Showing posts from January, 2019

Thursday (Samuel Shoemaker)

Usual early weekday AM routine. Developed my homiletical message statement for Epiphany VII (St George's, Belleville) into a filled-out outline. Took care of a couple of personal/household chores. Lunched on leftovers. Did some substantial chipping away on the pastoral teaching document on sexuality and marriage that I've been working on. Sat with my exegetical notes on the readings for the Last Sunday after Epiphany and labored on to a homiletical message statement for that occasion (St Paul's, Pekin). Evening Prayer with Brenda. I had gotten word during the day that the water in the diocesan office is out, so my travel destination for the evening was the Doubletree in downtown Springfield. Because it was snowing in Chicago at my 7:00pm leaving time, which caused a couple of accidents on my travel route, which significantly impeded traffic, the trip took me an hour longer than usual.

Wednesday (St Charles Stuart)

Usual early AM routine (intercessions-devotions-Morning Prayer-tea-breafkast-task planning-shower-dress) Took my homily for Epiphany VI (St Thomas', Glen Carbon) from message statement to developed outline. Broke for an impromptu brunch in my son's apartment, as all the residents of our building were honoring the warnings to stay out of thye cold today,. Responded to some accumulated emails. Did a deep dive into yet another database software possibility. May have found a winner this time. Did an abbreviated exegesis on and birthed a message statement for Epiphany VII (St George's, Belleville). Worked some more on the exorcism rite project. Coming in for a landing soon on this one. Got the ball rolling on liturgy prep for the Chrism Mass (April 13). Attended to some routine personal organization maintenance (cleaning up my computer desktop). Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Tuesday (St Andrei Rublev)

One of the unplanned results of my move to Chicago has turned out to be that, on the weekends when I am in Springfield, time on Friday night and Saturday that would in times past have been spent around the house on "domestic" activities, is not available for ministry-related activities, and often quite productively so. This is just by way of putting into context that fact that I didn't get down to "working" until about 2pm today, the morning and early afternoon being dedicated to "homey" stuff (mostly basement organization, finishing laundry from yesterday, and taking Brenda to a healthcare appointment. Once I got going, the main accomplishment was the production of a rough draft sermon text for Epiphany V (Sunday after next at Holy Trinity, Danville). The usual backlog of emails also got attended to.

Third Sunday after Epiphany

Up and out of the Hampton Inn, Lincoln in time to preside and preach at 0730 at Trinity, meet with confirmands (and eavesdroppers) at 0645, then preside, preach, and confirm two adults at 0945. What an encouraging visitation to Trinity, Lincoln this morning. The fruit of the recent "harvest" from among students and faculty at Lincoln Christian University was abundantly evident, with a full church and a dramatically lowered median age. The party continued with food and fellowship at the home of Fr Mark Evans and his wife Sandy. We arrived back at our Chicago digs around 4:00, whereupon I took a brisk walk in single-digit temperatures. 

Sermon for III Epipany

Trinity, Lincoln --Nehemiah 8:2-10, Luke 4:14-21 One of the universal features of Christian worship is that we read the Bible. On a normal Sunday, lectors read aloud selections from the Old Testament and the New Testament epistles, a deacon or priest reads a portion of the gospels, and the whole congregation recites or sings several verses from one of the Psalms. On other occasions, we read even more of the Bible in a single service: At the Great Vigil of Easter, most communities typically read five quite long Old Testament lessons—up to nine are provided for in the Prayer Book—each of which is followed by a Psalm, and later on we read an epistle and gospel lesson. And those who have the habit of praying the daily office, whether alone or with others, are exposed to another potential 18 passages from the Bible per week, not to mention substantial portions of the Psalms each day, such that all 150 of them are read in their entirety over the course of about seven weeks. So, whatever an

Saturday (Ss Timothy & Titus)

On the road northbound with Brenda at 0830. Pulled into the campus of Nashotah House a couple of hours later, ahead of the 11000 Annual Solemn Mass of the Society of King Charles the Martyr. Due to a perfect storm of adverse circumstances, I was the sole member of the Society board in attendance. Professor Father Thomas Buchan presided, and delivered a fine homily extolling the Blessed Martyr's the witness-unto-death to the centrality of episcopacy in the life of the Church Universal. As the only bishop in the room, I was overcome with gratitude! (It's been said that Anglicans tend to have a high view of episcopacy and a low view of bishops.) After the Mass, about a dozen of us repaired to Perkins' in Delafield for lunch (since the Society's formal luncheon was cancelled due to lack of RSVPs). Brenda and I then headed south, arriving in Lincoln around 6:30. Checked in at the Hampton Inn, then joined Fr Mark Evans and Sandy for dinner at the town's Mexican restaurant

