Showing posts from January, 2018

Friday (Ss Timothy & Titus)

If I get home from a trip right at bedtime, as I did last night, I still need a winding down period (usually in front of some non-mentally demanding TV) before I can actually go to bed. So I allowed myself a bit of extra time this morning to get up and going. In the office around 9:30. Morning Prayer in the cathedral chapel. Responded to one of our clergy over an administrative issue having to do with the effect of one of our new canons. Reached out by phone to Mother Beth Maynard, rector of Emmanuel, Champaign, where they've had quite a week. She reports that the odor of smoke in the church and parish hall has been successfully ameliorated, and they are planning a full slate of activities for the weekend. #couldhavebeenmuchworse Dealt with two more financial/administrative issues: one having to do with our companion diocese of Tabora, and the other having to do with getting some training for our diocesan exorcist, Fr Andy Hook. Back to draining a small administrative swamp t

Conversion of St Paul

Began the day with a brisk treadmill workout. Task planning at home, MP in the cathedral. Got to work signing and sealing the certificate for tonight's ordination. Took four passes with the hot wax, and one was plenty good enough. Read and responded to an email from the Bishop of Tabora. Devoted more time to an ongoing bit of administrivia that seems to be getting more complex the harder we try to resolve it. Spent about 90 minutes with a commentary on Mark's gospel, focusing on the Passion narrative, all in service of developing a homily for Palm Sunday. Home for lunch on the late side. Leftovers. Registered online for a Communion Partners meeting late next month. Processed a short stack of late-arriving email. Out the door at 3:00 for points east. Met at St John's, Decatur with Fr Mike Newago. Routine check-in regarding his work as Mission Strategy Developer. Presided over a rehearsal, then the liturgy itself. Got Christine Gregory duly ordained to the diacona


Usual weekday AM routine. MP in the cathedral. Apprised the Archdeacon of last nights could-have-been-so-much-worse fire at Emmanuel, Champaign. Tied down some dangling travel arrangements. Attended to two items that have been in my task system for a long time but have always gotten triaged out on any given day. I've gotten tired of seeing them keep popping up. Both involved small favors for a lay person--one inside the diocese and one outside. Sat with my notes on the readings for Lent III until they gave birth to a homiletical message statement (an indicative mood statement of good news, without any subordinate clauses, negatives, or imperatives--it's a discipline that has served me well). This is in preparation for preaching at St Andrew's, Carbondale on March 4. Began my routine monthly project of writing notes to clergy with nodal evens in the following calendar month. Took an early lunch at home (leftovers) in order to keep a 12:30 physical therapy appointment (

Tuesday (Phillips Brooks)

Task planning over breakfast at home. Briefed the Archdeacon on some of the interesting factoids of my weekend with Ordinariate Catholics in Houston. Confirmed with the Dean that we are on the cathedral's calendar for the Chrism Mass on March 24. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Responded to a request from two of our "communities" that are not going to be quite "eucharistic" on Epiphany IV and Epiphany V, for homilies of mine that might be read on those occasions when they gather for Morning Prayer. In this context, I did what I was already needing to do anyway, and did some relatively minor but significant surgery on an old homily text for Epiphany V to make it usable at St John's, Decatur on February 4. Dealt with some administrative and financial details on behalf of a couple of our congregations that are experiencing a pastoral hiatus. Reviewed and responded to a draft plan for the celebration of Emmanuel, Champaign's centennial of their build

Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Went to church a lot today. Brenda and I attended the 9am liturgy at St Martin's, Houston, to make our communion. (This is the largest parish in the Episcopal Church, and includes among its members former President George and Barbara Bush, all they were not at that service!). Then, we were at the 11:15 High Mass at Our Lady of Walsingham, the cathedral church for the (Roman Catholic) Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. The liturgy of the Ordinariate (a sort of non-geographic diocese) is an amalgam from a number of different Anglican sources, the Hymnal 1940 was in the pew racks, and all the music had an Anglican style. Lunch was spent catching up with a former Episcopal priest I have known, now about to be an Ordinariate priest. Brief down time, then back to OLW for an exceptionally fine choral evensong (Stanford in C, for those in the know), at which I was privileged to be the preacher. Caught up during the reception with my Nashotah classmate Fr Michael LaRue and Fr Trey Garlan

