Showing posts from September, 2018

Thursday (St Vincent de Paul)

Back to Austin (Texas) today with Brenda for a family wedding. Going dark in this venue until Tuesday.

Wednesday (Lancelot Andrewes)

In addition to the still-daunting (but gradually shrinking) task of settling into a new abode, I invested some significant time and energy toward developing the liturgy program for the synod Mass, and responding to the usual daily flow of emails. Some semblance of normalcy is in sight.

Tuesday (St Sergius)

Gradually transitioning into the new routine. Prayed both the morning and evening offices in my living room, hitting both for the first time since the moving disruption began. Still pretty much in settling mode (today's milestone was that we are now out of all boxes that don't have books in them). I did, however, manage to process of few ministry-related emails and attend to some small administrative tasks. 

The Lord's Day (XVIII Pentecost)

Up and out of the Hampton Inn in time to attend the 10:00 liturgy at St Luke's in Dallas (this upon the recommendation of the Bishop of Dallas). As it turned out, my colleague the Suffragan Bishop of the Arctic was the preacher. Afterward, he and I went out to lunch with the Priest-in-Charge, Fr Mark Anderson, and his wife, Mary. (in the small world department, Mary is from Lodi, CA, which is where Brenda lived when I met her, and where we were married, and just up the road from Stockton, where I served as rector for 13 years). It was a delightful time. I then headed to DFW, where I arrived well ahead of my scheduled 4:20 departure to Chicago. All went normally, and I arrived "home" (I still have to put it in quotes because it feels so strange) around 8:45. Lots and lots to do still by way of getting settled.

Saturday (Philander Chase)

Last day of the RADVO conference in Dallas. The morning keynoter was N.T. Wright, sometime bishop of Durham, eminent biblical scholar, and widely published author, both in academic and more popular circles. His assigned topic was simply “the sacraments,” and he did a magisterial job of teasing out a coherent sacramental theology from, of all places, the passage in Numbers about the spies Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land. It was an exhilarating talk. This was followed by a panel discussion on the general subject of ministry, and was staffed by many of the luminaries who had been presenters at the conference. Finally, we concluded with a grand (the organ and choral music at Incarnation is particularly ... grand) celebration of the Eucharist, at which the Bishop of Honduran presided and the Bishop of Tennessee preached. After grabbing a taco lunch near my hotel, I spent the afternoon answering emails and taking care of other items of both personal and professional business. Dinner

St Matthew

Back at the Radical Vocations (RADVO) conference, a Communion Partners-sponsored event at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas. Mass for the feast day in a “chapel” that is larger than any of the churches in the Diocese of Springfield. The morning keynoter was the Revd Dr Oliver O’Donovan, who spoke on the task, art, and craft of preaching, Breakout groups followed, but I found myself so waylaid by people whom I know in real life, people who I had previously known only in cyberspace, and people whom I had never met before, that I never made it to any of them. I broke away around 1140 to head to the Lakewood Country Club, where the Communion Partner bishops and a handful of rectors, had a private lunch with the Archbishop of Canterbury. I think I can safely characterize it as positive and productive as we head toward the next Lambeth Conference in 2020. Then back to Incarnation and more impromptu meetings until evensong at 5:00, followed by a dinner at which the bishops were asked to

Thursday (John Coleridge Patteson)

Up and out of the Hampton Inn in downtown Dallas in time for an 0830 breakfast with the other Communion Partner bishops, including our “Gracious Restraint” Canadian colleagues. It was a time of sharing and planning ahead of tomorrow’s luncheon meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury. We concluded around 1030. I spent the middle part of the day back in my room with emails, phone calls, and other assorted small tasks. At 4pm, up to the Church of the Incarnation for conference registration, and vesting with other bishops, as we were invited to enter in procession for solemn choral evensong. The service was elegantly rendered in the finest Anglican tradition. The Presiding Bishop was the officiant and the Archbishop of Canterbury preached. There followed the opening lecture of the conference, delivered (to a still packed huge church) by Dr Stanley Hauerwas, retired of Duke Divinity School, a widely-published author and highly-sought after speaker. I concluded the evening with some Texas

