Showing posts from October, 2018


Usual weekday early AM routine: email culling, internet surfing, task planning, breakfast, Morning Prayer. Relatively short (as these things go) conversation with Comcast over a lingering move-in issue. Longer tech support conversation with Quicken. Developed my working notes for Session 4 of the clergy conference. Takeout lunch from the not-too-bad Chinese place around the corner. Stepped out to pick up some dry cleaning. Got back and found the cable guy there early. Assisted him (with stuff like basement access and a step stool) while he took care of some dangling loose ends from the original not-too-great installation. Performed reconstructive surgery on a sermon text from 1997 on Proper 28 (Nov. 18 at All Saints, Morton), making it time-sensitive to 2018. Made a run across the street to Walgreens for some trick-or-treat candy. Turned out not be be necessary, as we had no takers. Took a long and brisk walk on a fine fall day. Evening Prayer. Fixed dinner ("comfort fo


The day got started in an orderly manner, and then descended into technology-driven chaos. In the morning, I had a significant phone conversation with a priest of the diocese, followed up on some issues by email, outlined another session of the clergy conference, and worked on my sermon for Proper 27 (November 11 at St Barnabas', Havana). So for, so good. Grabbed some lunch to bring home from the taqueria around the corner, and enjoyed some time with our son and granddaughter. Then I head by train down to the Apple store. My 2012 Macbook has been showing various signs of aging lately, and 6+ years seems a respectable lifetime for a computer, and since my laptop is pretty much the means for me to both *do* and *be* in my daily work, I discerned that the time had come. Actually going out and making the purchase and getting home with it consumed well less than two hours. But the rest of the afternoon and evening was devoted to setup. There haven't been any huge issues, but it just

The Lord's Day (XXIII Pentecost)

Up and out of the Bloomington Doubletree while it was still dark and rainy in order be at St Matthew's ahead of their regular 0730 liturgy. Presided, preached ... and baptized, which doesn't normally happen at the early service, in places that *have* an early service. What a joy. Then Brenda and I stepped out for some breakfast. Then, ten minutes before the 1000 Mass, we discovered we were doing yet another baptism--the candidate is seven years old, very much wanted to be baptized, had the support of her grandparents, with only the parents, not practicing Christians, standing in the way. Today, they relented, and we welcomed Tinley into the household of God. No matter how many times I do it, that moment of looking into someone's eyes and telling them that they are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ's own forever never gets old. It was a happy morning. Lunch at Red Lobster with the rector, the deacon, and a couple of parishioners, then back up I-55

Sermon for Proper 24

St Matthew's, Bloomington --Hebrews 5:12-6:1, 9-12; Mark 10:46-52 I'm going to begin my sermon with a question—actually, several questions, rhetorical questions, questions that I don't expect you to answer to me, but to think about seriously. What is your greatest temptation to sin? If it met you with full force this afternoon, what would be your resources to resist it? If someone asked you to explain why the doctrine of the Trinity is so important, could you?  If a bible-believing neighbor pointed out to you where Jesus said, "Call no man 'father’” and called you to account for the way male priests are customarily addressed in the church, what would be your response? What do you think of the statement that religion is just a matter of personal taste and upbringing, because they all eventually lead to the same God?  Is regular prayer one of the central habits of your life?  If you were to be diagnosed with terminal cancer tomorrow, would your faith in


Morning Prayer in my living room chair. Edited, refined, printed, and posted my homily for tomorrow at St Matthew’s, Bloomington. Attended to personal chores and errands until mid-afternoon, when I made preparations for the second session of next month’s clergy retreat. Packed and hit the road southbound with Brenda at 6:00pm, stopping someplace south of I-80 for some yummy burrito bowls, arriving at the Bloomington Doubletree at 9:15.

Friday (St Alfred the Great)

Task planning and Morning Prayer in my living room chair. Put some effort into solving a tech glitch that has annoyed me for several days--the email client I use wasn't downloading messages sent to my diocesan account (I've still been getting them, but by logging in directly to Outlook on Office 365). Of course, as soon as I gave up and generated a service ticket, everything started behaving as it's supposed to. That's the way it goes. Chased down some information pertaining to an ongoing pastoral/administrative concern. Got this accomplished by email and turning my laptop sideways to read a PDF. Got down to detailed planning of the Monday evening session of the upcoming clergy conference. Interestingly, this caused me to spend quality time with the 1928 and 1662 Prayer Books, as well as the Anglican Missal. Lunch from leftovers. Finished the aforementioned clergy conference task, then plowed right ahead into plotting the liturgy details for said conference. Juggl


Up, packed, fed, and out of the Doubletree in the Riverplace section of Jacksonville around 0845. Rode the interesting elevated transit system (well-built, and free, but not very extensive) across the river to downtown, then waked about five blocks to St John's Cathedral for the customary Requiem Mass for departed friends and benefactors of the Living Church Foundation at 0930. The members of the foundation then convened across the street in the offices of the Diocese of Florida for the annual meeting of the corporation. We transacted necessary business until breaking for lunch at 12:30. The afternoon session was devoted to a discussion of what transpired at General Convention. I stepped at 3:10 to call a Lyft and head to the airport. Everything went according to schedule and I arrived home at about 7:15.


