Showing posts from May, 2018

Visitation (& Corpus Christi)

Customary Thursday morning weights and treadmill workout. Short-form MP in the car. At the office around 10. Took a substantive phone call from one of our rectors. Attended to some aspects of preparation for the impending visit to the diocese of the Bishop of Tabora and his wife. Responded to an email from a priest outside the diocese inquiring about possible opportunities. Placed a semi-emergency call to a tree service. There was a substantial limb down in our front yard this morning. Got to work developing a developed outline for a sermon on Proper 5 (June 10 in O'Fallon) into a rough draft. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Back to the sermon work, bringing it to completion by mid-afternoon. Wrote and sent an endorsement blurb for Tom Bair, an actor who is trying to develop a head of steam for his one-man show that consists of a dramatic recitation of the entire Gospel of Mark. Moved the ball downfield on a paradigm-shifting Christian formation project I'm working on. Spe

Homily for Corpus Christi

Springfield Cathedral We’re keeping the feast of Corpus Christi today; Corpus Christi —Latin for “Body of Christ.” It celebrates the gift of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist—more specifically, the Real Presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Holy Eucharist. Now, you may be at least subliminally raising an eyebrow hearing me mention the Eucharist, since we are manifestly not celebrating a Eucharist on this occasion. Let me explain why we’re not celebrating a Eucharist. In just a bit, we’re going to be engaging in some rather elaborate devotions—devotions to Jesus, to Jesus specifically as he is sacramentally present with us in the consecrated Eucharistic bread. That is all well and good, a fine and pious thing on our part. Glory be to Jesus! But what we are doing, as wonderful as it is, is derivative, secondary. As grand as our ceremonial will be—and it will be grand!—it is utterly inferior to the simplest Mass said with a congregation of two on a weekday in the Lady Chapel o

Wednesday (St Joan of Arc)

Usual weekday AM routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Somewhat to my consternation, the task of preparing service leaflets for the six celebrations of the Eucharist at the St Michael's Youth Conference week after next consumed my entire morning. No snags or technology meltdowns; it just took that long. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Sculpted a homily for tomorrow's celebration of Corpus Christ at the cathedral, starting with a text from a prior year, but using only about 20% of it in the end, the rest being fresh material. Created an organizational infrastructure (a shared Dropbox folder) for the Mission Strategy Reports that are beginning to arrive from our Eucharistic Communities (a new canonical mandate), and informed the members of the Department of Mission. Attended to a project on behalf of the Communion Partners. Cranked out a 200-word meditation on one of the daily office readings for November 4, 2019. I'm responsible for that month in Forward Da


Daily and weekly tasks planning and some blog reading at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Refined, edited, printed, and scheduled for posting my homily for Proper 4, this Sunday in Alton Parish. Spoke by phone with a priest of the diocese who has had some sudden and severe family health issues. Composed and sent a fairly lengthy Ad Clerum letter to the clergy of the diocese, covering a range of issues. Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. Ran a personal errand on the west side of town. Hand-wrote personal notes to clergy and spouses with nodal events (birthday, anniversaries of marriage and ordination) in June. June is a big month for ordinations. I got writer's cramp. Attended to task in connection with the St Michael's Conference that involved using Finale, a music-publishing app that is very robust, but therefore has a steep learning/re-learning curve, and it's been three years or so since I've used it. Frustrating, but got the job done. Evening Praye

Trinity Sunday

Up and out with Brenda at 0700 headed west. Presided and preached at the regular 0800 liturgy at Trinity, Jacksonville. Drank some tea and chatted with confirmands (three adults, two youth). Presided, preached, and confirmed at the regular 1000 service. Did the coffee hour/potluck thing. Back home a bit before 1300. Napped, planned some tasks for the week, did Monday's shopping errands on Sunday, watched some TV.

