Showing posts from May, 2017

Rogation Wednesday

Drove to Chicago with Brenda ahead of healthcare appointments for both of us--hers on Thursday and mine on Friday--before spending the weekend in Minnesota with our daughter and her family, and most of next week at Nashotah House for Board of Directors and commencement. I'm probably just lie low in this part of cyberspace until Friday of next week.

Rogation Tuesday

Weekly/daily task planning at home. Consulted substantively with the Archdeacon on a couple of ongoing administrative matters. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Consulted briefly with the Administrator on a pending matter. Reviewed an annotated a credit card statement. Handled a short stack of late-breaking emails. Did  major  surgery on a Pentecost sermon text from many years ago, getting it ready for my visitation to Redeemer, Cairo. Began to turn a developed outline of a Trinity Sunday homily into a rough draft. Lunch at home. Leftover. Devoted a large chunk of the afternoon to finishing the aforementioned Trinity Sunday homily (to be delivered, appropriately enough, at Trinity, Mt Vernon). Lit votive candles in the rear of the cathedral nave, as is my wont when beginning the process of sermon preparation, so as to "cover" the whole endeavor with prayer--two candles, actually, for the Sunday after Trinity (celebrating Corpus Christi), where I am preaching for the

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Another liturgical, musical, and pastoral feast, this time at Emmanuel, Champaign. So grateful to Mother Beth Maynard her fine leadership there. Lunch following liturgy at the inimitable Black Dog BBQ with Beth and her husband Mark Dirksen, along with Fr Gene and Reba Hall. Home around 2:45.

Sermon for Easter VI

Emmanuel, Champaign -- John 14:15-21 , Acts 17:22-31, I Peter 3:13-22 Many of you know that I am not a cradle Episcopalian. I found Anglican Christianity and the Episcopal Church about 45 years ago, when I was in my early 20s. I was raised in a free-church evangelical tradition, as I suspect some of you were as well. In that environment, there was a pretty strong emphasis on the necessity of having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ. ” So my attention was arrested recently when I saw a meme on Facebook with a quote from a theologian debunking that notion, saying that Christianity is  not  about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My first visceral response to this was to cringe in horror. I still do have an inner Evangelical, and while this inner Evangelical is duly constrained by my more overt Anglican Catholicism, he is nonetheless capable of raising his voice from time to time. But, when I clicked on the link itself, I felt much better. It led me to a

Saturday (St Alcuin)

Up and out in a relatively laid-back fashion, in time to show up at the office for the 10am regular meeting of the Commission on Ministry. I didn't have to be there, strictly speaking, but I nearly always find that there's some small contribution I can make that makes me really glad I came. The agenda was pretty light today, with a candidacy-level interview with someone headed toward being a deacon later this year. Afterward, I took the opportunity to do some check-in/catch-up work with one of the clerical members of the COM. The afternoon featured a good long walk, and some more work with data entry in Gnosis. (We now have most of the church musicians in the diocese in our database.) The evening saw me making the oh-so-familiar drive to Champaign, where I'm hunkered down at the Hilton Garden Inn ahead of tomorrow's visitation to Emmanuel.

Friday (St Dunstan)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral around 8:45. Spent the next hour or so prepared for the 10am Diocesan Council Eucharist as well as the meeting itself. We duly kep the lesser feast of St Dunstan. Presided over the regular quarterly meeting of the Council. Yes, it was pretty mundane, and I realize people drove a long way for a meeting that was over in well under an hour. Yet, there is something salutary about voting to approve the minutes of the previous meeting and hearing a report from the Treasurer on diocesan finances. Those small things are part of the network of transparency and accountability that enable us to trust one another enough to pursue the mission of the church together. Driving to Springfield to vote Yes on accepting the Treasurer's report is, in its own way, an act of faithful discipleship. Post-meeting, met briefly an informally with the Chancellor, the Archdeacon, and the Treasurer (in his capacity as Senior Warden at Christ the King, Normal). Took some admin


