Showing posts from June, 2018


Household chores and errands, mostly, until 6:00pm, when we pointed the YFNBmobile southward and are now camped out at the Hampton Inn in Marion, ahead of tomorrow's visitation to Redeemer, Cairo. Dinner at the Cracker Barrel in Mt Vernon.

Ss Peter & Paul

Up and out in time to retrieve the Chakupewas at the Doubletree at 0645, delivering them to the airport in St Louis and taking final leave at around 0900, having stuck with them through bag check and seeing that they cleared security. Home at 1100. Cleared out my email box, organized my tasks, and dealt with the social media reverberations over the fact that The Living Church published an interview with me its most recent edition. There was also some chatter to monitor over a newly-revealed General Convention resolution that is a less drastic alternative to the one intended to force knuckle-dragging bishops like me on the issue of same-sex marriage. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten back at home. To the office then, where I dealt with a handful of substantive emails that have been awaiting my attention, conferred with Paige on an ongoing issue, and hand-wrote notes to clergy and spouses with nodal events in July. Lectio divina on tomorrow daily office OT reading. Evening Prayer in the

Thursday (St Iranaeus)

Up and out in time to retrieve the Chakupewas at 0800 and drive them to Decatur for a breakfast meeting with a well-connected and influential business and civic leader who has broad experience and deep interest in development across Africa, including several trips to Tanzania. While they talked, I had breakfast about a hundred yards away with Deacon Chris Gregory and Fr Dick Swan. Back to Springfield for futile visits to a CVS and Wal*Mart to receive some funds through MondayGram from a friend of the bishop's in Kentucky. Fraud protection protocols were set so high that it just couldn't happen. So I spoke with the Kentucky donor. He agreed to send me a check in the mail and I cashed a discretionary fund check for the same amount and gave the cash to Bishop Elias. Dropped our guests back at the Double Tree and came home for some lunch.  Headed back over to take them on a small shopping expedition, then to the office while I tried to catch up on a few things, mostly trying to

Wednesday (Our Lady of Perpetual Help)

Morning Prayer and some planning at home. Retrieved the Chakupewas from the Doubletree at 0930 and drove them down to the diocesan office. For a few minutes we attended to some logistical details about their visit. The four of us (that is, including Brenda and Lucy) walked over to the Stratton Office Building where we were greeting by two members of the Secretary of State's staff (as arranged by Archdeacon Denney), who took us to meet state Rep. Tim Butler, who officially welcomed Bishop Elias to Illinois.  After being led through an underground tunnel that connects the Stratton Building with the Capitol, we were given a generous tour of the Capitol by a staff member who usually does that sort of thing. Even though it's barely three blocks from my office, I hadn't been in the building since my eighth grade class trip in 1965! Afterward, we walked the two blocks over the Illinois National Bank, where I arranged to wire $1000 from my discretionary fund to Bishop Elias to


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Signed the forms giving my consent to the consecration of bishops-elect in Western Kansas, Rio Granda, and Newark. Printed out the insurance card for the new YFNBmobile and placed it in the glove box. Wrote a promised Discretionary Fund check. Communicated with the chair of our General Convention deputation regarding plans for a deputation dinner. Got to work on my next-due post for the Covenant blog. Once again I laid aside a piece that was already roughed out in favor of something more timely. Lunch from McD's, eaten at home. Remaining at home, resumed work on the blog post, eventually bringing it to completion and dispatching it to the editor. Cranked out another daily office lectionary meditation for the November 2019 Forward Day by Day. Attended to a small domestic chore. Grabbed Brenda and pointed the YFNBmobile north to Normal. Retrieved Bishop Elias and Lucy after their dinner meeting with some folks at Christ the King. Brought th

The Lord's Day (V Pentecost)

Up and out of our Mt Vernon hotel room at 0740, headed east. Arrived at St John's, Albion about 20 minutes ahead of the regular 0900 Sunday liturgy. Presided and preached. The congregation at St John's is small but dedicated and lively. Good folks. Then it was once again westward ho, arriving back at Toddhall around 1:30. There were phone calls, texts, and emails to attend to, but I got to do so sitting in a glider swing. #smallblessings  Presided and preached at the Cursillo closing Mass. Visited with some people afterward, informally. Hit the road around 5:00 and got home around 7:00. Put more than 600 miles on the brand-new YFNBmobile on this three day trip. Ready for some down time.