Sermon for Trinity Sunday

Trinity, Jacksonville Anyone who has ever tried to explain the Christian faith either to someone outside the faith or to someone trying to learn the faith has had the experience of getting to the doctrine of the Trinity and then wondering what to say. It is convoluted and contradictory and leaves most people just scratching their head wondering what the heck it’s all about. To Jews and Muslims, it’s blasphemy, and to everyone else just nonsense. God is one, we say, but we know him in three “persons”—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, each of whom is fully and completely God, not a junior God or an apprentice God or an assistant God. Yet, don’t make the mistake of thinking that we believe in three Gods, because we don’t. We believe there is but one God. So you see how it goes; we can keep using the word “but” infinitely, going back and forth between One and Three—one but three, three but one, one but three, three but one—until we’ve driven ourselves completely aroun

Saturday (St Augustine of Canterbury)

Leisurely morning, leading to a weight workout and a long, hard walk. After lunch it was down to business: more liturgy prep for the St Michael's Conference, edited an printed the text of an upcoming sermon that comes on a weekend when I won't have been able to do it in the office the preceding week, took care of a long-delayed administrative chore, cleaned up my computer's desktop, and did some more St Michael's prep.

Friday (St Bede)

Since I would have been the only one in the office, I didn't go in but for a while in the afternoon to work on a file scanning project and engage in one of my spiritual practices, which is to sit down at the organ and play through hymns, with close attention to the texts. There is virtually always a rather rich spiritual surprise for me when I do that. At home in the morning, I worked up a rough draft of a homily for Proper 6 (June 17 in Mt Carmel), beginning with the general outline I had developed last week. I also managed to sneak in some General Convention prep. take my homily for Proper 5 (June 10 in O'Fallon) from "message statement" to "developed outline," and moved the ball downfield a bit on a Christian formation project that is still in the nascent stages.


Up bright and early (because that's what the sun does these days) in my Oconomowoc, WI hotel room, with time to shower, dress, pack, and enjoy a fairly leisurely breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and still be on the road before 0800. This put me home at 12:45, and with time to unpack, get organized, and decompress a bit, I was in the office at 2pm. Had two substantial in-person conversations: first with Dean Hook over an area of diocesan responsibility that has been assigned to him, then with Paige regarding the summer issue of the Springfield Current. The bulk of the remainder of the afternoon was spent closely editing, polishing, printing, and scheduling for posting my homily for this Sunday (Trinity, Jacksonville, on their feast-of-title). Evening Prayer in the cathedral, and then a slightly earlier than usual departure--about 4:45.


Spent the bulk of the day in a meeting of the Nashotah House corporation. Beyond that, there was an engaging lecture by the latest faculty hire, Dr Hans Boersma, some Alumni Day activities, a Solmen Mass at which the new Provost was instituted and seated in the Dean's stall, a festive dinner, and a smaller soireƩ in honor of tomorrow's commencement speaker, Dr Richard Chartres, recently retired Bishop of London (under whose leadership the diocese bucked trends and enjoyed significant numerical growth).


Organized tasks for the day/week. Made arrangements to have dinner with our Nashotah House seminarian, Shane Spellmeyer. Shared an article of mind that appeared on the Covenant blog today on Facebook and Twitter. Read a progress report on mission strategy development from one of our Eucharistic Communities. Took care of a handful of other small administrative items ... via email. Packed for two nights away. Left at 11:20, headed north. Landed in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin a little past 4pm.  Hied over to Nashotah House a little late for Evensong. Hung out with staff and students for a bit, then headed over to the Red Circle Inn in the Village of Nashotah for dinner with Shane. I'm here for a meeting of the Corporation tomorrow.


It was a big day at Emmanuel, Champaign, the concluding gala of their year-long celebration of the centennial of their architecturally significant church building. But one merciful detail was that there was no 0800 service today, so Brenda and I got to enjoy breakfast at our hotel before reporting for duty in the sacristy at 0845. Having gotten vested, including a wearable portable loudspeaker (of the sort museum guides use), we ambled up to a parking lot a couple of blocks away which was the site of a school building where the first Episcopal worship service in Chambana took place. We had some words and some prayers there, and then processed--with a brass quartet, a choir in full voice, and a fire department escort, a few blocks away, the site of the second place Emmanuel met. More words and prayers. Then on our way singing back to the present century-old church. I knocked on the door with my crozier and cried, "Let the doors be opened." And they were. And the last folks got

