Showing posts from July, 2018


My body got me up at a pretty indecent hour, but whatever extra time that may have afforded me got consumed by trying to configure a new iPad I bought yesterday. It was time. Anyway, on the road in time to get to St John's, Decatur by 0930, where it was my privilege to preside at the funeral mass for Fr Bill Toland, who was long retired and infirm by the time I arrived in the diocese. Back in Springfield in time for a lunch of leftovers at home. Then, to the bank to by some euros before, finally, heading to the office. Took care of various odds and ends. Dashed off another lectionary meditation for Forward Day by Day (to appear of November 2019). Drew the drapes and shut the door as a left around 3:30. Tomorrow Brenda and I head to Budapest for a week-long river cruise on the Danube. Then I'm home on "staycation" until 21 August. See you back in this venue then.

Tuesday (William White)

Task planning at home over breakfast. Rough-processed the hard-copy pile on my desk after two weeks away. Listened to voicemail. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Conferred with the Archdeacon on a range of issues. Spoke by phone with Fr Swan about the details of Fr Bill Toland's funeral tomorrow. Did some personal prep for the scheduled afternoon meeting of the Finance Department. Spent the rest of the morning working through a long list of tasks that were all generated by incoming emails over the last several days. None of the overly onerous or inordinately time-consuming, and none of urgent importance, but all of them important to the person who sent the email, and with whom I have a responsibility to keep faith. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten at home. Book air travel, hotel, and car rental for a conference I'm attending in Dallas in September. Attended and participated in the regular July meeting of the Finance Department. The agenda at this meeting is always to tak

The Lord's Day (VIII Pentecost)

Still recovering from the trauma of 12 days away at hard labor, we took things a little easy today, and just participated as part of the congregation at the 1030 Mass at the cathedral. It was balm to the soul. After a nice lunch out with Brenda, I spent most of the remainder of the day working on this pastoral letter  to the diocese.


A day of travel, and getting reacquainted with our home, sweet home. Left the Hampton Inn in downtown Austin at the humane hour of 0830, ahead of a 1041 departure. There was a short hop to Dallas, a short layover, and a longer leg to Springfield that touched down just past 2:30. We got home, got ourselves fed, unpacked, and just lounged around, because ... it's been a while. Monitored Facebook and Twitter for continued General Convention detritus. 


It's over. And sooner than expected. While I was at lunch with some bishop colleagues, we learned that the House of Deputies had adjourned. When the HOB came back to order at 2:30, we had exactly one substantive resolution to concur with, and then the Committee of Dispatch informed the Presiding Bishop that we had completed our legislative agenda, and we adjourned before 2:45. This is the earliest adjournment I can remember from my six General Conventions. There's lot that can be and needs to be written about this 78th such event, and I will have more to say over the weekend. For now, I'l simply observe that we try to do way too much, and therefore probably don't do a lot of it very well. As the HOB was flying fast and low this morning, I had about ten seconds to look at a resolution before being asked to vote on it. Yes, I could have done in advance, but ... in the name of all that is real ... when? So much of what we are asked to do is utterly unnecessary to the good


We're headin' to the barn, and the horses can small the hay, oats, and sugar cubes. As always, see here for an issues-oriented perspective. No more committee work. The legislative session began at 0900. The House of Bishops quickly burned through the handful of resolutions that were on the calendar--at this point mostly requests to concur with actions taken by the Deputies--and then we were just plain out of work, from underemployed to unemployed. Strangest thing I've ever had happen at General Convention. After a bit, at the request of one of the bishops, we went into executive session. This was not to cover up a conflict or anything like that, and it was completely unrelated to any General Convention business. It was a time of personal sharing and prayer.  We broke for lunch about a half-hour early. I grabbed a quick couple of tacos and then headed up to the JWMarriott for another Communion Partner bishops strategy session. We're working on an "Austin State

Wednesday (St Benedict)

