Showing posts from November, 2018

St Andrew

Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Walked down to McD's on South Grand for breakfast. Planned tasks for the day. Attended a conference call for the diocesan trustees and our new investment advisor, which lasted just over an hour. Met with the Archdeacon for our annual review conversation re his role as a member of diocesan staff. This evolved into a long talk covering a wide range of issues. Got started on refining and editing my homily for this Sunday (St Paul's, Carlinville. Broke away to attend Mass for the feast day in the cathedral chapel. Lunch from McD's, eaten in my office. Conferred briefly with Paige, for the purpose of getting her registered as a member of Episcopal Communicators. Ran an errand up to a downtown locksmith to get some extra office keys made. I'm now confident that I have insulated myself from the danger of being locked out of the building. Kept a scheduled 2pm appointment with an individual who is ordained in another denomination but w


Wrote the last of my lectionary meditations for Forward Movement. This has actually been rather fun. Having the constraint of 220 words forces on to be creative. Took my developed notes for an Advent III homily at St John's, Centralia to the "rough draft" stage.  Lunched on my son's cooking--pork cooked in some sort of high-pressure device with a French name. It was superb. Took my daily constitutional, this time through nearby Rose Hill Cemetery. I used to enjoy walking through cemeteries when I lived in California and Indiana. They are at the same time calming, sobering, and interesting. Moved the ball downfield toward planning the clergy pre-Lenten retreat. Reviewed and annotated the draft minutes submitted by the secretary of last month's annual diocesan synod. Wrote an Ad Clerum about a small but significant liturgical issue. Attended to some personal financial chores. Took my wife and daughter to an early dinner at a nearby Indian restaurant. Pack

Wednesday (Kamehameha & Emma)

A pretty standard work-from-home day. Churned out the second-to-last in my series of 30 daily office lectionary reflections for Forward Day by Day, to appear *next* November. Took a close look at some of the Mission Strategy Reports from our Eucharistic Communities and "discussed" via email with the co-chairs of the Department of Mission a strategy engaging and responding to the whole lot. Spent quality time with commentaries on the readings for Epiphany, in homiletical preparation for keeping that feast with the people of Trinity, Jacksonville. Scanned, categorized, and tagged accumulated hard copy detritus. Took a long walk as dusk was setting in. (I've been able to ramp up my exercise rate since the move to Chicago.) Prayed both offices, MP by myself and EP with Brenda.


... aaaand we're back. I've been dark in this venue during the long Thanksgiving-and-its-aftermath mini-season. Spent a lot of time with my family-of-origin and its extensions, as well as that iteration of family of which I am the paterfamilias. There is much to be grateful for on both fronts.  Today's agenda included responding to a slot of accumulated emails, doing some sermon prep for II Advent (St Bartholomew's, Granite City), a substantive phone call over a pastoral issue, reviewing an annotating the most recent statement for my diocesan credit card, plotting future actions for a special project that is dear to my heart, and touching base with Paige on a variety of things. In the midst of it all, I also did four leads of laundry.


Usual morning routine,. More email communication with Paige about an ongoing project. Responded to an email query from the chairman of the diocesan trustees. Attended at some length via email to a substantive emerging pastoral matter. Responded to an email request for an in-person appointment. Performed reconstructive surgery on a sermon text from 2000, retrofitting it for use on Advent Sunday at St Paul's, Carlinville. Lunched on leftovers. Reached out to a cleric in another diocese on a pastoral matter. Personal errands: Home Depot, Goodwill (the fruit of decluttering), and a haircut. Vigorous hour-long walk. Took a prayerful first pass at the readings for Epiphany, which falls on a Sunday this cycle. I'll be at Trinity, Jacksonville. Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Tuesday (St Edmund)

Usual routine: Task planning over breakfast, Morning Prayer with Brenda in our "home chapel." Substantive email exchange with Paige about the next issue of the Springfield Current . A couple of personal (healthcare-related) "errands" done by email. Spent most of the remaining daylight hours writing my next-due blog post for Covenant. It's deep dive into what it actually means to be a bishop and to be a church that has bishops.  Once again, exploited the last 70 minutes or so of daylight for a vigorous walk.  Evening Prayer with Brenda. After dinner, worked on my homily for Advent III (St John's, Centralia), bringing it from "message statement" to "developed outline."