Sermon for Pentecost

Emmanuel, Champaign -- Acts 2:1-11 ; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 During my adult lifetime—indeed, arguably since I could have been legitimately described as “middle aged”—there has been a revolution in the way human beings communicate with one another. The expansion of the internet beyond just a few dozen geek scientists has not only changed the speed at which we communicate, but actually what we say and how we say it. We don’t need to look any further than just about any comment thread on a Facebook status, a tweet, or a blog post to illustrate my point. Virtually everyone here has at least looked at, if not participated in, a comment thread that is, shall we say, passionate , to put it kindly. Heck, some of us in this very church this morning have been involved in the same passionate thread more than a couple of times. And we’ve seen how easy it is for people to simply talk “past” one another, resulting in multiple levels of misunderstanding and misconstruing. Very quickly, emotions es


Customary Saturday "leisurely" morning. Treadmill workout followed by a good, long walk. Attended to some details of our post-General Convention vacation. Did a bit of plastic surgery on an old sermon text for Proper 8, toward repurposing it for use at Redeemer, Cairo on July 1. Packed for an overnight and headed east toward Champaign at 2:15. Arrived at Emmanuel just as they were finishing roasting a pig, which will be the guest of honor at a post-liturgical banquet as they complete a year of celebrating the centennial of their church building. Met with tomorrow's confirmands and the families of the baptismal candidates. Check in at the Hilton Garden for some down time in advance of meeting all the clergy and spouses serving Emmanuel at the hope of Rector Beth Maynard.


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Made liturgical and homiletical preparations for the Diocesan Council Mass. Met for a bit with one of our parish clergy over an ongoing concern in his community. Presided and preached at a Mass, using propers for Friday in Week of VII Easter. Presided at the regular May meeting of the Diocesan Council. Participated in some substantive ad hoc after-meeting conversations. Lunch from Hardee's, eaten at home. Consented to the consecration of the bishop-elect of Bethlehem. Attended by phone to a personal matter. Wrestled with my exegetical notes on the readings for Proper 5 and emerged with a homiletical message statement (St Michael's, O'Fallon on June 10). Planned the details of Morning and Evening Prayer for the St Michael's Conference. Time-consuming. Took a first prayerful pass at the readings for Proper 18, in preparation for preaching at my DEPO parish, Trinity Church in Yazoo City, MS on September 9. Evening Prayer in th


Early morning workout: weights and treadmill. MP in the car. In the office before 0930. Did reconstructive surgery on the old sermon text for Trinity Sunday, toward repurposing it for use this year at Trinity, Jacksonville.  Got back to work doing liturgy planning for the St Michael's conference. Today's goal: Choose hymns and service music and identify readings and pick Prayers of the People for the six celebrations of the Eucharist that will happen that week. Interrupted that work to keep an 11am appointment with my psychotherapist.  Grabbed lunch for Brenda and me at Popeye's and brought it home to eat. Back to the liturgy planning. Such work is time-consuming. Got into the weeds with my homily for Proper 4 (June 3 in Alton Parish). Started with a developed outline and emerged with a rough draft. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


Task planning over breakfast at home. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Hand-wrote notes of condolence to two colleague bishops who have had recent deaths in their families. Attended to a small administrative issue on behalf of one of our parish clergy. Responded by email to another parish priest regarding some ongoing concerns. Moved the ball a couple of yards down the field in prep for next month's visit from the Bishop of Tabora. Got to work editing and refining my homily for this Sunday (Emmanuel, Champaign). Interrupted that work for a scheduled 11am appointment with an individual in the ordination discernment process. Resumed and completed my work on this Sunday's sermon. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Re-recorded a snippet of the most recent catechetical video because of some audio difficulties on the first take. Spoke by phone with a priest from outside the diocese about a possible deployment opportunity here. Dug the foundation for liturgical planning f


Brenda and I drove up to Chicago yesterday to keep a healthcare appointment of hers, and we stayed over to attend a real estate closing this morning. Along with two of our children, we now own a three-flat apartment building in the greater Lincoln Square area on the north side. The kids will occupy two of the units and the third will be rented out until such future time as it becomes our retirement landing spot. We left Logan Square (where the kids currently live) at 2:30 and didn't get home until 7:45, having enjoyed the pleasure of traffic backup from two major accidents. It was more than two hours before we were even out of Cook County.