To St John's, the cathedral of the Diocese of Florida, for 0900 Morning Prayer. Then met with the board (of which I am the secretary) of the Living Church Foundation until 2:30. Availed myself of the rest of the free afternoon for a long and vigorous walk along the south bank of the St John River. Cleaned up, handled a few emails, and reported to a restaurant for the dinner for foundation members. The foundation meeting is tomorrow.

St James of Jerusalem

A few personal chores and errands in the morning, then a day of travel. Left the apartment at 1145 and arrived at O'Hare at 1:00, taking public transit. Caught the 2:05 departure for Jacksonville, FL, where we arrived around 5:15 local time. Took of Lyft with two Living Church Foundation board colleagues for a scheduled 6:00 dinner with board members who were already in the area. It was a luminous time of conversation and camaraderie. Work starts tomorrow.

The Lord's Day (XXII Pentecost)

It was a leisurely start to the day, as the liturgy at St Luke's, Springfield wasn't until 1030. But what a celebration it was. We dedicated a new stained-glass window in memory of a beloved parishioner. A dozen or so family members were there, along with the artist and her husband. There were over 80 in attendance, and there was a wonderful spirit in the room. We confirmed an adult, and I got to preach on an obscure passage from II Timothy (we kept the parish's patronal feast, rather than Proper 24). Brenda and I hit the road at 1:15, and were home in Chicago a crisp 3.5 hours later.

Sermon for St Luke's Day (observed)

St Luke's, Springfield -- II Timothy 4:5-13 Have you ever heard it said about someone that they “love humanity but can’t stand people?” That’s kind of a problem, because we have people all around us, and we interact with them every day. Our lives are filled by daily contact with others. There are exceptions, of course. From time to time we might hear about a genuine recluse—who is usually rich, because it takes money to be reclusive! And we usually label such people as at least “eccentric” if not full-on “crazy.” Even those who live alone have relationships. They may be casual relationships, but even if they’re casual, most everyone has several such casual relationships. Social media—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, and all the others that are out there—social media have only amplified and magnified our connectedness with other people. You don’t even need to leave the house to have a stupid heated argument with a stranger! In the midst of all this social interaction, tho


Down from the Doubletree to the cathedral more or less on time for 0800 Morning Prayer, followed by a breakfast in the Great Hall catered by Bob Evans (whose biscuits & gravy I have come to esteem). Called the synod back into session around 0910. We were adjourned before 1000. Spend the next couple of hours back in my office, clearing some emails and other small items in my do-do list. Also met with Dean Hook for a bit un a substantive (but not synod-related) issue. Back to the Doubletree with Brenda. Rested for a brief while (I felt uncommonly tired), the headed out to the west side for lunch a Popeye's, a movie (Bad Times at the El Royale), and a stop by the old empty home for a brief chore. Returned to the hotel to chip away at more task list items, including lectionary reflection #22 of an eventual 30 for Forward Movement. Drinks and dinner with Brenda with a spectacular view at the Pinnacle Club (30th floor of the Wyndham Hotel).

Friday (Henry Martyn)

Up and out of the Abraham Lincoln Doubletree with Brenda and down to the cathedral-office complex by around 0830. Last minute consultations with the Archdeacon and the Administrator over the soon-to-begin diocesan synod. Attended to some final details pertaining to the synod Mass. Flitted back and forth several times between the office, the cathedral, and the synod venue next door in the other direction. Met with the Standing Committee at 1100 to seek their advice and counsel over a quite serious and immediately looming concern. Stepped out with Brenda for some tacos down at a taco truck on South Grand. Brought the gavel down on synod at 1:30. Recessed around 4:00, having accomplished about 95% of our total agenda. Celebrated and preached the liturgy, keeping the lesser feast of Henry Martyn, who was certainly not "lesser" in his saintly witness. Enjoyed the post-liturgical banquet, and retired back to the Doubletree, where I took about 30 minutes to meet with some fo