The Lord's Day (XXVI Pentecost)

Up and out of our apartment at 0730. Arrived in Morton at 1020, well ahead of the regular 1100 Sunday liturgy at All Saints. Presided, preached, and received the reaffirmation of vows made by a man who had been confirmed at All Saints by Bishop Hulstrand in 1987. Enjoyed the customary post-liturgical hospitality, then headed back north, stopping in Bloomington for a late lunch. Arrived home just past 5:00pm.

Sermon for Proper 28

All Saints, Morton -- Mark 13:14-23 “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”—so go the opening words of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities . There seem to be a few lucky people who sail through life with plenty of money, hardly even getting sick, and dying at a ripe old age with plenty of loving family and friends. A great many more experience life as one long nightmare, endless tribulation. In the third world, this might be a majority. But for most of us in this society, there are good times and there are bad times. If, at age 67, I have any wisdom from my years on this earth, it is that if I'm feeling on top of the world one moment, the pendulum will invariably swing back in the direction from whence it came. Tough times happen. They're not any fun, and sometimes it seems like they'll never end, but they happen. We have personal experiences of "the worst of times." We get sick and have a hard time doing things that are supposed

Saturday (St Hugh of Lincoln)

Today was partly productive and partly relaxing. The productive part included final prep on tomorrow's homily (at All Saints, Morton), producing another lectionary meditation for Forward Day by Day (#27 of the eventual 30 for November of next year), rustling up a message statement for an Advent III homily (St John's, Centralia) from my exegetical notes, and having a substantive phone conversation with a priest of the diocese. The relaxing part included a vigorous long walk on a new route, and binge-watching Designated Survivor on Netflix.

Friday (St Margaret)

Woke up in my office recliner. Cleaned up, got dressed, and walked (through sidewalks covered in frozen slush) down to McD's on South Grand for breakfast. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Prepared readings and short homily for the Diocesan Council Mass. Celebrated and preached the Mass, keeping the feast of St Margaret of Scotland. Presided over the regular November meeting of Diocesan Council Got lunch with three council members at Boone's Tavern. Attended an all-afternoon meeting of the diocesan trustees. We interviewed, serially, representatives of three investment management firms, and, after some discussion, made a decision. Evening Prayer in the cathedral. Walked down Spring Street of Bernie & Betty's for some dinner. Spent some time in contemplative prayer (as best as I can manage such a thing) in the cathedral. #Psalm131. Walked up to the Amtrak station at caught the 7:32 northbound Lincoln Service train to Chicago. Processed another thick stack of em


Kind of took the day off from ministry-related activities, in light of just having concluded the clergy conference yesterday, until I set out via Uber at 5:45pm for Union Station, then boarded the 7:00 Lincoln Service departure for Springfield, which gets me there (I hope--writing from the train) at 10:30, availing myself along the way of Amtrak's wifi connection to answer a very thick stack of emails. Camping in my office tonight ahead of tomorrow's meetings of the Diocesan Council and the Trustees. 

Wednesday (Consecration of Samuel Seabury)

If you follow me on Facebook, you know why I've AWOL from here the last three days, but here's the explanation for everyone else: I went by my office in Springfield on Monday morning to do a few things and ended up leaving my computer case there, which held not only my laptop by my iPad as well. So while I was at Toddhall for the conference, my only communication devise was my iPhone, which, while impressibly powerful, is too unwieldy to use for blogging, so I just gave it a rest. The conference went well, though I will confess to being worn out on account of being the one doing most of the talking. We got back home to our Chicago apartment around 7:30 this evening.

The Lord's Day (XXV Pentecost)

Up, fed, and out of our Bloomington hotel room in time to head west for about an hour-and-a-quarter and arrive in Havana well-early for their regular 1000 Sunday liturgy. Presided, preached, and confirmed an adult. There were 32 warm bodies in the room, which is more than double the previous high total for any of my prior visitations. So my day was made early. After the usual delicious and ample post-liturgical repast, we headed on down to Springfield, and checked in at the Doubletree downtown. (It feels weird and sad to be in an area we feel so at home in and not have it be actually home anymore.) We rested for a while, then went out and saw a movie ( Indivisible ) and caught a late supper at Popeye's.