Seventh Sunday of Easter

It's on weekends like this that I feel like I actually earn my keep. Then again, it's so much fun that perhaps I don't deserve to be paid. Ah ... deeper questions than I can ponder. Anyway, after yesterday's meeting with confirmands and dinner with the MLT, Brenda and I were up and out of our hotel in time for me to preside and preach at the regular 8am liturgy at St George's, followed by a long and lively adult forum at which we talked mostly about prayer, and then the 1030 Mass, which included a baptism and six confirmation. On the whole, a superb visitation to St George's. So many there who want to be genuine disciples of Jesus. After a late lunch at Ruby Tuesday in Litchfield (Brenda's fave), we were home close to 4:00.

Sermon for VII Easter

St George's, Belleville -- John 17:6-19 What an emotional roller coaster!  First we heard about him from a friend or a relative or a neighbor. We were curious. So we went out at watched him from a distance and listened to him. There was something strangely compelling and attractive about him, though we couldn't quite put our finger on what it was. But when he walked up and introduced himself to us and told us to follow him, our mouths said Yes and our feet were on their way before our minds had even had time to engage. We became his followers, his disciples. He taught us to look to him as the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams, as individuals and as a nation. We had a noble purpose, and were enlisted in an invincible cause.  Then we went to Jerusalem. He insisted on it. Why? We're not really sure why. But in a few short days the temple authorities and the Romans ran him through a kangaroo court and hung him out to dry. Most of us deserted him in that hour, but . .


Having dealt with some details pertaining to the Bishop of Tabora's visit next month, and doing a weights/treadmill workout as well a few other personal odds and ends, it was time to pack for a 2:30 departure with Brenda. We arrived at St George's, Belleville in time for a meeting with five of tomorrow's six youth confirmands. We had a lively time of final catechesis and preparation. Then we headed over to the Hilton Garden in O'Fallon, got settled in, and headed across the street to Bella Milano for dinner with the St George's MLT.


Pretty routine start to the workday. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Substantive (incoming) phone conversation with one of our parish clergy. Substantive conversation-in-passing with the cathedral dean. Substantive phone conversation (incoming) with a colleague bishop. Refined, edited, printed, and scheduled for posting my homily for this Sunday (St George's, Belleville). Conceived and hatched a post for the Covenant blog that is due next week. It still needs some significant development, but the skeleton is there. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Kept an appointment with a doctor to follow up on my kidney stone drama from about three weeks ago. Ran a personal errand on the way back to the office. Devoted the balance of the afternoon to my homily for Pentecost (Emmanuel, Champaign), taking it from the "developed outline" phase to "rough draft." End-of-the-day incoming phone call from a priest outside the diocese calling to simply find out how to


Final meeting of my Forward Movement board tenure in the morning. Drove from Cincinnati to Glen Carbon (6+ hours). Celebrated and preached a splendid Ascension Mass for the Darrow Deanery at St Thomas' Church. Drove home to Springfield. A quite full day. I may allow myself an extra half-hour of sleep in the morning.

Wednesday (St Gregory of Nazianzus)

In Cincinnati for (my last) meeting of the board of Forward Movement. We had some important and productive discussions, and enjoyed lunch and dinner together. Forward Movement has come a very long way in my six years serving it, from primarily a pamphlet and tract purveyor (of which I have bought more than a few during my time in ministry) to becoming a dynamic producer of evangelism and discipleship resources for the Episcopal Church. i have been blessed by the association.

Tuesday (Julian of Norwich)

Got some stuff done at home until mid-morning: Assembled a list of names and connected information and sent them off to the chair of a search committee in the diocese, attended to a couple of small administrative tasks, plotted preparatory tasks for my participation in the St Michael's Youth Conference next month, plotted the broad strokes of a major writing assignment I've accepted. Then, at 1030, having already packed, I hit the road for Cincinnati and my final meeting as a member of the board of Forward Movement. Arrived around 5:15 (eastern time), got checked into my downtown hotel, processed some emails, read Evening Prayer, and then joined other board members for drinks and dinner. Our actual meeting starts tomorrow.

Sixth Sunday of Easter (Rogation)

I'm always energized by the liturgy and music at the Chapel of St John the Divine in Champaign, where we did Rogation Sunday up right this morning, with an outdoor procession, wherein the verger ended up directing  vehicular traffic, to bless an experimental agriculture plot. The choir sang the Jubilate from the Howells Collegium Regale setting. I actually preached on the text from I John (which I find a difficult document) about "water and blood." Six young adults were confirmed, including a college senior who was born the year my oldest child was a college senior, so I feel suitably ancient. I got a sneak peak at some prospective architectural plans for the replacement of Canterbury House. All in all, a splendid visit.