Sermon for Diocesan Synod Mass

St Paul's Cathedral, Springfield --Isaiah 49:1-6, I Corinthians 9:16-23, Psalm 98:1-4, John 4:22-26 In some ways, this homily is going to be Part Two of the synod address that I just gave. In the serendipitous grace of the liturgical calendar, today is the lesser feast of Henry Martyn, who has a thing or two to teach us about commitment to and focus on the mission of the gospel. Henry Martyn was born in 1781, which was not exactly a high-water mark in the history of the Church of England. Theology tended to be hazy, faith tended to be lukewarm, and devotion tended to be lax and shallow. Nonetheless, there were glowing embers scattered about, and young Henry came into contact with one of these embers when he went to study at Cambridge—a parish priest of uncommon evangelical zeal by the name of Charles Simeon. As a result of Simeon’s influence, Martyn turned his considerable gifts in both mathematics and the law toward service as a foreign missionary. He was ordained deacon and

St Luke

Morning Prayer in my living room chair. Responded at some length by email to some substantive concerns raised by some MLT members of one of our Eucharistic Communities. Took care of some routine personal financial chores that I have been putting off for several days. Did some major reconstructive surgery on an old sermon text for Proper 25 (a week from Sunday at St Matthew's, Bloomington), making it usable for this go-round. Lunched on leftovers. Wrote #21 of an eventual 30 lectionary meditations for Forward Day by Day.  Performed the same sort of action on a "previously preached" All Saints homily as I had for Proper 25, this one to be delivered at Trinity, Mattoon on November 4. Took a vigorous 6,500 step walk on a fine fall afternoon in Chicago. Attended to some last-minute details pertaining to the synod Eucharist tomorrow afternoon. Spoke by phone in a pastoral capacity with a cleric of the diocese. Got myself and Brenda packed for three days in Springfiel

Wednesday (Ignatius of Antioch)

The principal accomplishments of the day are evidenced by printouts of my synod address, my synod homily, and Sunday's homily (St Luke's, Springfield, keeping the patronal feast) are arrayed on the computer desk in my dining room. Now if I could only find where the paper clips got packed! There was also a brief shopping foray with Brenda in the early afternoon, and an evening spent getting books off the dining room table and onto shelves. Incremental progress continues.

Tuesday (Oxford Martyrs)

If last Tuesday got hijacked by finishing assembling my Ikea wardrobe (the completion of which has dramatically enhanced my quality of life), then today's culprit was the mountain of books that I spend yesterday unpacking and piling up on the dining room table. So today's mantra was sort, organize, and stow. I'd say the task is about 70% done I have a lot of books. I am one of those who finds it difficult to work amid chaos in the regular infrastructure of my life. In the evening, I did manage to install a new ink-jet printer. Again ... infrastructure.

The Lord's Day (XXI Pentecost)

Up and out of my Mt Vernon hotel room in time to head south on I-57 and arrive at St Mark's in West Frankfort ahead of their regular 0900 liturgy. Presided, preached (the obligatory stewardship sermon), and enjoyed a post-liturgical potluck brunch. Then it was up to St James in McLeansboro, where I presided at the final Mass before the congregation closed in 2011. It was finally time to deconsecrate the building, which was in active use for more than 130 years. I was joined in this solemn task by Fr Bill Howard. Immensely sad. Got to our Chicago abode around 5:30.

Sermon for Proper 23

St Mark's, West Frankfort -- Mark 10:17-31,  Genesis 22:1-14, Romans 8:31-39 A mother and father and three children were driving home from church one Sunday. The father complained that the preacher used too many big words in his sermon. The mother complained that the choir sang off key. The oldest child didn’t care about any off-key singing; she just didn’t like any of the songs. All the middle child could say was, “It was borrrrring!” But the youngest child, apparently, was a natural optimist, and also quite observant, at least during the time when the offering plate was passed. He said, “Hey, I don ‘t understand what you all are complaining about. All five of us got in for only three bucks!” Now, the purpose of my telling this story is not to increase the amount that is collected in offerings at St Mark’s today. But I bet you’ll think twice when the plate comes by, right? And maybe feel a little uncomfortable? Hearing talk about money in church makes us feel uncomfortable. An


Morning Prayer in the cathedral.  Organized my to-do list for the day. Drove out to the west side for breakfast at IHOP. Met a locksmith at my former residence on Illini Rod. He removed the piece of the key that I broke off in the front door like when I left four weeks ago. I then followed him to the shop to get a couple new keys cut. Back to the office. Wrote lectionary reflection #20, out of an eventual 30, that will appear in November of next year in Forward Day by Day . Kept an 1100am appointment with layperson for an initial conversation about discernment for ordination. Back to the west side for lunch at Popeye's, followed by a haircut at Sport Clips Processed some email and attended to a stack of chores via email, each of which was fairly small in itself, but added up to something substantial. Headed out on a brisk walk, west to Spring, south to South Grand, east to Eighth Street, north (past the Lincoln home) to Adams, west to Second, and south back to the office.