Homily at Choral Evensong for Epiphany III

Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham, Houston --Micah 4:1-7, John 9:1-41 I bring you greetings from the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Springfield: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. I am delighted to be with you here in this cathedral church, to renew a friendship of more than thirty years with your Vicar General, and to make the acquaintance of Bishop Lopes, about whom I have heard so many fine things. We are here during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This is an ecumenical observance that is now more than 100 years old. Its origin can be traced to a Catholic Franciscan religious community, the Graymoor Friars of the Atonement, whose founder established the community while he was yet a priest in the Episcopal Church. Very early on, the Graymoor Friars discerned working toward church unity as their primary charism. One aspect of their apostolate is to operate the Centro Pro Unione in Rome, and it was my privilege to attend a r

Saturday (St Fabian)

A day of travel: Out the door, packed, with Brenda, around 0900. Caught the 1030 United Express to Chicago, then on to Houston, where we landed at 4:00. Picked up our rental car and made our way to the Crowne Plaza Galleria, where there was a room waiting for us. Got settled, then headed over to the home of our dear and longtime friends, Fr Timothy Perkins and his wife Jody (joined by their daughter Clare and their granddaughter Elise). Fr Perkins is now the Vicar General (kind of like Canon to the Ordinary) of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, a diocese-like structure for Roman Catholics who worship in the Anglican tradition. They've invited me to preach at a Choral Evensong tomorrow at their cathedral.

Friday (St Wulfstan)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Attended to some last-minute travel details pertaining to my trip (with Brenda) to Houston this weekend for a preaching engagement. It was time-consuming. We plan on receiving a former Roman Catholic priest as a priest of the Episcopal Church next month (not for service in this diocese ... it's complicated). It turns out there is no clearly available liturgical form for doing this, so I had to do a deep dive into the Prayer Book and the Book of Occasional Services, and consult some online contacts, and talk with the Archdeacon, before a plausible solution emerged. But we now have the broad strokes plotted. Met with one of our clergy, who dropped by on other business, but it turned into a substantive conversation. Lunch from TG, eaten at home. Took Brenda to get her driver's license renewed. Spent quality time with a commentary on John's gospel in preparation for preaching on Lent III (March 4 at St Andrew's, Carbondale). Routine

Confession of St Peter

Customary treadmill workout at home, first thing. Task planning over breakfast. Short form MP in the car. Listened to three voicemail messages--one on my cell, and two on the office landline, which is a comparative rarity--and left voicemail replies on all three. Telephone tag. Debriefed with the Archdeacon and the Administrator on some things. Got to work refining the text of my sermon for this Sunday evening at a Choral Evensong in Houston. Took a scheduled phone call with one of our clergy. Attended Mass for the feast day. Kept a physical therapy appointment (my back). Very late lunch at home. Leftovers. Finished the work I started in the morning on the Ecumenical Evensong sermon. Took a substantive and long phone call from a priest outside the diocese seeking pastoral care. This ran so late that Evening Prayer fell through the cracks, as was on a hard deadline to be home by 6:00.

Wednesday (St Antony)

Enjoyed my "room with a view" at the Nicholas Center in the "River North" area of Chicago. Morning Prayer in nextdoor St James' Cathedral. The Province V bishops concluded our business around 11:30, having discussed, inter alia, Title IV (of course), and issues likely to cause heartburn at General Convention. IMO, there were significant baby steps toward the kinds of communication habits that we need to cultivate more of. After stripping and re-making my bed, I stowed my luggage in the reception area downstairs, then hoofed it through the cold to the Opera House (a pretty good jaunt), stopping at Portillo's for Italian beef along the way. Enjoyed the Lyric's production of Turandot. Magnificent, actually. Walked back up to the Nicholas Center (about 30 minutes), grabbed my stuff, and called an Uber to take me to Union Station. Traffic was gridlocked, but the driver managed to get me there. Grabbed a bite in the food court and caught the 7:00pm Lincoln Ser


Up and out to the Amtrak station in time catch the 0632 northbound to Chicago. But, because a freight train collided with an unoccupied vehicle just south of Springfield, we didn't pull away from the station until 0915. So ... lots of waiting.  Morning Prayer in the Amtrak station. Once aboard, I connected to the wifi and was able to work. Attended to a few questions from a lay leader in one of our Eucharistic Communities, moved the ball down the field in preparation for next week's ordination of a deacon, sent out an email blast to the clergy about the upcoming pre-Lenten retreat. Arrived at Union Station, grabbed a sandwich for a quick lunch, then caught a taxi to the Nicholas Center, a conference facility on the top floor of the Diocese of Chicago's office building. Spent the afternoon and evening with colleague bishops from Province V. We discussed issues around this year's General Convention, the Church Pension Fund, and best practices of providing pastoral mi