Sermon for VI Easter

Chapel of St John the Divine, Champaign -- I Jon 5:1-6 , John 15:9-17 Most of you are probably aware that, for almost the last three years in the Episcopal Church, we’ve had a Presiding Bishop who is relentlessly on-message, one of the most disciplined leaders in staying on-message that I have ever encountered. “We are the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement,” and every Episcopalian who pays attention to the wider church knows this by now. I, for one, find this development very encouraging. It’s now fashionable to talk about Jesus in the Episcopal Church, not something that could always have been said, so … what’s not to like?!   The Jesus Movement, of course, is not something brand new that Michael Curry made up. It’s how Christianity got started, two-thousand years ago: as a movement —a movement centered on Jesus. But, more accurately, perhaps, we should probably be talking about Jesus movement s , in the plural. The community that Jesus left behind after his Ascension, and wh

Friday (St Monnica)

Usual weekday AM routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Dealt with some logistical and planning issues related to my attendance at a meeting of the Corporation Members of Nashotah House later this month, Attended to a piece of business related to my trusteeship of the Putnam Trust, of which two of our Eucharistic Communities are beneficiaries. Moved the ball downfield a few yards toward the goal of being able to send some names to the search committee of a parish with a pastoral vacancy, Took care of a small detail pertaining to next week's Darrow Deanery Ascension liturgy, at which YFNB is celebrant and preacher. Cracked open the commentaries on both Mark and II Corinthians toward the end of preaching responsibly at St Michael's, O'Fallon on June 10. Read some material online about a batch of General Convention resolutions that will try to homogenize and standardize procedures around the election of bishops in TEC. Lots of potential for chicanery here, IMO. Vigil


I felt rather more "ownership" of my own destiny today. The threatened oncoming sickness that I felt last night failed to materialize. I was up early per usual on a Thursday morning for a weights and treadmill workout . Morning Prayer at home, as I had to wait for the scheduled arrival of a team of two plumbers who spent two-thirds of the day doing some important but non-emergency work in our home. I slipped out to attend a 10am meeting of the diocesan trustees. (This is the group responsible for overseeing our invested funds.) Leveraged the presence of two of the trustees whom I needed to speak with on other matters in a couple of short conversations after the meeting. Back home for lunch, stopping at HyVee to pick up some fried chicken. Hung around the house to be available to the plumbers for random questions, but steadily ticking items off my task list thanks to a robust internet connection. Back to the office around 3:00. Took care of a couple administrative details, the

Wednesday (St Athanasius)

Lest I take any pride in a recent pattern of well-planned and efficiently executed working days, with ample attention paid to getting a good amount of exercise, when everything seems to spin out of my control. Apparently I need to be kept humble. Day before yesterday I had some symptoms that were sufficiently noticeable and sufficiently indicative of a possible cardiac event that, in an abundance of caution, I spent some time in the ER. Tests all came back negative, thus bolstering my "history of negative cardiac workups," but the doctor wanted by to have a stress test, just to be on the safe side. For various reasons, it couldn't happen that day, so it was scheduled for 10am today. So up until about 0940 this morning, other than having had to skip breakfast, everything went well, and I expected to resume my planned activities at least by noon. Somehow I had forgotten that a stress test is a rather drawn-out procedure, and moderately unpleasant. So it was 1:45 before I go

Ss Philip & James

Daily and weekly task planning at home; Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Attended by email to some evolving details of next month's visit from the Bishop of Tabora and his wife. Edited, refined, printed, and scheduled for posting my homily for this Sunday (Chapel of St John the Divine, Champaign). At this stage of sermon preparation, "editing" largely means paying attention to the oral nature of the genre. One should write differently when one's words are going to be heard than when they're going to be read. Took a longish walk on a gorgeous morning--down Spring to South Grand, then back up on First. Further refined Bishop Elias' visit itinerary, and shared it with some key people. Tied up a couple of loose ends from last week's visit from a couple of Pension Group representatives. Turned by attention to some initial prep for next month's (fourth annual) St Michael's Youth Conference. Attended Mass in the cathedral chapel for the major feas