Sermon for Proper 7

St John's, Albion -- Mark 4:35-41 Everything was in chaos. The wind was blowing. Rain was falling. Waves were crashing. The small boat was in imminent danger of capsizing. And Jesus . . . Jesus was sleeping. “Master, wake up! We’re all about to die. Don’t you care?”  As long as human beings have told stories, and searched the world of nature for appropriate metaphors and symbols for our fears and passions and anxieties, the sea—particularly a stormy sea—has represented to us the terror of Chaos—the great abyss that threatens to swallow us up and absorb us in a great ocean of nothingness, devoid of meaning, devoid of hope, devoid of life. So, when we encounter stormy seas in our voyage through life, when we feel ourselves like those terrified disciples in a storm-tossed boat, it is sometimes difficult to sustain belief in God’s active and caring presence with us. When we read about wars and famines and earthquakes and hostage taking and tidal waves and droughts and layoffs and d


Up and out of the Hilton Garden in O'Fallon with Bishop Elias and Lucy in time for a 0930 arrival at Toddhall, where I immediately gave the rollo (talk) on the sacraments to this year's weekend candidates. Had to be concise, as I could have spent that much time yet again without exhausting what I could readily say on the subject in one session. Moved from there immediately to the celebration of a votive Mass "For Vocation in Daily Work," at which i presided and preached. After lunch, it was down to serious emailing with Communion Partner colleagues over General Convention strategy issues, with Bishop Elias as a consultant from time to time. I was able to step back into the main hall to listen to one of the other rollos before Fr Dave Halt arrived to retrieve the Chakupewas and ferry them up to Bloomington, where they will stay until Tuesday evening. In the meantime, Brenda and I headed east to Mt Vernon, where we are camped out at the Hampton Inn in advance of tomorro

Friday (St Alban)

Wishing to give our Tanzanian guests ample opportunity to recover from jet lag, we did not plan a strenuous day. The principal daytime activity was a visit to the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site near Collinsville. Just as we were beginning to enjoy the view from atop the principal mount (100 feet above its surroundings), the skies opened, and, bereft of shelter, we all got quite wet. But we eventually got back to the museum and very much enjoyed the experience. We had a good chunk of down time after a late lunch, which I used to process emails, have a General Convention-related phone conversation, and write another lectionary meditation for Forward Movement (six down now, 23 to go). In the evening, we went to nearby St Michael's, O'Fallon for Evening Prayer, a light supper, and conversation with Bishop Elias and Lucy. They were most gracious hosts and it was a wonderful occasion. 


Long treadmill workout to start the day. Morning Prayer in the cathedral, around 0930. Sat with my notes on the readings for Proper 18, when I will preach at my DEPO parish in Mississippi, until they yielded a homiletical message statement. It feels like labor and delivery. (OK, not literally, but ...) There are certain ministries one hopes there is never a need for, but it's good to be prepared, just in case. Exorcism is one of these. I took a balcony-level look at some pastoral-liturgical materials, made some notes, and had a pertinent conversation. Opened a sermon prep file on Proper 19 (16 September in Robinson)--said my prayers, took a pass at the readings, made some preliminary notes. Lunch at home. Leftovers. Packed and got organized for three nights away. Left with Brenda at 2:30 for STL. Retrieved Bishop Elias and Lucy Chakupewa from there arduous journey (four flights, more than 24 hours) from Tabora, Tanzania. Checked us all in at the Hilton Garden, O'Fallon


Up quite a bit on the early side--showered, dressed, and with my morning tea by 0700. Read Morning Prayer in my recliner, and, while waiting for some contracted termite assassins to arrive, got to work on the project that would punctuate my day, but not be completed until mid-evening back at home: plotting my sermon prep for September through November. I do this sort of thing roughly quarterly, and in involves going through old material and figuring out what can be salvaged and repurposed, and what occasions simply demand a fresh homily. Met briefly with the termite assassins and got them going on their work. Took Brenda to a 0900 doctor's appointment. Did some rapid-response grocery and nutritional supplement shopping. Dropped Brenda and the groceries off at home and continued on to the office for an 1100 appointment with a cathedral parishioner who was keen to discuss immigration issues, and what a response of Christian leadership might look like. She has an admirable heart