Conversion of St Paul

Usual early AM weekday routine. Sat with the texts and my exegetical notes for Epiphany VI until they yielded a homiletical message statement (St Thomas', Glen Carbon). Sometimes it's difficult labor, but this birth happened relatively smoothly. Took Brenda to a hair appointment. Impressive pictures on Facebook. Dealt with a quick bit of administrative detritus. Lunched on leftovers. Pored over commentaries and made exegetical notes on the readings for the Last Sunday after Epiphany (St Paul's, Pekin). Spent most of the rest of the afternoon on some personal chores and errands. Prayed the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary before Evening Prayer with Brenda.


Up and dressed and fed in time to attend an 0800 special meeting of the Nashotah House corporation in Sarasota--but, sadly, I was not in Florida. I attended via video conference technology. It lasted about an hour. Reviewed and commented on the draft service bulletin for this Sunday at Trinity, Lincoln. Spent the rest of the morning taking the developed outline of a sermon for Epiphany IV (Christ the King, Normal) and turning it into a draft working text, for refinement next week. Lunch from Pizza Hut down the block. Some will no doubt wonder why I patronize a place like Pizza Hut when I live in a city known for its pizza. It's a mystery. With time out for a substantial walk, the afternoon was devoted to planning the liturgies (two Masses, two Evensongs, two occurrences of Morning Prayer) for the clergy retreat next month. After dinner: Exegetical work on Epiphany VI (St Thomas', Glen Carbon) and initial drive-by of the readings for Epiphany VII (St George's, Bellevil

Wednesday (Phillips Brooks)

Usual AM weekday routine. Responded to a batch of accumulated emails, which sent me off into some calendar work.  Spoke by phone with a cleric of the diocese who was (quite understandably) seeking a bit of pastoral care. Did the finish work on my homily for Epiphany III, this Sunday at Trinity, Lincoln. Chinese carryout lunch, from the joint around the corner. Spent an hour or so making incremental progress organizing our basement, which will be an ongoing project for quite some time. Plotted the shape of a sermon for Epiphany IV (Christ the King, Normal), from message statement to developed outline. Took my accustomed walk, on an afternoon of falling temperatures. Did similar homiletical development on my sermon for Epiphany V (Holy Trinity, Danville). Evening Prayer with Brenda. After dinner: Wrote a substantive memo to my Communion Partner colleagues, summarizing last week's meeting in Toronto.

Tuesday (St Vincent of Saragossa)

Started the working morning with a short stack of email-generated tasks. Got into "uniform" and headed north at 1015 to Nashotah House. Had good private visits with each of our three residential seminarians there, attended evensong, then took them, along with two distance students who are on campus this week, out to dinner. Got back home around 10:45. Driving conditions were far less than ideal in both directions, but delays were minimal, for which I am grateful.

Second Sunday after Epiphany

I woke up, of course, carless, having ridden Amtrak to Springfield last night. Normally, that would not be daunting, but with absolute temperatures in single digits, with added wind chill, I didn't feel quite so tough. So I became Uber's favorite customer, riding down to Charlie Parker's for breakfast, back to the office, then to Christ Church for my visitation. Held a wide-ranging adult forum at 0900, then presided, preached, and confirmed three adults at 1015. After the coffee hour potluck, Fr Greg was kind enough to drive me back to the office, where I spent the afternoon trying to be productive, making substantial progress on sermon prep for Epiphany V (Holy Trinity, Danville)and Epiphany Last (St Paul's, Pekin). Hoofed it up to Amtrak to catch the 4:55 northbound departure, from which I write now just pulling into Chicago at 8:00. Got *a whole lot* done en route, thanks to their wifi.

Sermon for Epiphany II

Christ Church, Springfield -- John 2:1-11 , I Corinthians 12:1-11 I started taking a serious interest in baseball when I was about ten years old. I was small for my age then, and although I would have wanted to be a pitcher, I could throw a baseball neither very fast nor very accurately. So I fancied myself a fleet-footed, base-stealing, leadoff-hitting center fielder. The following summer, I played the first of my two seasons of Little League baseball. The coach didn’t know me, and I had no idea what his plans were for me during the handful of practices we had before the first game. But when that day arrived, I could not have written a better script for myself. The coach put me in center field, batting leadoff! In my first at-bat, I drew a walk—not a hard thing to do in Little League, especially when you’re short—and trotted confidently off to first base. I should have ended my playing career right then! On the very next pitch, the first base coach instructed me to steal second, s

Saturday (St Wulfstan)

Writing from my Springfield encampment at 821 S. Second Street, after having deciding to make the journey by train rather than face adverse driving conditions. As it turns out, they wouldn't have been all that adverse. But, as it was, I got my next Covenant blog post finished, edited, and submitted. Before setting out from Chicago I did the necessary finish work on tomorrow's homily at Christ Church here in Springfield, took an aggressive walk in aggressive weather, and attended to some personal chores and errands.