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Warm time on a cold morning with the folks at Christ Church, Springfield. Really lively adult forum, which included some nice catechesis time with the four confirmands (three youths and an adult). I preached from I Samuel about the importance of knowing the Lord. Then, after getting home, while changing clothes, I suddenly developed very attention-getting lower back pain. After trying for a while to "walk it out," I yielded to Brenda's entreaties and headed to the all-too-familiar Priority Care clinic. X-ray was negative, a shot to torodol helped, and now I have a prescription for hopped-up ibuprofen and a muscle relaxant. One theory is that this is a delayed development after my fall on the ice a week ago. Hmmm.

Sermon for Epiphany II

Christ Church, Springfield -- I Samuel 3:1-20 Father Kevin Martin is a retired priest in Texas with decades-long experience as a congregational development consultant. I used to look at his online newsletter from time to time; more recently it’s a Facebook group. He once listed several convictions that he believes are essential to congregational health and growth. One of them was this: “Boring people is a sin.” For some reason, that got my attention. Do I bore people with my preaching? Do we bore people with our worship in the congregations of the Diocese of Springfield? Is Christ Church boring? I’m not the one to answer those questions, of course, but I certainly try not to be boring. And I take the question seriously, because I really hate being bored myself, as most people do. There are a number of things that have the potential to bore me. Even as a “religious professional,” certain religious attitudes and practices have the capacity to bore me intensely. (It’s one of the reasons

Friday (St Aelred)

Finally, a "normal" day in the office. Task planning at home, MP in the cathedral chapel (they were busy de-greening the nave, chancel, and sanctuary). Extended consultation with the Archdeacon on a number of ongoing matters--some mundane, some complicated, some delicate. This led to the drafting of a couple of hard-copy letters Met with Paige to plot the broad strokes of our next video recording endeavor. Penned a note of condolence to one of our clergy who has recently suffered a family loss. Edited, refined, and printed a working copy of my homily for this Sunday (Christ Church, Springfield). Lunch at home (deli turkey). Attended a video-conference meeting of the Forward Movement Board of Directors between 1:00 and 2:00. Then back to the office. Took care of a bit of personal business by phone. Reached out by email to schedule an appointment that needs to happen with one of our priests. Took a first slow homiletical drive-by of the readings for Palm Sunday. Atte


The decision could have gone either way, but I decided to spare my co-workers my nasty-sounding cough, and spent the day at home again. Not much would have changed if I'd gone into the office: With time out to reply to emails as they came in, and to run a shopping errand, I devoted my time and energy to giving birth to a rough draft of my homily at a choral evensong a week from Sunday at the Cathedral Church of Our Lady of Walsingham, Houston, which serves Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, a diocese-like community of Roman Catholics who are permitted to worship using Anglican-like forms. It's pretty much ready to refine and print next week.

Wednesday (William Laud)

Wrote and delivered an article to Paige for the next issue of the Current, handled some pastoral/administrative business by email, took a first prayerful pass at the readings for Lent III (St Andrew's, Carbondale), and performed some routine personal organization maintenance (specifically, cleaning up my computer desktop). This was all done courtesy of Amtrak's Lincoln Service wifi, as I accompanied Brenda to a doctor's appointment in Chicago. I realize some consider technology an evil. I rather appreciate it.


I spent the day under doctor-ordered house arrest ... though I did sneak out with Brenda in the afternoon to pick up some groceries. Woke up feeling at least 50% better than when I sent to bed last night (I had textbook flu symptoms, but tested negative). If I have an internet connection, however, I can still be pretty productive. I caught up on a thick stack of emails, polished and submitted my next-due post for the Covenant blog, and did some work toward the next edition of the Springfield Current.