While still at home: planned tasks for the week, met with a termite inspector (the news was not good, but expected). Dropped the YFNBmobile off at the dealer for a scheduled maintenance appointment. Hoofed it in the heat down to the office. Made some sense of the detritus on my desk after two weeks away from the office. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Reviewed the draft of the summer edition of the Springfield Current . Edited, refined, printed, and scheduled for posting the working text of my homily for this Sunday (St John's, Albion). With two substantive phone conversations and relatively short email, dealt with a prickly pastoral/administrative situation. Walked back up Second Street to Isringhausen BMW to pick up the vehicle. Since it's four years old and the odometer sits north of 82,000 miles, I took the time to talk with the sales departments about how the numbers shake out for a trade-in and new X3.  Lunch (well on the late side) from KFC, eaten at home. Reg

The Lord's Day (IV Pentecost)

On the road from our Mt Vernon hotel at 8:45, headed east. Arrived at St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel on schedule at 10:00, ahead of their regular 10:30am Sunday Mass. Presided, preached, and confirmed two adult men. I was particularly impressed with the energetic singing of this congregation. There were only about 30 in the room (which, in that building, is comfortably full-ish), but it sounded like more. After a delicious lunch of pulled pork and fried chicken, we were on the road home at 12:30, and arrived at 4:10. After eight nights and days away, home was sweet indeed.

Sermon for Proper 6

St John the Baptist, Mt Carmel -- Mark 4:26-34 , Ezekiel 17:22-24 As I look at my Facebook feed, there’s a quote that I see at least once a week, it seems. It’s attributed to St Teresa of Ávila, and it goes like this: Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours. As I mentioned, it’s a very popular quote, and it’s not difficult to see why. On its face, it just seems to make sense, and it’s quite inspiring; it makes you want to get out into the world and do some good in the Name of Jesus. So it’s with some trepidation that I’m going to take the opportunity this morning to be the skunk at the garden party, the curmudgeon everybody wishes would keep quiet. I’m go

Saturday (Joseph Butler)

Wrapped up the St Michael's Youth Conference with a votive Mass for St Michael & All Angels this morning at 1030. Then Lady Brenda and I enjoyed lunch at Ruby Tuesday in Fairview Heights, followed by a pit stop at Cold Stone in O'Fallon/Shiloh before continuing east on I-64 to the Hampton Inn in Mt Vernon. Checked in, got settled, then took in the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise (Solo) at a nearby cineplex. Dinner at Cracker Barrel (when in the country, do what the country folk do). Off to Mt Carmel in the morning.

Friday (Evelyn Underhill)

Final full day of the 2018 St Michael's Youth Conference. After Morning Prayer, four instruction sessions, and Mass, our afternoon rec time consisted of a pool party and dinner at the home of a parishioner. The evening was capped off by a rather precious time of sharing around a campfire. This thing were are doing is profoundly touching young lives and forming disciples of Jesus. I could not be more grateful for it. Our closing Mass is tomorrow at 10:30. All are welcome.

Thursday (St Basil)

Fourth full day of the St Michael's Youth Conference in O'Fallon. The theme of this year's conference is "Called, Consecrated, & Commissioned." Threatening weather conditions prevented our planned miniature golf outing this evening, so we called an audible and watched the movie "All Saints." It could not have hit the sweet spot of our theme more solidly.


Day Three of the 2018 Springfield St Michael's Youth Conference. Same routine: a full round of worship, morning instructional periods, afternoon recreation and community-building. Today the kids helped with the Feed My Lambs service project, assembling lunches to be delivered in low-income neighborhoods. In the evening, they went to a ballgame at Busch Stadium. Brenda and I opted out, because ... you know, not the Cubs, so ... meh.