Confession of St Peter

Joined the academic community at Wycliffe College at 0830 for Morning Prayer. Then the Communion Partner-Canada bishops (plus Bishop Love and me) reconvened and met until noon. I am gratified by the deepening bond between the CP bishops from TEC and the ACoC. I enjoyed an extended leisurely lunch with my seminary classmate, longtime friend, and bishop colleague Greg Kerr-Wilson, Bishop of Calgary and Metropolitan of the Province of Rupertsland. I then had a pilgrimage moment at the Church of St Mary Magdalene, where the composer Healy Willan was organist and choirmaster during a golden age there. I eventually made it back to the Doubletree to collect my luggage, doing a substantial bit of walking in the meantime, and then grabbed a Lyft to Billy Bishop Airport. Everything went smoothly and I was home around 8:45.


Up and out of our apartment at 0815--15 minute walk to Rockwell CTA Brown Line stop, transferred to Orange Line downtown, arrived at Midway Airport at 0945. Cleared TSA and got something to eat, as I had plenty of time to kill. Eventually boarded the 1130 departure on Porter Air to the smaller downtown lakefront airport in Toronto. A Lyft driver delivered me to Wycliffe College, an evangelical Anglican theological school that is part of the University of Toronto complex, a few minutes ahead of the 3:00pm scheduled start to a gathering of the Canadian version of the Communion Partner bishops in TEC; they go by Gracious Restraint, or more recently, Communion Partners, lie us. The Bishop of Albany and I are here representing CP/TEC. We had a "working dinner" and finally adjourned around 8:00 with Compline. We'll reconvene in the morning.


Usual early AM routine. Then out of the building at 0820 and back northwest to Rosemont and the Province V bishops meeting. As I mentioned, this is a very informal gathering, bit a lot of substantive things get talked about that find their way up the chain and become ingredients in the stew that eventually results in action. Plus, episcopal ministry is a structurally lonely way of life, so maintaining collegiality with the only others who fully "get it" is important. We adjourned at noon and I headed back home. After lunch and a long walk, I took care of a couple of email responses that were in the hopper, did surgery on the text of a "vintage" homily for Epiphany III (Sunday after next at Trinity, Lincoln), and got to work on my next-due post for the Covenant blog.


After MP and breakfast, started the day with a modest walk, then got down to a stack of relatively small tasks, handled by email. Around 11:15 I got in the YFNBmobile and headed west on I-90 ten miles to Rosemont, near O'Hare. At the Sheraton, the bishops of Province V assembled for our annual informal get-together. Most of us (those who didn't go out to a movie) then enjoyed dinner together at nearby Harry Caray's. We;ll reconvene tomorrow for the morning, then go our separate ways.

First Sunday after the Epiphany

My visitation today just involved crossing the alley between my encampment in the diocesan office and the cathedral church. Preached at 0800, presided and preached at 1000, with two confirmations. Had enough time between services for the biscuits & gravy I missed yesterday at Charlie Parker's. While the cathedral parking lot was well plowed and de-iced, not all the areas of the city and suburbs were in similar condition, so attendance was very thin. After visiting at the coffee hour, changing clothes, and getting fully packed, it was 1:00 before I hit the road northbound. With stops for lunch and gas, I pulled into my Chicago garage just before 5:00. 

Sermon for Epiphany I

Springfield Cathedral -- Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 ; Isaiah 42:1-9 For most my life since I was in my late teens, I’ve kept a journal of sorts. Sometimes it’s just some sketchy notes on a page when my calendar took the form of a large three-ring binder: I went here, I did that, I spoke to this or that person. At other times, I’ve written long reflections on what’s going on in my life, or in the church, or in the world. One of my annual rituals, usually on New Year’s Day, is to skim over, and occasionally do more than skim, whatever I wrote a year ago, five years ago, ten, twenty, and now, even fifty years ago. I am quite frequently awed by my own life. My ministry, both as a priest and as a bishop, has put me in touch with the entire range of human need, from the trivial to the profound. And as if the human need that I actually have to face personally weren’t enough, my ministry as Bishop of Springfield puts me behind the wheel of a car for several hours each week, and while I’m cruising