See here for a substantive account of the day's goings-on. Yet another 0730 committee meeting, but we finished all our work for the entire convention at 0830, so there was time for a leisurely breakfast before reporting to the floor of the House of Bishops at 1030 to continue encasing the ground product of legislative sausage-making. This went on until around 12:40. Brenda was off with some bishops' spouses, so I grabbed a quick burrito bowl in the Exhibit Hall foot court before heading up to the JWMarriott for another strategy session with my Communion Partner bishops colleagues. At 2:15 we gathered on last time in joint session, this time to hear the budget presentation by the joint committee on Program, Budget, & Finance (PB&F). There was time for a few questions--and there are some real detail wonks among us--before there was a break so the bishops could be kicked out to go to their own room. We continued in legislative session until 5:00. The chief accomplis


0730-1000, committee meeting. See here for an account of a couple of things we did. 1030-1200, joint session for a "conversation" (series of TED-like talks followed by table conversation), this time on the Care of Creation. I found it interesting that one of the speakers, the Archbishop of Capetown, named the male-female binary as "part of creation." This is, of course, an essential piece in the narrative of those who hold the Church's received teaching on marriage, so I don't suspect that the remark was universally appreciated. Longer than usual lunch break (until 2:15), which the Communion Partner bishops took advantage of for a caucusing session. 2:15-5:00, legislative session. See the link above for the details. From 5:15-6:00 I attended another CP caucus, this time with both Bishops and Deputies. We unpacked what the Bishops did on Prayer Book revision and talked a bit about the status of B012, which hasn't hit the HOB agenda yet. 6:30-9:30,


Another "day at the office." Committee meeting from 0730-1000. I can't take very much more of getting to work this early. Today was spiced up by a torrential downpour right when we needed to start walking over the the Hilton. So I called an Uber, and arrived in the meeting somewhat drier than many of the committee members. Legislative session 1030--1245, which keeping an eye on Twitter for news of the HOD's consideration of B012. ( See here for more of the details.) We plowed through a legislative calendar that was relatively mundane and non-controversial. To my dismay, there was an item on the consent calendar (so, no debate, and several resolutions bundled together) that demanded "full reproductive care" be covered in all employee healthcare plans (read: contraception and abortion). With embarrassment for my church, I voted No. Brenda and I grabbed some Mexican for lunch at Uncle Julio's. Back to legislative session from 2:15-5:00. The last hour

The Lord's Day (VII Pentecost)

The schedule today offered an opportunity to catch up on needed rest and regroup, mentally and emotionally. There were also opportunities to do other important things, but they were not immediately related to the work of convention. So the Springfield deputation gathered at the leisurely hour of 0830 for a simple Eucharist on the veranda of the Hampton Inn. It was actually quite lovely, as we watched and heard the world go on by, and some of it watched and heard us. Brenda and I took took advantage of the respite from work to have a long walk along the Colorado River on a very warm but beautiful late morning, and lunch at a restaurant that advertises its "world famous" fried chicken. It was good. The convention business of the day consisted of a legislative session from 3:15-7:00. In the HOB, we got through our calendar early, so I caught the last half-hour or so of debate among the Deputies. See here for my reflections on what they were debating. Out deputation enjoyed


About the only encouraging thing I can say is that, a week from tonight, we'll be unpacking our bags at home!  Another ungodly start time--7:30 committee meeting, which went 2.5 hours. The big kahuna on our agenda was to get a resolution to the floor on what to do with the liturgical calendar, and we accomplished that. The result is rather minimalist--excising from the Prayer Book all lesser feasts in that category Days of Option Observance, sending them to the SCLM with instructions to formulate a single, non-tiered calendar of commemorations, all with the same ancillary resources (which can be any, none, or all of readings, collects, and biographies) in a proposed 2021 Lesser Feasts & Fasts. This will raise eyebrows. We'll see how it plays.  Regular legislative session from 10:30-1:00, interrupted several times to welcome various groups of visitors, the most moving of which was the family of a young lady killed in the Ash Wednesday shooting spree in Parkland, Florida.


