Showing posts from November, 2017

St Andrew

One final most-of-a-morning of informal conversation with the attendees of this meeting of the Bishops of Small Dioceses, then we all headed to the airport. For me, this involved riding the great new light rail system in Salt Lake City. Urban mass transit is kind of a nerdy interest of mine. But my flight wasn't until 4:00, so I had a lot of time to kill at the departure gate. The flight to Chicago and the short hop to Springfield both went smoothly, and I got a rather enormous (relatively speaking) amount of reading done, for which I was very grateful, as I feel chronically deprived of time to read. Home a little past 10.


Endured ... err ... enjoyed a morning seminar on Title IV (clergy discipline) canons. Aren’t you envious? After lunch, we spend quality time with a rep from the Church Pension Group. Ordained ministry is fraught with trials and challenges, but Episcopal clergy can certainly be grateful for a top-shelf pension plan that has so many benefits beyond just pure pension. The CPG is dedicated to clergy health in every dimension. This was followed by time with Canon Michael Hunn, the Presiding Bishop's right hand man, and then a simple celebration of the Eucharist in anticipation of St Andrew's Day. We all had dinner together at a very fine eatery in downtown SLC.

Tuesday (Kamehameha & Emma)

Up and out in time to catch the 10:30 United departure to Chicago, then, with just enough time to make it to my next gate before boarding started, on to Salt Lake City. Caught the light rail to downtown, checked into the Hilton, rested a bit, then walked a little more than half a mile to the Diocese of Utah cathedral/office complex for the pre-dinner social time with other "bishops of small dioceses." Seven others in attendance this time. We spent most of the evening with "check in" time, which is always part-cathartic and part-enlightening.

Wednesday (C.S, Lewis)

Got bogged down in some technology issues while still at home, so ... a bit of a late start to the morning. Short-form MP at my desk once I got to the office. Dealt by substantive emails with a couple of pastoral/administrative (as sharply distinguished, of course, from administrative/pastoral) issues. As much as I may complain about email, I am, on balance, immensely grateful for it. I can't imagine doing what I do with the technology of yesteryear. Lost time with conversations and phone calls that we peripheral to "business," as it were. It feels hard to get traction on work this day before a long holiday weekend (I have no visitation this Sunday, so it will indeed be an actual holiday weekend for me). Took an initial fly by on the readings for Epiphany I, in preparation for preaching at Trinity, Lincoln on January 7. Disappointed in a major way with what the Revised Common Lectionary has done with the feast of the Baptism of Christ. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Clea


Weekly and daily task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Debriefed with the Archdeacon on a range of issues. Attended to a short stack of administrative details regarding an individual in the ordination process, breaking away at points to field incoming emails on the fly. Dealt by email with a pastoral issue. The IRS thinks I owe them money. I disagree. So I bravely entered whatever circle of hell it is that's required to reach them by phone. While on hold (the music and intermittent announcement forming another aspect of the general hellishness of the experience), I made some progress on deconstructing and reconstructing a sermon text for Advent I from 1999 for use this year at St John's, Centralia. The IRS issue finally having been resolved around 12:25 (sadly, not in a way I had hoped), and cognizant that the periodic limited appearance of the McRib sandwich is in season, I stopped by McD's for one, and ate it at home. Back in the office, I finish

The Lord's Day (XXV Pentecost)

Today's visitation was to St Barnabas', Havana, and this Eucharistic Community under the patronage of the one whose name means "son of encouragement" is indeed both encouraged and encouraging. They went through a very rough patch but are now enjoying a season of happiness. 24 live bodies in the room for Mass was about triple the number the last time I was there. Kudos to Fr Mike Newago for his pastoral leadership.

Sermon for Proper 28

St Barnabas’, Havana-- Matthew 25:14-15, 19 29; Zepheniah 1:7,12-18;  I Thessalonians 5:1-10                                                                                   Blaise Pascal was a French philosopher and mathematician and research scientist of the eighteenth century. Among many illustrious accomplishments, he is known for a particular argument in favor of belief in God. It has become known as “Pascal’s Wager,” and it’s really quite simple. Consider the possibilities: Either there is a God to whom we are accountable in the next life for the way we conduct ourselves in this one, or there is not. If we do not believe in such a God, and there indeed turns out to be no such God, then we may be right, but what will it matter? If we do believe in God, and turn out to be wrong, then the most we might reproach ourselves for, in the moment of death, the moment before eternal annihilation, is that we have unnecessarily foregone some of life’s material pleasures. If, on the other h

Friday (St Hugh of Lincoln)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared for the 10am Diocesan Council Mass; greeting Council members as they arrived. Presided and preached at the liturgy, observing the lesser feast of St Hugh of Lincoln. Presided over the Council meeting, which was brief, but productive in the ways it needed to be. Met privately for about 20 minutes with a clerical member of Council over a pastoral issue. Met privately with a lay member of Council for about the same length of time over a concern in his parish. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Pointed the YFNBmobile westward toward Hannibal, MO, about a hundred miles away, to make a guest appearance at the 178th annual convention of the Diocese of Missouri. Participated, but only as "eye candy," in the convention Eucharist, followed by dinner in the same venue. Along the way, we were entertained by Hannibal's most famous fictional denizens, Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher.