Saturday (St Aelred)

Woke up to the promised snowfall--about five inches at the time, I would say, with more coming down. Got myself put together and trudged across the alley for Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Then ventured out by car to hunt for some breakfast. In my AWD vehicle, the streets were not a problem, but there was evidence that others were not so lucky. Charlie Parker's, my biscuits & gravy place, may have been open--their lot was plowed--but there were no cars, so I assumed the worst and moved on to IHOP way out on West Wabash. By the time I got back to the office, and shoveled a bit of snow around the garage door and between the office and the cathedral atrium, it was mid-morning, which I devoted the rest of to the finish work on my homily for tomorrow at the cathedral. Then it was down to McD's for a snack-lunch. At 1:30, I participated in a meeting with three of our priests that was supposed to be in-person but morphed into a video conference because of the snow. We got done w


Up and out of my office encampment in time to offer Morning Prayer in the cathedral at 0730. Then on to McD's to pick up some breakfast and have a phone conversation with Brenda. Caught up with the Archdeacon on a range of issues. Got my tasks for the day organized, which took longer than usual because of an inordinately large onslaught of recent emails. Consulted with the Archdeacon on a canonical issue. Had a brief but substantial conversation with the Archdeacon and the Administrator on sharpening our data backup and archiving protocols. This will never be an urgent issue (unless a tornado makes a direct hit on our virtually indestructible building), but it is nonetheless important.  Dealt by email with some suddenly emergent Communion Partner business. Worked with Paige to develop a Plan B for an important meeting scheduled for tomorrow, since several inches of snow are predicted. We'll try a video conferencing solution. Resumed working on master sermon planning for

Thursday (William Laud)

Customary weekday early AM routine. Hunkered down with commentaries and did the exegetical work on the readings for Epiphany V (Holy Trinity, Danville). Reached out by email over a couple of pastoral/admin issues. Wrestled with my notes on the readings for Epiphany IV (Christ the King, Normal) and arrived at a homiletical message statement,. Lunched on leftovers. Began working on master sermon prep planning for the period between Ash Wednesday and Trinity Sunday, Took Brenda to a healthcare appointment. Took a 75-minute power walk (the "power" part necessary to generate some body heat on a very cold day). Evening Prayer with Brenda. Order-in Thai food for dinner. Then packed at hit the road southbound at 7:15. Arrived at the diocesan center in Springfield for my weekend deployment at 10:30.


Early Morning Prayer in the domestic oratory. Made tea and breakfast. Planned the day's work. Did the crossword. Got showered and dressed. Responded to a request for an appointment, made a step of progress toward an annual review regimen for YFNB, responded to a late-arriving but time-sensitive email. Did some appropriate surgery on a "vintage" sermon text for Epiphany I, toward delivering a version of it this Sunday at the cathedral. Took a phone call from the President of the Standing Committee. Digested an email and attached newsletter from our representative to the Province V ECW board. Responded by long-ish and substantive email to an emerging pastoral issue in one of our Eucharistic Communities. Carry-out lunch from the Chinese place around the corner. Took a brisk 70-minute walk on a brisk day in the Windy City.  Performed a similar homiletical task as my morning activity, this time on a text for Epiphany II, to be delivered at Christ Church, Springfield.


In view of having spent my regular personal sabbath day traveling, I had to devote today mostly to personal chores and errands. I say "mostly" because I did do some substantial prep work for next month's clergy retreat. My overall productivity was significantly hampered by a really bad case of hay fever-like allergy symptoms, although it isn't the time of year for that sort of thing. Feeling a bit better as bedtime approaches.


Breakfast with my hosts in Greenville, SC, then on the Christ Church to get read for the 1100 requiem for Bishop Hulstrand. I assisted with Holy Communion and gave the Commendation. It was a lovely service, and I was honored to be part of it. Then I took my old parishioner out to lunch before she showed me around downtown Greenville and we headed to the airport for my 5:30pm flight back to Chicago. I arrived home around 7:30.


Left my basecamp at the diocesan center at 0700 and arrived at Trinity, Jacksonville in time to preach for the 0800 celebration and preside and preach at 1000. There's a good spirit at Trinity under the pastoral leadership of Fr Zach Brooks. Around noon I hit the road northbound and arrived in my Chicago home at 3:45. Had time to unpack, repack, and rest a bit before calling a Lyft to pick me up at 6:45 and take me to the Jefferson Park blue line station, where I caught a train to O'Hare, then boarded a 9:00 departure for Greenville, South Carolina. I was met a little past midnight local time by an old parishioner from my California sojourn, who now lives in Greenville and sings in the choir at Christ Church, venue for Bishop Hultstrand's funeral. She and her husband graciously gave me lodging for the night.