Extended treadmill workout, which, because of some domestic exigencies, was tardy getting started. After breakfast and task planning at home, I was in the office around 10:30. Both iterations of the Daily Office kind of fell through the cracks today. Via phone and email, made some progress on hotel arrangements in Tabora, Tanzania. It's rather more complicated that accessing the Hilton Honors system (he said ruefully). Made reservations (using said Hilton Honors system) for my personal accommodations during the St Michael's Youth Conference. While on a roll, called and made dinner reservations for tomorrow evening, when we are entertaining a candidate for a vacant clergy position. Used the phone once again to schedule an appointment with my primary care physician. Home for lunch. Leftovers. Caught up with some late-breaking emails. Attended via email to a small matter pertaining to our relationship with the Diocese of Tabora. Produced and posted  this theological/past


Task planning and Morning Prayer at home (while awaiting the arrival of an electrician for some minor work). Personal devotions in the cathedral (Regina Coeli and intercessory prayer). Reviewed and lightly tweaked the draft evaluation of the Dean of Nashotah House. Attached it to an email memo to the other members of the Board of Directors, in which I addressed a range of concerns that will be on our radar when we meet the week after next. Took about a 25 minute walk in territory northwest of the office. Processed a couple of late-arriving fairly urgent emails. Set to the task of making hotel reservation in Tabora, Tanzania for the early July visit of a delegation from the diocese. This is not as simple as it sounds, as our host bishop recommends a change from where we stayed before, and it seemed prudent to do some internet sleuthing. Interrupted at various times by urgent emails. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Took a call from a lay leader in one of our Eucharistic Communities. C


Usual daily and weekly task planning over breakfast. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Conferred briefly with the Archdeacon on a couple of ongoing matters. Solidified plans, via email, to have dinner on Friday with a priest (and his family) who is a candidate for a "complex" cure that involves taking care of St Barnabas', Havana and service as mission strategy development consultant to the Eucharistic Communities in the northern half of the diocese. Devoted a chunk of time and energy to some planning and prep for next month's St Michael's Youth Conference. Drove down to the Walgreen's on South Grand for some Claritin. I've lived in Springfield for six years now, and whatever there is to be allergic to has finally found me. The respite was nice while it lasted. Edited, formatted, and printed the working script for my sermon this Sunday (Emmanuel, Champaign). It's now where it belongs, in a file folder in the back seat of the YFNBmobile, where I d

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Splendid morning at St George's, Belleville, where we were very generously greeted, given that many in the congregation were headed to Busch Stadium after the liturgy. During the adult forum between services we talked about some awkward and difficult things, but in a respectful and charitable manner.

Sermon for Easter V

St George's, Belleville -- John 14:1-15 Jesus is taking leave of his closest disciples. It is the eve of his crucifixion, and they will never see and know him again in quite the same way. They’re not yet aware of all the details, but they know enough to be nervous, to be anxious. Jesus recognizes how they’re feeling, and he says to them, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Let not your hearts be troubled. Easy enough for him to say. Back in the ‘80s, a talented musician named Bobby McFerrin made a name for himself with a hit song called, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” It’s a cute song, and maybe even a good idea, but I doubt it had much of an effect on the general level of anxiety in the world. Our hearts are troubled. Our hearts are troubled by fear—fear that we won’t get what we deserve from life, fear that we  will  get what we deserve from life. Fear of the unknown, and fear of the known. Fear of dying, and fear of not being able to die when life becomes too much to bear. Our


Light email processing throughout the day, interspersed among a long walk and doing my laundry. At 4:00, Brenda and I loaded up and headed south. Checked in at the Hilton Garden in O'Fallon around 5:30, then, after getting settled, walked across the street to Bella Milano, where we met the Mission Leadership Team and Rector of St George's, Belleville for dinner ahead of tomorrow's visitation. A delightful time.