Thursday (St Margaret)

Accompanied Brenda to a 9am dental appointment that turned out to be slightly more complicated than we had envisioned, but all turned out well. Dropped Brenda at home and was only slightly late for my 11am appointment with Fr Mark Evans and one of his parishioners who believes he may have a vocation to the priesthood. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Replied to an email (in Spanish) from a priest in our companion diocese of Peru. Walked less than a block south on Second Street for a get-acquainted meeting with a professional financial advisor. Retirement for me is not imminent, but simple math reveals that it's no longer far enough away to be an abstraction. It's time to start getting a few ducks in a row. Re-engaged with my sermon-in-progress for Advent III and brought it from "message statement" to "developed outline." Attended to some potential business for *next* year's synod via a substantive email. Scanned and otherwise processed accumulated hard


Usual weekday AM routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Dealt by email with a bit of administrative detritus pertaining to the diocesan Camp Board. Designed, printed, and sealed a certificate of appreciation for a parish musician in the diocese who has recently celebrated three decades in that ministry. Spoke by phone at substantial length with one of our clergy over some pastoral concerns. Made a visit to Illinois National Bank to (once again) get them to de-link the diocesan checking account from my personal online account access. Not only does is create the opportunity for misbehavior, should I undergo a sudden personality change, but it gives me heart palpitations when I see large checks than I know nothing about show up mixed in with all my trips to Taco Gringo and Schnucks. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Took care of a bit of administrivia pertaining to helping one of our Eucharistic Communities with its fall stewardship campaign. Wrestled once again seriously and long with

Tuesday (Consecration of Samuel Seabury)

Weekly and daily task planning at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Consulted with the Archdeacon over some ongoing matters. Took a pastoral-care phone call from one of our clergy. Drove further downtown to meet with an attorney regarding some personal estate planning. Did some routine personal organization maintenance--properly filing items cluttering my computer desktop. Lunch from HyVee (Chinese), eaten at home. Did a little bit of General Convention-related business. Got to work on refining and printing the working script of my homily for this Sunday (St Barnabas', Havana), which task was paused and resumed following a conversation with one of our priests about an ongoing pastoral project. Hit the road northbound late in the afternoon toward Normal. Evening Prayer along the way. Enjoyed dinner and Christ the King with a sizeable portion of their membership. We discussed in a very detailed, sometimes rather raw, fashion the evolving protocols for establishing a ge

The Lord's Day (XXIV Pentecost)

On the road right around 8:00, headed eastward toward the regular 10:00 liturgy at Trinity, Mattoon, which seems to be a happy Eucharistic Community under the pastoral leadership of Fr Jeff Kozuszek. We enjoyed a hearty potluck luncheon, then drove back through the rain to Springfield, arriving home a little past 1:30. Travel conditions were dreary, but I'll certainly take the rain over the snow that's been falling further north.

Sermon for Proper 27

Trinity, Mattoon -- Matthew 25:1-13 At my age and stage of life, there is certainly plenty that I might complain about if I were the complaining sort. My body certainly calls attention to itself way more than it did twenty or thirty or forty years ago. I spend a lot more time in the waiting rooms of medical facilities now than I did then. But there a lot of things about life in my twenties and thirties that I would certainly not want to go back to. One of these is that the car I drive starts every time I push the start button and I’m virtually 100% confident that it won’t leave me stranded on the side of the road somewhere. That was not my experience in my young adulthood. Car trouble was just a fact of life. Now, part of this, I think, is just that they’re building a lot more quality into automobiles these days than they did then. But the other part is that I’m now blessed with the financial resources to religiously follow the manufacturer’s recommendations about scheduled maintenan


Took some personal time the last couple of days, centered on attending an opera in Chicago, with train rides to and from, and some quality time with two of our children and those connected to them.


Task planning at home. Kept an 8:30 phone date with a couple of lay leaders from one of our parishes. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Consulted with Paige on an ongoing video project that we're working on ... along with a couple of smaller items. Refined and printed the script for this Sunday's homily (Trinity, Mattoon). Took care of a relatively small but important admin chore related to Gnosis (our still-underutilized database program). Lunch at home. Leftovers. Drilled more deeply into using Gnosis as a registration tool for diocesan events. Created several follow-up tasks. Several trips to Paige's office to chase down technological gremlins. Began the process of planning another visit to the diocese from the Bishop of Tabora, sometime in 2018. Emails sent and responded to, tasks created. Early-ish Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


We concluded what some accounted "the best clergy conference ever" with lunch. I drove our two presenters to the airport in St Louis, and then headed home. Aside from dealing with a few emails, I've used these hours as downtime. Back in the office tomorrow.