Second full day of St Michael's Conference. It's a great group of kids. They're getting along with one another, attentive in an exemplary way during instruction, and engaged with worship. It's a demanding load, with Morning Prayer, Mass, and Evensong every day, plus four 40-minute teaching sessions. Afternoons and evenings are for recreation and community building. This afternoon they went to a science museum in St Louis. 

St Barnabas

First full day of the fourth annual Diocese of Springfield St Michael's Youth Conference, held, appropriately enough, at St Michael's Church in O'Fallon. It was a full agenda of worship, instruction, meals, fellowship, and fun. We had a Solemn Mass before lunch and Solemn Evensong after a bowling outing to mark the major feast day. I'm really proud and grateful to be part of this important work.

The Lord's Day (Proper 5)

Up and out with Brenda at 0715, headed south. Arrived at St Michael's, O'Fallon in time to preside, preach, and confirm at the regular 0930 liturgy. I looked out over a sea of red shirts in the congregation, ostensibly to coordinate with the red vestments used to mark confirmation, but since most of them also featured a bird and a baseball bat, there was the added benefit of taunting the bishop. Is that a venial or a mortal sin? After enjoying a post-liturgical potluck repast, we hung out in the comfort of Fr Wetmore's office for a while, then wandered over to the Hilton Garden to check in. Here for six nights, as part of the team for the St Michael's Youth Conference. We drove back to the church at 5:00 to greet the Michaelites, offer Evening Prayer together, have dinner, and do the usual sort of ice-breaking activities. It's going to be a great week.

Sermon for Proper 5

St Michael's, O'Fallon -- Mark 4:20-35 , II Corinthians 4:13-18, Genesis 3:1-21 I guess you could say that anyone who wears the sort of funny collar that Fr Ian and I both wear has a professional interest, a built-in curiosity, about how people out in the world think and feel about what we do, about the institutions and the beliefs and practices that our daily working lives are soaked in. We tend to notice when people say things, or put stuff on the internet, that have to do with what we might call questions of “ultimate meaning”—Who am I? Why am I here? How am I supposed to be behaving? What happens when I die? —those sorts of things. We are especially curious when the people making these statements or asking these questions do not share our commitment to Christian faith. I have to tell you, my friends, it’s bleak out there. Just read comments on any online article that has anything to do with anything Christian—not the actual article so much, but the comments. You will see

Saturday (St Columba)

A day of ministry-related chores and personal chores intertwined. Read and responded to an Ember Day letter. Refined and printed my homily for tomorrow. Dealt by email with some complicated administrative/pastoral issues in three parishes. Did three loads of laundry. Paid June bills. Walked. Packed for seven nights away from home.


A day of travel: Caught the 0900 ferry from Mackinac Island to Mackinaw City (a 16=minute voyage in a brisk 55 degrees as we sat on the upper deck), retrieved our luggage and our vehicle, then headed home. But for some frustrating construction and traffic delays that cost us about an hour of travel time, it was smooth, grateful to be home safely.


Our final day on Mackinac Island with our Class of 2011 bishops and spouses annual continuing ed meeting. It's about 25 degrees cooler here than in central Illinois, which makes it feel not quite like summer. But it's otherwise beautiful. We had a productive working morning and enjoyed a carriage tour (private motor vehicles not permitted) of the island in the afternoon. During some down time before dinner I managed to whip out another daily office devotional meditation for November 5, 2019 (part of a month-long assignment from Forward Day by Day).


Still on Mackinac Island with our Class of 2011 colleague bishops and spouses. It was a working morning, followed by a non-working afternoon. I played nine holes of golf. It's been about eight or nine years since I was last on the links, and probably four or five years before that. So you get the idea about where my abilities lie. I had both right-handed and left-handed clubs available to me, and my claim to fame for the day was that I play ambidextrously throughout. The strategy that emerged was to swing left-handed for my long game and right-handed for my short game. I putted lefty, but that doesn't really matter--I'm an "OK" putter, no better and no worse, from either side. It was great fun, especially the camaraderie with the Bishop of Western Kansas and the Bishop of West Missouri.