Usual morning task planning at home, plus some progress on preparing a draft annual evaluation of the Dean of Nashotah House for consideration by the rest of the Board of Directors. Accompanied Brenda on an 8:45am visit to her primary healthcare provider. Morning Prayer in the car while  en route  to the office after dropping Brenda off at home. Continued to work on the evaluation (which is a little tedious, involved merging merging separate narratives prepared by the Dean and by me into a single document). Interviewed another candidate for the Communications Coordinator position. Gassed up the YFNBmobile, grabbed a drive-through lunch, and headed up to Lewistown for the funeral of Fr Jim Fedosuk at St James' Church there. Fr Fedosuk was a priest of the Diocese of Springfield, having served St Barnabas', Havana for many years, but more recently taking care of St James', in the former Diocese of Quincy, now part of Chicago. He was 85. Back in the office around 4:30, w


Extended treadmill workout. Task planning over breakfast. Short-form Morning Prayer in the car. In the office at around 10:00. Reviewed the job description, the financial parameters, and the résumé of the candidate I would be interviewing later in the day for the Communications Coordinator position. Attended to some Nashotah House business by email. Attended to an ongoing pastoral/administrative matter. Began developing my outline for a homily on Easter VI into a rough draft. Spoke on the phone for 45 minutes with the Secretary of the Nashotah House Board of Directors in preparation for our semi-annual face-to-face meeting later this month. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Interviewed an outstanding candidate for the communications position. Processed a handful of late-arriving emails that merited swift response. Got back to work on the Easter VI sermon. Finished it around 5:00. Reviewed and commented on a draft Mission Strategy Report form (now canonically mandated annua


Usual weekday morning routine: task planning at home, Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Sat with (that's the best way I can think of to say it) the lectionary texts for Trinity Sunday, along with my own notes from my first pass at them a couple of weeks ago, and last week's consultation of exegetical commentaries, until a homiletical message statement emerged for me: "It is in the context of mission that we know the Triune God" (based on Matthew 28:19). The plan is that this gets developed into a sermon that the people of Trinity, Mt Vernon will hear on June 11. Devoted some time and effort via email to an ongoing discussion among some friends and colleagues around strategic concerns leading up to the next General Convention in July 2018. It takes a long time to assemble the ingredients of a fine legislative sausage. Ran across the alley to consult with Dean Hook on a couple of relatively minor concerns. Responded to an email from the Bishop of Tabora. Took a pho

Tuesday (St Gregory of Nazianzus)

Usual weekly and daily self-organization and task-planning at home. Impromptu and substantive meeting with the chairman of the Commission on Ministry, who was synergizing his passage through Springfield on a pastoral errand by dropping by. It was fruitful. Returned a phone call from the rector of Emmanuel, Champaign to discuss some details of my scheduled visitation there the Sunday after next. Belated devotions and Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Tweaked, formatted, and edited the working script of my homily for Easter V--this Sunday at St George's, Belleville. Dashed off an email note to one of our priests who is marking an ordination anniversary. Dashed off a quick email reply to one of our priests over a relatively trivial issue. Ran home to retrieve Brenda and take her to a noon dental appointment. While waiting, I read and mentally processed some significant emailed material regarding goings-on in our companion diocese of Peru. Grabbed a fast food lunch for both of u

Fourth Sunday of Easter

The liturgy and music at the Chapel of St John the Divine in Champaign hits the sweet spot of the way I'm wired spiritually, so it's always a joy to preach and preside there. We certainly *did* Good Shepherd Sunday, with no fewer than four musical iterations of Psalm 23.