Sermon for Proper 27

St Barnabas', Havana -- Mark 12:38-44 , I Kings 17:8-16 I have a radio on my nightstand and a radio in my car. In both of these locations, the default setting, for more than 40 years now, has been to whatever the local public radio station is. I listen to National Public Radio news and, while they were still on the air, Prairie Home Companion and Car Talk, as well, classical music and jazz, though those things aren’t aired as much as they used to be. If it weren’t for satellite radio now, I really wouldn’t have much to listen to if public radio were not around. And it helps that there are no commercials, as such . But, twice a year, as you may know, there’s a fund-raising drive. I wake up to it, hit the ‘Snooze’ button, and when it comes back on nine minutes later, they’re still talking about money, so I hit the ‘Snooze’ button again, and when it comes back on, they’re still at it. I assume that they sneak some regular programming in there occasionally, but sometimes I wonder. So

Saturday (St Leo the Great)

Began the work day by producing #26 in the eventual series of 30 daily office lectionary meditations for publication in Forward Day by Day in November of next year. Spent the remainder of the daylight hours first making a drive out to suburban Palatine two receive a couple of pre-owned area rugs from my sister and her husband, hauling them back to our apartment, and working with our son and his wife getting them situated. They are in excellent condition, and look quite handsome in their new home. At 5:20, having packed for four nights away, we pointed the YFNBmobile southward and drove until we hit Bloomington, where we are bedded down for the night in the familiar Doubletree. Tomorrow morning it's out to Havana and a visitation to St Barnabas' Church.


Morning Prayer with Brenda in our home chapel, which is slowly taking shape. Task planning over breakfast. Planned and plotted the last and longest of the clergy retreat presentations for next week. I hope to refresh and reinvigorate the stance of our clergy toward the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter. Took some time to hang a handful of the smaller wall decorations that we moved up here (the larger items having been hung some weeks ago), and sort the rest into the general locations where they will be mounted. Lunched on leftovers. Used email to recruit clergy to specific jobs in our corporate worship next week. Had a substantive phone conversation in relation to an ongoing pastoral issue. Dug into commentaries on Luke's gospel, in preparation for preaching on III Advent at St John's, Centralia. Friday prayer: Ignatian meditation on the daily office gospel reading for today. Attended to some personal financial chores. Evening Prayer with Brenda. In the evening: Set


Task planning over breakfast. Morning Prayer in my chair. Made an email inquiry of the Administrator concerning clergy conference registration. Sent sermons for two Sundays to a lay Worship Leader who will be officiating at Morning Prayer in one of our Eucharistic Communities where the priest will be a gone a bit this month, Traded emails with a colleague bishop and one of our clergy over an emerging pastoral matter. Set up a phone call for later. Did a deep dive into the not-yet-resolved new database app issue. Formulated some questions for Paige, who is running point on this. Reviewed a collection of stills and videos from synod, and marked certain ones as appropriate for inclusion in an in-process video collage. Lunched on leftovers. Had a long and substantive phone conversation with the above-referenced colleague bishop. Took a vigorous hour-and-a-quarter walk. (It has been impressed on my repeatedly that, if there is a silver bullet for maintaining health into old age, it

Wednesday (St Willibrord)

Morning Prayer with Brenda in our home chapel. Did my best to read, mark, lean, and inwardly digest thick proposals from five investment management firms who are bidding to handle the diocesan investments. (The Bishop has ex oficio seat, voice, and vote on the diocesan trustees.) I am very grateful that there are people who find this sort of thing engaging, and can attend to the myriad of details. I do my best to hang in there. Had tio have an early lunch of leftovers, get dressed up, and head out the door a little past noon. We had tickets to a matineƩ performance of Wagner's Siegfried at the Chicago Lyric Opera. The show had a five-hour run time, so it was 6:00 before we got out of there, enjoying dinner at a Brazilian churrascareia on our way home. The opera was magnificent, outstanding.

Tuesday (William Temple)

Dealt with a short stack of recently-arrived emails first thing in the morning. MP in my living room chair. Dealt with a couple of quick household chores. Refined, edited, printed, and posted my homily for this Sunday (St Barnabas', Havana). The "printing" part consumed an inordinate amount of time, but with some persistence I solved a vexing technical glitch. In the midst of this I had a substantive phone conversation with the president of the Standing Committee. Lunched on leftovers. Planned the first half of the final session of next week's clergy conference. Sent the music for the closing Eucharist to the organist for the occasion. Succumbed to the call of a functional but not yet fully organized apartment to ... make it more organized. There will be other such occasions of distraction. Took a brisk walk with Brenda. Prayed the evening office with Brenda in our emerging chapel/oratory/multi-purpose room.