Wednesday (St Theodore of Tarsus)

A day of travel and getting caught up on stuff not related to moving. Caught a Lyft at 0345 for a 0515 departure from O’Hare to Dallas. Why so early? Long story, and I don’t have the energy to tell it at the moment. Anyway, I was checked in at the Hampton Inn in downtown Dallas a little past 0900. Walked to a nearby spot for some breakfast, then back to my room for a shower and a couple of hours of sleep. Then it was on to a thick stack of emails, phone calls, and related tasks. It’s a series of minor screw-ups that got me here so long in advance of the conference that doesn’t begin even informally until tomorrow morning and formally tomorrow evening. But the time was well-spent. If I had stayed home longer, I would only have been unpacking boxes. Real life goes on, and today I was forced to attend to it.

The Lord's Day (XVII Pentecost)

If you read my last post, you know why I've been absent from this space for a few days--moving. Our worldly possessions--many more than we actually need, apparently--are now shoehorned into a 1500 square food Chicago apartment. Cardboard boxes and wrapping paper are strewn everywhere. The bedroom and the master bath are essentially in working order, and the living room is habitable. The kitchen is far from such a state. But all will be well. In the meantime, real life goes on. Yesterday evening, just a few hours after the last item was unloaded from the truck, Brenda and I drove down to Effingham for the night, then on to St Mary's, Robinson for a scheduled visitation. They are a small community, but immensely devoted to the Lord and to one another. It was a joy to celebrate the Eucharist with them. We headed back north after the coffee hour, and arrived in our north side neighborhood right around 3:00 pm. This will take some getting used to.

Sermon for Proper 19

St Mary's, Robinson -- Mark 8:27-38 Many, perhaps most, people in the world spend most of their time trying to get their immediate physical and emotional needs met—water, food, shelter, somebody to love and be loved by. A lot of us, though, have the luxury of turning our attention to what might be called the “big questions”—Why am I here? Why is the world the way it is? Why is there so much suffering? What does it all mean? What am I supposed to be doing or not doing? And when this life comes to an end, what, if anything, happens next? Now, I’m going to assume that virtually all of us who are in this room this morning, and virtually everybody in the churches I visit from one Sunday to the next, do pretty much have their immediate physical and emotional needs satisfied. Sure, all of us do suffer, if not right now, then in the past and in the future. But precisely because our immediate physical and emotional needs are usually met, we assume that, in our quest for answers to the


It's time to share some personal news. Brenda and I are in the process of moving ,,, this very week, in fact. We are going to make a home in an apartment in the three-flat building that we bought with two of our children earlier this year. The reason has to do with some health and family issues that I will not give the details on in this platform. Suffice it to say that it is a prudent and well thought-through decision, and I have the sympathetic concurrence of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Springfield in making it. The plan is that I will "telecommute" most weekdays, consolidate appointments and meetings on Fridays and Saturdays, when I will be in the office in Springfield, make my Sunday parish visitation, and return to Chicago on Sunday afternoons. It will be a challenge, but I am expected it to work.  So, our household is in full-on moving mode, which affects my daily activities in a major way. Nonetheless, I did spend some time in the office today, polis

The Lord's Day (XVI Pentecost)

Back now from another luminous visitation to my DEPO parish--Trinity in Yazoo City, MS. What an utterly gracious group of people and an engaged Christian community. They truly "own" their position on the edge of the Mississippi delta, with all the suffering and dysfunction that has plagued that region. They are *in the neighborhood.* I am blessed to be their delegated pastor. Preached and presided in the church between breakfast and lunch in the parish hall. After Mass, we hit the road and braved I-55 all the way home, arriving at 9:30.