Committee meetings 7:30-10:00 Joint session on racial reconciliation in HOD chamber from 10:30-12:00. Lunch bowls with Brenda at P.F. Chang's. Committee work from 1:15-3:00. See here for some of what went on. Legislative session from 3:30-5:30. There was a bit of drama, as the Bishop of Honduras rose on a point of personal privilege and berated the convention for its lack of hospitality toward those who don't speak English. He's had a particularly harrowing experience in a committee yesterday when people from Province IX wanted to testify, but there was no translator available. When the only response was to delay consideration of the text that was in front of us (a response to the #MeToo event from a couple of days ago) until it could be translated, Bishop Allen became a pit bull and said, in effect, "No business as usual until we address my concerns." The Presiding Bishop quickly appointed a small committee to step out and come back with a way forward. As i


This is really grueling. We've been at this barely 48 hours and I already feel tired at a cellular level. The day began with a legislative session at 0800. Nothing substantive, just organizing formalities. It included a roll call of all living bishops, the majority of whom were not there, being long retired and of advanced age. Still, I found it moving to here their names. It brought to mind an interesting array of memory detritus from my 45 years in the Episcopal Church. We broke at 0900 for a 0930 Eucharist. In keeping with my established practice, and as a matter of self-care, I absented myself and repaired to my hotel room to process emails and bank out this reflection on one of the big issues at this convention. At 11:15, until 1:15, it was back to committee rooms. Committee 12 heard testimony on resolutions to ... add "care of creation" to the Baptismal Covenant (my take: bad idea) allow access to and use of liturgical forms authorized  by any province of the


The grind has begun, and it's still in the "gentle" phase. My morning began (and continued ... and ended) with a meeting of Committee 12: Prayer Book, Liturgy, & Music. We heard testimony (mostly on the resolution to include the Dorchester Chaplains in Lesser Feasts & Fasts), talked amongst ourselves in plenary, and worked in subcommittees. I found myself (no surprise) taking a fairly active role in the consideration of what to do with the sanctoral calendar. ( See here for more substantive observations .) After a fairly brief time to grab some lunch (which Brenda and I did in the exhibit hall concession area), the Bishops and Deputies gathered in the House of Deputies chamber to hear homily-like non-homilies from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies, followed by actual non-homilies from the Secretary of the General Convention Office, the Bishop of Texas, and the President of the Episcopal Church Women. We then gathered in our res


Today's report from General Convention is over at my classic blog.

The Lord's Day (VI Pentecost)

With a portion of the 45 souls with whom I celebrated the Holy Mysteries at Redeemer, Cairo this morning. When I came to the diocese 7.5 years ago, Redeemer was down to *one* member, and she was 85! So, yeah, this is a story I like to tell. Three adults confirmations, and three receptions. A very sweet community, which includes the new police chief of Cairo, who is makes progress turning it into a safer place. It was an exhilarating visit.

Sermon for Proper 8

Redeemer, Cairo -- Mark 5:22-24, 35b-43 Most of us like to think of ourselves as independent, as self-reliant. But we live in a very complex world, so we’re fooling ourselves, I’d say, if we think so. Every day, we trust ourselves to professionals to do things for us that, in simpler times, people may have done for themselves, or had a family member do it for them—I’m talking about barbers and bankers, mechanics and manicurists, physicians and farmers, attorneys and architects, gardeners and garbage collectors. We depend on them, we trust them to come through for us, to perform the service that they’re supposed to perform. Sometimes relatively little is at stake—a bad haircut can eventually be fixed, because, you know, hair grows! At other times, a great deal is at stake. I once read about a kidney transplant patient who was all prepped and on the operating table, but when the surgical team opened the container that was supposed to have the donated kidney in it, there was a heart th