The Lord's Day (XXIV Pentecost)

Waking up in my Springfield office/quarters at a somewhat ungodly hour due to the time change, I decided to "make lemonade," and set out at 0615 (CST) on a long walk that took me an hour-and-a-quarter: south on Spring to South Grand, east to Ninth, north to Carpenter, west to First, and south through the Capitol grounds back to the office. God cleaned up and packed, hitting the road to Mattoon at 0810, stopping at McD's for a breakfast sandwich. Presided and preached at Trinity's regular 1000 liturgy, confirming two adults and receiving one. Impressed to find that they now have a choir, anchored by four Eastern students who receive a small stipend. Substantive post-liturgical conversations with both laity and clergy. Pulled into my Chicago garage at 4:20.

Sermon for All Saints

Trinity, Mattoon Whenever we say the creed—whether it’s the Nicene Creed of the Eucharist or the Apostles’ Creed of Baptism—we say that we “believe in … the communion of saints.” So these words cross our lips frequently. But, of all the articles of the creed, I suspect that the one about the communion of saints is probably the least noticed and least understood by the majority of Christians. So let’s unpack it a little bit. First, who are “the saints”? Let’s start with who they’re not. The saints are not people who were perfect in the way they lived their lives. They were not sinless people—at least not in this life, although we do give them that title “Saint” before their names because we believe—or suspect, at least—that they have now attained a state of sinlessness—in other words, perfect union with Christ—and are able to endure the presence of God without being turned to dust, which none of us, I suspect, could do. Nor were the saints, when they walked this earth, necessarily w

Saturday (Richard Hooker)

Up and out of my monk's cell/office around 0815. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Asked Siri, "Where's a good place to have breakfast near me?" and she suggested a place 1.8 miles away where I had never been in my n7.5 years living in Springfield. So I walk there, enjoyed some delicious biscuits and gravy, and walked back (40 minutes there, 45 minutes back). Plowed through and disposed of, one way or another, a stack of accumulated emails. Fleshed out plans for the penultimate session of the clergy conference. Went out again--by car this time. Did a bit of shopping at HyVee, got a sandwich at Chick-Fil-A, and got the YFNBmobile washed. Wrote a letter of recommendation for an individual applying to seminary. Attended to some issues pertaining to a couple of projects Paige, our Communicator, is working on. Prepared service leaflets for the once instance of Evensong at the clergy conference. This required downloading some version of Adobe Acrobat, so I could edit

Friday (All Souls')

Another Friday morning waking up in my office. McD's for breakfast. Devotions and Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Caught up with the Administrator on some mind-numbing details concerning clergy health insurance--in this case, my own! Casual debrief with the Archdeacon on the usual "range of issues." Eventually got to sorting and prioritizing my tasks for the day. Met with the Administrator for her annual review. My 1100 appointment arrived at 1035, a lay leader in one of our Eucharistic Communities. That lasted about an hour. Got to work refining, editing, printing, and posting my homily for this Sunday (celebrating All Saints at Trinity, Mattoon). Attended the cathedral Mass for All Souls' Day. Lunch from KFC, eaten ... in my car (so I could listen to the radio). On of the downsides of the new order is that I don't have a home to go at lunchtime, which was an engrained habit. From the office walked over to the county building on 9th street to exercise

All Saints

Usual AM weekday routine. Made substantial progress working out the details of my response to a parish of the diocese that has requested delegation of episcopal oversight to another bishop. There is still a great deal in this situation yet to unfold. Attended to some personal financial chores. Lunched on leftovers. Planned and prepped for yet one more clergy conference session. The subject is Holy Week worship, and I pretty much know what I want to present. It just needs to be gotten into pixels, and reviewed for thoroughness. Responded by email to a couple of administrative issues. Did some routine turn-of-the-month calendar maintenance. Took a brisk hour-long walk. Evening Prayer. Ordered some beef and chicken shawarma to be delivered for dinner. There are some advantages to living in a large city. Packed for the weekend and hit the road at 7:10. Arrived in my Springfield office at 10:40, and I'm ensconced for the night.