Sermon for Proper 18

Trinity, Yazoo City, MS -- Mark 7:31-27 Most of you are familiar, I suspect, with a text from St Matthew’s gospel that has come to be known as the Great Commission. Jesus has gathered his followers on a mountaintop in Galilee some days after his resurrection, and he tells them, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” These were the marching orders of the infant church, and they continue to be our marching orders two thousand years later. We talk a lot about evangelism these days in the Episcopal Church, which is a good thing, because, not too long ago, we didn’t even like talking about it. That’s a baby step in the right direction. But we’re still not very good about actually doing it. And it’s more difficult at this moment in time, in our culture, than it has ever been since Jesus gave the Great Commission. When many of us were young,

Saturday (Nativity of the BVM)

Spent most of the day with Fr George Woodliff, rector of Trinity, Yazoo City, and his wife, Jill. They drove us down to Jackson to take in the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, which is ... powerful. Seeing an actual KKK robe in a display case was chilling, making me feel like I was seeing Evil itself on display. The evening was spent having dinner and conversation with Trinity's vestry.


Breakfast with the Jenkins in picturesque St Francisville, LA. Then on the road (U.S. 61) north to Yazoo City. We stopped for lunch in historic Vicksburg, and then took part of a self-guided walking tour of the downtown area. One of the stops was Christ Church, which, the sign said, held services every day during the siege by federal forces during the Civil War. Eventually, we arrived and got settled in at the Hampton Inn in Yazoo. 


A day of travel, driving (sometimes through intense rainstorms, courtesy of tropical storm Gordon) from Memphis, TN to St Francisville, LA. Enjoying some life-giving reconnecting with old friends Bishop Charles and Louise Jenkins. Tomorrow, back north a bit to Yazoo City, MS.


Writing tonight from a hotel room in Memphis, to which Brenda and I drove today, Our eventual destination is Yazoo City, MS, where I have a DEPO visitation at Trinity Church this weekend. But we're expanding the trip to swing down to St Francisville, LA and spend a night with our old friends Bishop Charles and Louise Jenkins. Bishop Jenkins was the rector to called me to be his curate at St Luke's, Baton Rouge in 1989 when I was first ordained.


Usual weekday AM routine. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Did just a smidgen of work on my next-due post for the Covenant blog. Edited, refined, printed, and scheduled for posting my homily for this Sunday (Trinity, Yazoo City, MS). Dealt with an administrative issue pertaining to one of our closed parishes, the building of which we yet need to deconsecrate. Attended to some liturgy prep for next month's annual diocesan synod. Moved the ball down the field on prep for the November clergy conference. Lunch from La Bamba, eaten at home. Devoted a substantial chunk of time, thought, conversation, and prayer to a particularly vexing issues in one of our Eucharistic Communities. This concluded with a sent email that may or may not have contributed to a resolution. Another session of synod liturgy prep. Another session of clergy conference prep. Worked on my homily for October 21 (celebrating St Luke's Day at St Luke's, Springfield), reviewing my exegetical notes and

The Lord's Day (XV Pentecost)

Up and out of our hotel room in Litchfield in time to arrive at St Andrew’s, Edwardsville at 0830, ahead of their regular 0900 Sunday liturgy (summer schedule). Preached and presided at the Holy Mysteries with these fine folks. They are holding up well during a pastoral hiatus that looks like it may be winding down.

Sermon for Proper 17

St Andrew's, Edwardsville -- Deuteronomy 4:1-9, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 Our common story as the Christian people is, of course, rooted in the story of our spiritual forebears, the Jews, the people of Israel. Our first reading this morning, from Deuteronomy, has Israel on the east bank of the Jordan River, getting ready to make the crossing into the land that God had promised to them. Their leader, Moses, knows he is about to die, and will not be making the crossing with them. What we heard this morning is a section of what was possibly the most important speech, the most critical pep-talk, of his entire life. Up until that point, the Hebrew people had been a nation without a land, a people without a piece of real estate that they could call their own. For more than an entire generation, they had been nomads, living in tents, always on the move. Before that, they were slaves. Now everything was about to change. They were going in to take possession of the Promised Land. They need

Saturday (David Pendleton Oakerhater)

Caught up on a short stack of ministry-related emails during part of the afternoon, but the day was mostly devoted to household errands and projects, plus a long walk. Culled closets and took a sizeable load of seldom or never worn clothing to Goodwill. Then, after dinner, packed for an overnight and headed south as far as Litchfield. This puts us about halfway to tomorrow’s destination of St Andrew’s, Edwardsville.