Tuesday (St Willibrord)

This was the one full day of the fall clergy conference of the diocese, held at Toddhall Retreat Center in Columbia (IL). Tom Bair and Bishop Gerry Wolf continue to provide stimulating content. We conclude midday tomorrow.

Monday (William Temple)

Up, organized, packed, and out of the house around 10:45. Brief errand at the office before heading south to the airport in St Louis. Retrieved our clergy conference presenters--actor Tom Bair and his wife, Bishop Gerry Wolf--and brought them to Toddhall. Got everybody oriented and settled. Evening Prayer, dinner, and then Tom's rather stunning one-man show, narrating the entire gospel of Mark in just ove two hours, with a 15 minute intermission. It is amazing to engage scripture in that way, rather than the piecemeal fashion we usually do.

The Lord's Day (All Saints' observed)

If there's a good time to schedule a 6:15am departure from home, it's on the morning of the fall time change. That diminished the trauma of having to show up at St Andrew's, Edwardsville in time to preside and preach at their regular 8am celebration of the Eucharist. Between services, I had some valuable catechetical time with a rather large group of baptizands and confirmands and their coterie. At the 10:00 liturgy, we baptized one infant and one eight-year old, confirmed four adults (mostly young) and received four adults. What a harvest! After the coffee hour reception, I spent some time with members of the Mission Leadership Team and the Search Committee (priest-in-charge Fr Ralph McMichael is retiring soon after the turn of the new year). Home at 2:45.

Sermon for All Saints

St Andrew's, Edwardsville I’ve always been particularly fond of the opening words of the Prayer Book collect for All Saints’ Day: “O God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord…” Knit together. It’s such a homely image; “homely” in a good way—comforting, familiar, “warm and fuzzy.” I don’t myself knit—hopefully you don’t find that too much of a shock!—but I’ve watched people knit—well, not “watched” actually, but been casually in their presence while they’re knitting—and I’ve always found the process rather amazing, almost magical. There’s a skein of yarn on the floor, with a line leading up to a person sitting in a chair wielding a pair of needles, usually looking quite relaxed and contented and able to carry on a more-than-decent conversation and possibly even follow the plot of a TV show at the same time. And then, pretty soon, I’m looking at a pair of baby booties, or a sweater, or a shawl, or some ot

Friday (Richard Hooker)

Task planning and some internet reading at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Made some refinements in the script for a video we plan to record in the afternoon, #2 in the Seven Marks of Discipleship series. First get-acquainted meeting with someone seeking to test a vocation to ordination. Continued work on guiding Christ the King, Normal and St Matthew's, Bloomington toward the formal creation of a geographic Parish of McLean County. The devil is always in the details. Lunch at home. Leftovers. One of the advantages of now having a Communications Coordinator is that I can up my game with respect to the kind of catechetical videos that I've made paltry attempts at over the years. So I spent time with Paige shooting the next in the "Seven Marks of Discipleship" series. Look for a link soon. Too an hour to attend to some personal business. Friday Prayer: Ignatian meditation on the daily office gospel reading for the day. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Thursday (All Souls)

Task planning at home, tough I got a bit of a late start out of the house. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Tried to handle a sudden flurry of emails on the fly. Attended and participated in the semi-annual meeting of the Diocesan Trustees, who oversee our invested funds. We met with our investment advisor from St Louis. Met with Fr Gene Stormer, a retired priest of the diocese who has done truckloads of supply, interim, and short-term work for us over the decades. He's recently been Sunday supply at Christ the King, Normal, and we discussed some of the issues in the community. Met briefly with the Chancellor over a couple of emerging concerns. Attended the 12:15 Mass for All Souls Day in the cathedral chapel. Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. Tied up a loose end with one of our Rectors, by email. Processed some more late-arriving email. Spent substantial exegetical time with the propers for Advent III, when I will preach at St Luke's, Springfield on December 17.

All Saints

Usual weekday morning routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared to preside and preach at the midday cathedral liturgy. Dealt by email and phone with a substantial administrative issue. Deconstructed and reconstructed a sermon text for Proper 27 from 1996, repurposing it for use at Trinity, Mattoon on the 12th. Attended by email to a relatively small administrative leadership matter. Took a phone call from Fr McMichael to talk through some of the choreography for this Sunday's liturgies at St Andrew's, Edwardsville. Substantive meeting with Rod Matthews, here for some Treasurer work, but, in our conversation, wearing his senior warden of Christ the King, Normal hat. Returned a phone call to a lay leader in one of our Eucharistic Communities. Presided and preached at the cathedral Mass for All Saints' Day. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Attended to some work pertaining to two individuals who are ordained in other churches but who wish to serve as priests in the