Sermon for Easter IV

Chapel of St John the Divine, Champaign- - John 10:1-10 When I was growing up, I used to enjoy occasionally watching a TV show called  Wild Kingdom.  Many of you probably remember it.  Wild Kingdom  was a nature show, letting us take a peek at animals as they actually behave in the wild. Of course, nowadays, you can get that sort of thing 24 hours a day, on demand. The style is different now—more fast-paced, and, it seems, more “produced,” almost scripted. But one thing remains the same, and that is the life-or-death contest between predators and their prey. If lions don’t catch wildebeests on the Serengeti, the lions will starve to death. So, virtually their entire attention during their waking hours is devoted to catching and killing and eating wildebeests. It’s their most basic instinct; their survival depends on it, so it’s job number one. If they weren’t consistently successful at that job, there would be no lions for us to watch on television. However, the wildebeests ha


A day of household chores and errands, a long walk, and a substantive bit of email processing. After supper Brenda and I boarded the YFNBmobile and pointed it eastward, ending up at the Hampton Inn in Urbana ahead of tomorrow's visitation to the Chapel of St John the Divine.


Abbreviated (i.e. 45 minutes) treadmill workout to begin the day. Task planning over breakfast. Morning Prayer at home. Accompanied Brenda on a visit to one of her healthcare providers. Conferred with the Archdeacon on an ongoing pastoral/administrative matter. Responded, by way of pastoral care, to an email message from a lay communicant in the diocese. Briefly attended to a technical matter relating to the ongoing effort to get teaching videos edited and posted. Lunch at China One, eaten at home. Spent an inordinate chunk of time getting sucked into a technology black hole. The new database system will be a tremendous asset once we master the learning curve and solve some pesky technical issues and adjust some workflow logistics among the staff. In the meantime, it is a voracious morale-sapper. Having failed in my attempt to use the new system to do this, I resorted to old-fashioned email and an Excel spreadsheet to contact all Rectors, Vicars, Priests-in-Charge, and Pastor

Thursday (St Monnica)

Extended treadmill workout to begin the day. Short-form MP in the car on the way to the office. Attended the 10am semi-annual meeting of the diocesan trustees, who are collectively responsible for overseeing our invested funds. Our investment manager from St Louis made the trip up. This lasted about 90 minutes. Conferred briefly with one of the co-chairs of the Mission Department (who happens to also be a trustee). Conferred substantively with the diocesan Treasurer. Spoke by phone briefly but substantively with a priest of the diocese. This took me right up to noon. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Spent a chunk of quality time with commentaries on Matthew's gospel, specifically the last few verses thereof, in preparation for preaching on Trinity Sunday (at Trinity, Mt Vernon). Attended briefly to some details pertaining to the meeting of the Nashotah Board of Directors later this month. Performed surgery on the text of an old homily for Easter V in preparation for repurposing


Weekly and daily task prep at home. Morning Prayer at home. Drove Susan, my visiting sister-in-law, to the airport. In the office just before 10:00. Consulted with the Archdeacon over an ongoing pesky administrative/pastoral matter. Spent the rest of the morning polishing, formatting, and printing the working script of this Sunday's homily (St John the Divine, Champaign). Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. Accompanied Brenda to a healthcare appointment. Back in the office around 2:30. Dealt with a request for consent to the election of a diocesan bishop. These things are often a routine rubber-stamp Yes, but in this case I withheld consent (not that it will make any difference). My decision had nothing to do with the individual in question, but because this election is the ongoing fruit of years-ago failure to follow canonical due process in that diocese. Conferred with the Administrator over a matter that is ... well, *administrative* in nature. Followed up with a substa

Tuesday (St Athanasius)

Per the plan, woke up in suburban Cincinnati, worked (pretty intensely) with the Forward Movement board until around 12:15pm (eastern), then got back behind the wheel of the YFNBmobile and pointed it toward home. Had a planned substantive conversation with the Dean of Nashotah House while en route. Arrived home at 4:50pm (central).

Ss Philip & James

Left home around 9:00 and arrived in Cincinnati for the Forward Movement board meeting about 3:30pm EDT, about two hours late, so ... not bad. This is only a 24 hour meeting time frame, so work was compressed. After dinner, we had an evening working session.