the "fine" prep for next Wednesday Lenten series teaching session at the cathedral. Early with it because I'm going to be out of town between tomorrow morning and that day. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Substantive phone conversation with one of our clergy regarding emerging pastoral matters. Dashed off a 600-word "From the Chairman" article for the next issue of Nashotah House&#

Tuesday (Ss Perpetua & Felicity)

Walked into the cathedral for Morning Prayer, but found a team from the local Allen Organ dealer busy installing a speaker chamber in the (liturgical) west end of the nave. I formed an intention of retreating to my office for the business at hand, but found myself so distracted by a conversation with the dealer that it completely fell off my radar. Followed up briefly with the Archdeacon on an administrative matter. Followed up by email with the Senior Warden of one of our Eucharistic Communities on an ongoing administrative matter. Added another slight tweak to the draft job description for a staff member in communications before sending it out for vetting to a few key stakeholders. Began my accustomed first step in preparing a "from scratch" Sunday homily (this one for Easter III at St Bartholomew's, Granite City): lift the entire project up in focused prayer, then harvest the appointed readings from lectionary sources and paste them into a Word document that, afte

First Sunday in Lent

With the liturgy at St Paul's, Pekin scheduled at the eminently civilized hour of 11am, I had a Sunday morning that felt self-indulgent, not needing to be out of the house until 9:30. Organist Lorraine Hartwell knows of my fondness for organ music and always has something edgy ("wild and loud," in her words) cooked up. We worshiped the Lord in beauty and holiness, "beat[ing] down Satan under our feet" in the Great Litany, enjoyed a pulled pork post-liturgical repast, visited with the people, and made it home around 3:00.

Sermon for Lent I

St Paul's, Pekin --Matthew 4:1-11, Romans 5:12-21, Genesis 2:4b-9, 15-17, 25-3:7 One would have to be living under the proverbial rock to not know that the '60s television show  Star Trek  has become a major cultural phenomenon. The original show itself lasted only three years, but it has been many times more popular in death than it ever was in life.  First, it spun off a long series of feature-length movies, starring the cast from the original series. Then, a new TV series—with different characters but following the same theme—hit the airwaves in the late 80s. Eventually there are two spinoffs from the spinoff.  And now, in recent years, there have been more movies, featuring the original characters, but with younger actors playing the roles. Well, since i can honestly lay claim to having been a  Star Trek  devotee from the very beginning, and since I'm … sort of ... a creative kind of guy—some of the time, at least—I thought, "Why not get into the act?"

Friday (John & Charles Wesley)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Took care of a relatively small but time-sensitive task related to Cursillo. Reassessed and revised the strategic plan for planting a Eucharistic Community-in-Formation in Effingham. Assessed possibilities for resourcing congregations to more intelligently address issues of liturgical music. Plotted tasks. Conferred with the Archdeacon on a range of emergent concerns. Lunch at home. Leftover. Attended by phone to some personal doctor-related business. Not overly happy with the administrative apparatus of the healthcare system these days. Retired to the cathedral to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary. Routine scanning and processing of accumulated hard copy items. Substantive phone conversation with one of our rectors over some emerging administrative concerns. Caught up on some internet reading--blog posts that I had flagged for later attention when I first saw them. Took care of some formalities pertaining to the Commission on Minis

Thursday (St Chad)

Extended treadmill workout (90 minutes) to begin the day. Short-form Morning Prayer in the car. Addressed an emerging pastoral-administrative issue concerning one of our clergy. Initial rough prep for the first of my Lenten Wednesday teaching sessions at the cathedral ("Peeling the Paschal Mystery"). Initial meeting with an individual discerning a call to ordained ministry. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Made lodging arrangements for a night later this month that has me spending the better part of a weekend in BloomNorm. Made another small bit of incremental progress in making travel arrangements for a visit to our companion diocese of Tabora this summer. Wrestled with the scriptural texts for Lent V and wrung from them a basic message statement from which to craft a sermon. That is a mentally and emotionally laborious task. Plotted homiletical prep between Easter II and Trinity Sunday. This involves determining which occasions lend themselves to a "ref

Ash Wednesday

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Made a few physical preparations and otherwise organized myself to preside at the 12:15 Ash Wednesday liturgy. Attended to a couple of small details pertaining to an upcoming trip. Sent a substantial email message to the Senior Warden of one of our Eucharistic Communities in transition. Revised, refined, and printed the working text of my homily for Lent I, this Sunday at St Paul's, Pekin. Celebrated and preached the midday Eucharist in the cathedral, at which there were about 40 people present. Ash Wednesday is a fast day for able-bodied Episcopalians, in which category I like to include myself. Nonetheless, lunchtime, it feels to me, of about more than eating. It's about marking the sections of the day. So I went home and drank a bottle of Perrier while watching an episode of  The Young Pope . Back in the office, I worked on a substantive and more-sensitive-than-usual email to an individual in the ordination process. It consumed both t

Ash Wednesday Homily

Springfield Cathedral Ash Wednesday is one of those occasions that seem simple enough. Its meaning seems obviously, intuitively self-evident—until, that is, you try to explain that meaning clearly and concisely. Then it becomes complex, and fuzzy around the edges, and we’re not quite as sure as we thought we were that we understand it all.  There are several layers of meaning operating at the same time in the liturgy for Ash Wednesday. Part of what we’re doing, of course, is marking the beginning of the season of Lent. In a few minutes, I will invite you solemnly “to the observance of a holy Lent.” But Lent does not stand alone. It is not an end in itself, but the means to an end. It is supposed to get us ready to celebrate the Paschal Triduum—the three sacred days that connect us to the deepest realities of our lives as human beings: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter.  The Easter Vigil is the watering trough of our identity as baptized Christians