Sometimes there's a day that just feels like it never gets traction. This was one of them, though I was probably objectively more productive than I felt. I did manage to get the YFNBmobile service (first scheduled maintenance), meet with a real estate agent to get my former home listed for sale, conduct an annual review with the Communications Coordinator, edit and refine my homily for this Sunday, write notes to clergy and spouses with November birthdays and anniversaries, respond to a slew of emails, process items in my physical inbox, consult with the Archdeacon on a range of items, spend some prayer time at the cathedral organ with the Hymnal 1940, pray both daily offices, and write #19 of an eventual 30 lectionary reflections for Forward Movement, and get over 12,00o steps on my Fitbit. So I guess it wasn't as bad as it felt.

Thursday (St Philip the Deacon)

Usual (new) morning routine. Made preliminary arrangements to list our Springfield house for sale. (It hasn’t rented yet.) Spent the balance of the morning drafting my address to synod next week. Lunched on leftovers. Ran some nearby errands (on foot) with Brenda. Scanned and processed accumulated hard copy in my physical inbox. Took my homily for St Luke’s Day (October 21 at St Luke’s, Springfield) from “developed outline” to “rough draft.” Evening Prayer in my living room chair, Cooked and ate Chinese stir fry for dinner, then packed for the weekend and headed south in the YFNBmobile. Arrived in Springfield a few minutes before 11.

Wednesday (St Paulinus of York)

Morning Prayer in my living room. (The future chapel/oratory is still a staging area for other projects). Did some remedial reconfiguring of my dining room computer desk/workspace area. Spoke by phone with a priest of the diocese over an emerging issue. Emailed the president of the Standing Committee over the same emerging issue. Spent the rest of the morning, and part of the afternoon on the three-or-four-times-a-year task of master sermon planning--in this case, from Advent Sunday through the Last Sunday after the Epiphany. This involves looking over material from prior years and deciding which can be shined up for reuse and which occasions demand something entirely fresh, and then accordingly assigning various tasks to various dates. This is time-consuming, but necessary. Stepped out to Subway (about 2.5 blocks away) for a lunchtime sandwich. Took a long and brisk walk on what is probably the last decently warm day of the season. The number of available routes boggles the min

Tuesday (Robert Grosseteste)

Getting settled into the new order of things is a fits-and-starts endeavor. Today was mostly fits. The project of constructing a wardrobe (i.e. the free-standing closet variety) from an Ikea kit has been a black hole for time and energy. The good news is that , as of late this afternoon (and after a third trip to Ikea in Schaumburg) is that the project is complete, and my wardrobe (as in the collection-of-clothing variety) is now appropriately organized and stowed. This breaks a the getting-settled logjam, as now we can focus on getting books out of boxes and onto (presently inadequate) shelves, which will then allow us to unpack the wall art and get some of it hung (we have more than we can use). And so it goes. I did manage to pray both the morning and evening offices, and respond to a few emails. Despite the time-consuming frustrations, I'm going to bed grateful. This was a big hump to get over.

The Lord's Day (XX Pentecost)

Up early enough in my Marion hotel room to get a little Master Sermon Planning (Advent I-Epiphany Last) done before I had to be on the road. Read Morning Prayer in my room, then walked over to Bob Evans for breakfast. Headed west on IL-13 to Harrisburg in time for their regular 1000 liturgy. Confirmed two adults in addition to presiding and preaching. Joined the usual outstanding post-liturgical repast. Pointed the YFNBmobile northward right at noon, arriving home in Chicago at 5:30 (around 350 miles). In general, the first extended weekend of physical presence in the diocese worked quite well.