Tuesday (St Boniface)

On Mackinac Island, Michigan with the bishops and spouses of the Class of 2011 (bishops elected during 2010), for our annual voluntary continuing education get-together. I do engage serious work, but it's at a relaxed pace, and we have lots of fun. Pastoral ministry, whether at a parish or diocesan level, is a lonely job. There are few, if any, peer relationships on a day-to-day basis. Time like this week is invaluable for mental and spiritual health.


Up and out with Brenda around ten of seven in the morning. Arrived in Mackinaw City, MI about 8.5 hours later. Parked the YFNBmobile and caught the ferry to Mackinac Island. Checked into the Grand Hotel, dressed for dinner (they're old-fashioned that way) and joined our bishops Class of 2011 colleagues and spouses for dinner. The bishops begin our continuing ed time tomorrow. The spouses have other plans.

The Lord's Day (II Pentecost)

Up and out of the Hampton Inn in Alton in time to preside and preach at the regular 0815 liturgy at Trinity Chapel. Spent some time with the folks at coffee hour, then headed down the hill to St Paul's and their 1015 Mass, where we baptized a lovely 8-year old named Daytona, confirmed two youth, received three adults, blessed two young boys on the day of their first Holy Communion, and offered prays for a youth about the depart as part of the team going on a medical mission in Nigeria. After a bit of down time at the fast-food seafood restaurant, it was back to St Paul's for their monthly PAWS (Pets Are Welcome Service). There were about 15 dogs and 25 humans in attendance. Here I am with 14-month old Lily. Growing girl. Home around 4:30. The main business of the evening was to pack for four nights on Mackinac Island, MI with the Class 0f 2011 bishops and spouses. It's our annual continuing education gathering, but we work some fun in as well. Leaving early tomorrow morning

Sermon for Proper 4

Alton Parish -- Mark 2:23--3:6 , Deuteronomy 5:12-15 I heard a story on the radio a couple of weeks ago about various “what if” thought experiments. What if some particular historical event had not happened? How might that have changed things for us today? Or, what if something that might have happened, but didn’t, had actually happened? The one that caught my interest was, “What if football had remained boring like it was in the 1890s?” Which is to say, what if the forward pass had never been invented and football was 100% a ground game? The guy on the radio speculated that football would have died out, and never become the economic powerhouse and cultural force that the NFL and Division I college football are today. How would that make life different for us? Maybe, he said, we’d have more time for things like … going to church on Sundays. I immediately thought, “Really?!! That’s what you come up with? Football is the reason church attendance has fallen like a lead weight in a deep

Saturday (Martyrs of Lyons)

Up and out as on a regular weekday. At the office by 0830. Prepared to preside and preach at the Cursillo team Mass at 10. Prepared readings, arranged liturgical space, conferred with musicians. Morning Prayer in the office. Attended the beginning of the Commission on Ministry Meeting, giving the members a thumbnail sketch of their three interviewees. Celebrated the Mass, commemorating the Martyrs of Lyons. Rejoined the COM meeting, in progress. We were finished around 1:00. I battened down the hatches on the diocesan office and headed home, stopping for a pizza at Pie's the Limit. Ate my lunch at home, then packed for an overnight and headed south, solo, at 3:00. Met at 4:30 with tomorrow's candidates for baptism, confirmation, reception, and first communion. It was a good-sized group. Spent about an hour with them. Dinner with the Mission Leadership Team of Alton Parish. Good food and good fellowship, but they didn't shy away from posing some pertinent, non-softb

Friday (St Justin Martyr)

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Responded with relative brevity to a short stack of accumulated emails. Responded more substantively for a request for pastoral advice from a young free-church evangelical pastor who is a "friend" of Anglicanism (and gets the advantage of having me as his bishop without the obligation of obedience!). Made yet some more progress on that nascent Christian Formation project I mentioned yesterday. Closely read the three resolutions that the Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music is presenting to General Convention. Stepped out to take Brenda to an appointment. Lunch from Wing Stop, eaten at home. Wrote an online positive review of the lawyer who handled our recent real estate transactions in Chicago. Because he asked, and I'm such a nice guy. Met with an individual in the ordination discernment process. Routine scanning, categorizing, and tagging of accumulated hard-copy detritus. Prayed the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary.  E