Sermon for Epiphany

Trinity, Jacksonville -- Matthew 2:1-12 , Ephesians 3:1-12 Epiphany. Wise Men. Gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Camels, oxen, sheep, shepherds, angels. It evokes a memory of any number of children’s Christmas pageants, and it’s precisely the tableau that I bet is on more than one of the Christmas cards that you haven’t gotten around to throwing out yet … or perhaps you’ve been waiting for today, for Epiphany, to toss your 2018 Christmas cards around the same time you undecorate your tree and restore your home to its pre-holiday configuration. (That will be my job on Tuesday, as tomorrow I have to be at the funeral of my predecessor once-removed, Bishop Hultstrand).  Of course, any scene that includes both the shepherds and the Wise Men is taking some liberties, because Luke talks about the shepherds and Matthew tells us about the Wise Men, but no biblical text ever puts them in the same place at the same time. Just don’t tell the greeting card industry. Sadly, though, that’s

Saturday (12th Day of Christmas)

MP in the cathedral around 0800. Then off for biscuits & gravy at my new "regular" Saturday morning haunt, Charlie Parker's. I decided to take advantage of a postponed afternoon meeting and devote most of the day to the project of producing a substantive pastoral teaching document on sexuality and marriage. It's the kind of thing that requires a big block of time for sustained focus and research, which doesn't just happen--moments must be seized, and I seized this one. I'm happy with what I got done. In the midst of that, I did manage a major walk--east on Lawrence to Sixth, north all the way the North Grand Avenue, west to Second, and back down. Dinner at O'Charley's.  Spent the bulk of the evening writing out greetings to clergy and spouses with birthdays and anniversaries in January.

Friday (11th Day of Christmas)

Morning Prayer in a still-dark cathedral before breakfast, then ton the drive-through at Hardee's (for a change of pace from McD's). Culled the accumulated hard-copy items on my desk. Ran (well, walked, actually) down to Illinois National Bank to initiate a wire transfer of some funds to our companion diocese of Tabora, funds that have been lying around, earmarked for that purpose. Took care of a handful of small administrative items. Consulted with Paige on a couple of her ongoing projects. Did some internet followup of my own on one of them. Got to work refining and editing the working text of my homily for this Sunday (Trinity, Jacksonville). Broke off from this to greet my 113o lunch appointment, arriving fifteen minutes early--one of our postulants. We walked over to Boone's Tavern for a productive "live Ember Day letter." Got back to the sermon work I had started earlier, ending up with a manuscript in my car, and e-versions scheduled to post at 10am

Thursday (10th Day of Christmas)

Same early AM routine as yesterday. In consultation with three commentaries, did exegetical work on the readings for Epiphany IV (February 3 at Christ the King, Normal). This is often my favorite part of the sermon development process, and I devoted the entire rest of the morning to it.. Lunched on leftovers. Took my daily 75-minute (or thereabouts) walk on a sunny and somewhat mild early afternoon. Got through a big chunk of the exorcism rite development project. Got organized for preaching on Epiphany V (February 10 at Holy Trinity, Danville)--said my prayers, created a Word file, pasted the texts of the readings into it, read them carefully and jotted down a few preliminary notes. Evening Prayer with Brenda in our domestic oratory. After a dinner of homemade Cincinnati-style chili, I packed for three nights away and hit the road southbound at 7:07pm, arriving at the Springfield office at around 10:30.


Up and in our domestic oratory by around 0630 for some time in quiet contemplation, deep intercession, and, eventually the morning office. Fixed tea and breakfast, which I ate (and drank) while taking a short pass through social media, checking overnight email, and planning my day's work. The USA Today crossword puzzle is also establishing itself as part of my morning routine, the goal being to finish it in uder 15 minutes. Showered, dressed, and attacked my task list, starting with ... ... doing appropriate surgery on the text of a pre-used sermon for Epiphany II, getting it ready for deployment at Christ Church, Springfield on January 20. Exchanged emails with the rector of Trinity, Jacksonville, covering some of the details of my visitation there this Sunday. Attended to a handful of pastoral issues via text and email, one of which required an unusual amount of thought and care, and was yet undone when I ...  ... took Brenda to a scheduled healthcare appointment. Stopped