First Sunday after the Epiphany: Baptism of Christ

Woke up at the Hampton Inn in Lincoln, glad that I had made the trip up there last night. Out the door at 0645, headed from Trinity Church. Presided and preached at their regular 0730 liturgy. Took the time between services for some solid catechetical time with four adult confirmands, and some eavesdroppers. Such occasions pretty much hit the bullseye of what makes me feel like a bishop. Presided, preached, and confirmed at the 0945 Mass, Mad a cameo at coffee hour, then headed to the only Chinese restaurant in Lincoln for lunch with the rector, the senior warden, and two potential postulants for ordination and their families. Got home around 1400, while the precipitation was still liquid. Worked with Brenda to put take down the Christmas tree and stow the ornaments. Around dinnertime, as we were headed out to the grocery store to pick up something to eat, I noticed that the driveway looked shiny, and decided to take a closer look before driving on it (it's on a fairly steep slope)

Sermon for I Epiphany

Trinity, Lincoln -- Mark 1:4-11 I was in the fourth grade in January 1961 when John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35 th President of the United States. I remember my teacher holding us over into our lunch hour to watch it on television. All these 57 years later, I also remember President Kennedy concluding his inaugural address with an invitation to all Americans to “make God’s work truly our own.” Make God’s work truly our own. God’s work, of course, is the work of redemption, of righting wrongs, pursuing justice, lifting up the lowly, filling the hungry with good things, proclaiming liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind. This is what God does; this is what God is about. And we—we see a world that needs redemption by the boatload. We see mass shootings, pretty much on a regular basis now. We see sexual predators—a new celebrity sexual predator or two nearly every day, and an unknowable number of non-celebrity sexual predators. We see a political landscape, bo


A mostly "me time" day, though I did deal with a handful of emails and did some routine personal organization chores. Lots of time on the treadmill. Did some reading. A bit of housekeeping. Tried to work on a jigsaw puzzle left over from Christmas, but was reminded how boring it is. Packed up and headed to north Lincoln mid-evening ahead of tomorrow's visitation to Trinity. Yes, it's only 30 miles, but their 8:00 service is at 7:30, so ...

Friday (Twlelfth Day of Christmas)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Emailed a priest celebrating an ordination anniversary today. Edited, refined, and printed a working copy of my sermon for this Sunday (Trinity, Lincoln), taking time out to keep on top of emails as they arrived, confer with the Archdeacon, and confer with the Communicator. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Devoted the afternoon to my next-due post for the Covenant blog. Ended up with a rough draft, which I will refine and submit next week. It's a fairly substantive essay on theological and religious themes present in the TV series The 100 . Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Thursday (Eleventh Day of Christmas)

Sacrificed my Thursday morning treadmill workout to play gracious host over breakfast to my brother and his wife, who spent the night with us while en route to their suburban Chicago home following a sojourn my sister and her family, who live in the Florida panhandle. (They report that it wasn't really warm there, just less cold.) In the office around 10. Got a toehold in working up a sermon for a guest appearance I'm making at a choral evensong on the 21st, to be held in the (Roman Catholic) Cathedral Church of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston. Kept an appointment with my cardiologist. Routine checkup. He assures me that I still have a heart, though I suspect some might disagree. Back to that sermon, ending up with a clear sense of direction. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Spent a chunk of the afternoon attending, by phone and internet, to some personal financial planning issues. I don't plan to retire any time particularly soon, but simple math indicates that it's

Wednesday (Tenth Day of Christmas)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Took care of a small but of Communion Partners business by email. Emailed the President of the Standing Committee to ask to be on their agenda when next they meet. Edited, refined, and printed a working text of my homily for this Sunday (Trinity, Lincoln). Discussed with the Administrator the need to order some new letterhead and envelopes. Made some decisions. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Culled and organized a rat's nest of notes toward my next-due post on the Covenant blog. Plotted my sermon prep tasks between Ash Wednesday and Trinity Sunday. (It takes so little time to write that, but it's a very time-consuming chore.) Short-form Evening Prayer on the way home.

Tuesday (Ninth Day of Christmas)

Weekly and daily task organization at home. Substantive and lengthy consultation with the Archdeacon on two ongoing pastoral/administrative issues. Morning Prayer (quite tardy) in the cathedral. Devoted the rest of the morning to one of the above-referenced issues. It was a needle-threading exercise, trying to be gentle and supportive even while deploying the authority of my office and deliver unwelcome news. That in itself was enough of a challenge, but there were also technical issues because I was working in Gnosis. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Wrapped up the work to which I had devoted most of the morning. Taking time out around 2:30 to run a personal errand, the afternoon was devoted to my homily for this Sunday (at Trinity, Lincoln), taking it from the "developed outline" stage to "rough draft." Evening Prayer in the cathedral.