Sermon for Proper 22

St Stephen's, Harrisburg -- Genesis 2:18-24, Mark 10:2-9 I’ve always been glad I married young, because the whole dating scene just produces so much anxiety. If I were young and single again, I would almost certainly sign up for one of those online matchmaking services. Have you seen those TV commercials? It looks so appealing, I almost wish I could try it! A grandfatherly man with a warm voice and smile gives the sales pitch, while young and beautiful couples go on and on about how they found their perfect soul mate. It looks like it would remove much of the stress and anxiety that I dimly remember from my college years. “It is not good that the man should be alone.” This was the Lord’s “note to self” as he looked at Adam lying there in the dust from which he had been created. So God created a female companion for the man—mysteriously like him in many important ways and at the same time unlike him in some very important ways. This prehistoric account is the seedbed of some of

Saturday (William Tyndale)

Up and out on a long walk by 0720: west on Lawrence to MacArthur, north to Jefferson, east to Ninth, south to Sound Grand, west on Second, and back up to the office after a stop for breakfast at the Sunrise Cafe.  After getting cleaned up and dressed, brief devotions in the cathedral, followed by Morning Prayer in the office. Cranked out another 220-word reflection on a passage from the daily office lectionary for November 2019, #18 of an eventual 30. I'm enjoying spending some quality time with I Maccabees. Cleared my desk of various bits of detritus: signing some, filing others, disposing of most.  Checked in with a group beginning to gather across the alley for a reunion of those attended Episcopal Church Camp of Illinois. Picked up something from the dry cleaners, headed out Clearlake for a burger and frozen custard at Freddy's, then onward eastbound on I-72 through a torrential downpour most of the way to Champaign.  Arrived right on time for a 2:00pm meeting with t


Woke up in my office recliner after a good night's sleep. It worked well. After some personal hygiene, processed some email and planned my day's work. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Debriefed with the Archdeacon on a range of issues. Grabbed some breakfast as McD's. Edited, refined, printed, and scheduled for posting my homily for this Sunday (St Stephen's, Harrisburg). Took a brisk walk in a northwesterly direction, an circled back to the office. Kept an 1100 appointment with an individual in the beginning stages of discerning toward a possible vocation to Holy Orders.  Lunch from Chick-Fil-A, then on to the old homestead in Leland Grove to check on the work of the house cleaners and carpet shampooers. It looked good. Met with a rep from our handyman firm over some possible projects to improve street appeal. Kept a 2:00 appointment with a priest who is not presently *of* the diocese but serves *in* the diocese. Ran a quick personal errand to my eye doctor&

Thursday (St Francis)

Per the still-evolving new routine, Morning Prayer in the living room of our Chicago apartment. Devoted most of the morning to a sermon for St Luke's Day (transferred to October 21 at St Luke's, Springfield), taking it from "message statement" to "developed outline." My text is the line from II Timothy: "Luke alone is with me." There were plans for more ministry-related accomplishments, but they were detailed by a suddenly-discovered snafu in the Ikea wardrobe I've been trying to assemble. This required a trip to Ikea in Schaumburg. By the time I got back, the afternoon was pretty well shot, thought I did make a little progress on the wardrobe. Stepped out for some dinner tacos to go at a place a few yards away. Packed, got Brenda settled a bit with respect to my impending absence, and his the road to Springfield at 7:30, Arrived just after 11:00. Camping out in my office.

Wednesday (Therese of Lisieux)

Morning Prayer in my living room chair. Spent quality time with an old sermon text for Proper 23 (from 2000). Performed the appropriate surgery to rescue it from its original context and make it appropriate for use a week from this Sunday at St Mark's, West Frankfort. Laid out the broad strokes of my state-of-the-diocese address at the annual diocesan synod on the 19th. Took care of a couple of small administrative issues via email. Worked a while on the ongoing project of assembling my Ikea wardrobe (awful closet space in this old apartment). Walked a couple of blocks to get a Sandwich from Subway for lunch. Took care of a couple of administrative chores pertaining to my transit card, which is now an important part of my life, living in Chicago. Followed up with an issue brought to my attention by a lay member of the cathedral, I am inclined to support the idea of the Springfield city council adoption a "Welcoming City" resolution, which seeks to abet a culture o

Tuesday (Holy Guardian Angels)

First day of "telecommuting," in the new order of things, with a home in Chicago. Morning Prayer in my living room. Put the finishing touches on my "office" area in a corner of the dining room: computer, scanner, printer, shredder, all plugged into a surge protector. Reviewed the text of a homily for Proper 22 (this Sunday at St Stephen's in Harrisburg) Made appropriate changes to freshen it up, Dealt by email with the Communications Coordinator on a range of ongoing projects. When granddaughter Hattie knocks on the door, everything else is put on hold. She coopted Nana's attention for quite a while, which allowed me to focus on what I was doing. Attended to a couple of small "getting settled" chores, of which there remain a great many. More prep for next month's clergy conference. Lunch of leftovers. Responded by email by way of pastoral care to a layperson who had some questions. Took an hour to devote to a major household project