Showing posts from April, 2019


Usual weekday AM routine. Attended by multiple emails to some substantive business pertaining to two of our Eucharistic Communities in transition and one relatively minor administrative issue. Did the finish work on my homily for this Sunday (Alton Parish). Ducked out for a physical therapy appointment. Lunched on leftovers.  Read and responded to an email requesting the names of any clergy I might know who are on the Autism Disorder Spectrum, for purposes of a research project. I have no certain knowledge of any, so I was not able to help. Got to work on my next-due post for the Covenant blog. Ducked out once again, this time with Brenda to get her to a doctor's appointment. Back home, finished a rough draft of the Covenant post. Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Second Sunday of Easter

Rose at an early hour in my Litchfield hotel room and headed the 35 minutes south the St Andrew's, Edwardsville in time to preside and preach at their regular 0800 liturgy. Conferred with the rector between services, and then did the same duties, plus one adult confirmation, at the principal Mass. Visited with folks during the coffee-hour potluck, then headed home, arriving a little past 5:00.

Sermon for Easter II

St Andrew’s, Edwardsville -- John 20:19–31 Whenever we gather for a baptism or for confirmation, everyone present is invited to affirm—along with those being baptized or confirmed—we are all invited to affirm something called the Baptismal Covenant. One of the promises of the Baptismal Covenant is to “proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.” I have to say, if there’s one spot where most people are tempted to cross their fingers as they respond, “I will, with God’s help,” this is probably the place. Most of us feel constitutionally incapable of proclaiming by word and example the good news of God in Christ … at least the “word” part; a lot of us might feel like we have it within us to live as good examples of the gospel, but get immediately tongue-tied at the mere thought of saying anything about it. Our inability to give voice to our faith is grounded mostly in fear, I think. We’re afraid of being ridiculed by people for whom faith in general and Christian faith

Easter Saturday

Leisurely morning. All the usual stuff, just spread out over more time. All in the context of a spike in lower back pain. Dealt with a couple of items of diocesan business by email.Worked to straighten out a snafu in Brenda's phone. Played with Hattie. Lunched on bad Chinese leftovers. Shined my shoes (since I recently found the shoe-care supplies that have been missing since the move). Watched a bit of an old movie. Eventually, got packed and headed south around 2:45. Met Fr John Richmond for dinner in Bloomington at 5:15. Back on the road at 6:45. Stopped for gas in Springfield. Made it to my Hampton Inn, Litchfield destination just before 8:45, ahead of tomorrow's visitation to St Andrew's, Edwardsville. 

Easter Friday

A much more normal-ish day. Intercessions and Morning Prayer in our domestic oratory. Tea, breakfast, crossword, Facebook cruising, task planning, physical therapy exercises, shower. Made some substantive progress via an email exchange toward the planning of November's annual clergy conference. Battened down a couple of loose ends with respect to Lambeth Conference registration. Carefully read the Archbishop of Canterbury's letter to the active bishops of the Anglican Communion. Focused on helping a parish in transition more productively into its time of pastoral interregnum. Took a phone call from one of our parish clergy. Lunched on leftovers. Spent a big chunk of quality time with commentaries on Romans 8, in preparation for preaching at St Michael's, O'Fallon on Pentecost. Walked a few blocks to a first appointment with a new psychotherapist. I am very relieved to say that I think it will be quite a good fit. Out to an early Chinese dinner with Brenda and J

Easter Thursday

The last couple of days have been ... interesting. Getting discharged from a hospital is always more complicated than one imagines. I was in Brenda's room shortly before 0700, and, with a break here and there made possible by our daughter, I was there until 4:3opm. All during the day, I was experiencing a complex of symptoms that are associated with cardiac issues. This actually started over the weekend, and is part of an episodic recurring pattern. It always turns out to be non-cardiac. Nonetheless, upon the counsel of an advice nurse, all three of my children, and my wife, I drove myself to the ER. As expected, all the tests were negative, so it was a surprise when I was told that my primary care doctor recommended I be admitted for observation overnight. Not being one to go against medical advice, I acquiesced. After a fitful night, full of the usual interruptions that happen in a hospital, my doctor was in the room at 0730, somewhat apologetic. I was out an home before 0830. St

Easter Tuesday

The afternoon and evening were consumed by "being there" for Brenda as she got a pacemaker surgically implanted. She's in hospital overnight but looking forward to being discharged by midday tomorrow. Aside from that, I had two substantive phone conversations with clergy of the diocese. did the finish work on my homily for this Sunday (St Andrew's, Edwardsville), and dealt with a pastoral/mission strategy issue by email.


I won't lie--after the Triduum, and a late night last night, it was slightly brutal rising at 0600 and getting over to the cathedral to preach at the 0800 liturgy and preside/preach at 1030. But we did it, and it was a spectacularly beautiful Easter morning, and the Lord was worshiped in spirit and truth. After a stop at Freddy's for lunch on our way out of town, Brenda and I hit the road northbound around 12:45. It was an uneventful drive (listening to the Cubs game covered most of the distance) and we enjoyed some very nice *outdoor* socializing with our daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter.

Easter Homily

Springfield Cathedral This is an occasion of great celebration—Christ is risen from the dead. This is an occasion of great thanksgiving—death, the ancient enemy of humankind, has been swallowed up in victory. This is an occasion of great joy—death has been declawed and defanged, and we need no longer fear it. This is an occasion of eating and drinking and making merry—we have been freed from the grip of sin. This is an occasion for singing and dancing—Universal Evil itself has been sentenced to oblivion; its days are numbered, and when it goes into the pit of destruction it will carry with it all fear, anxiety, pain, shame, anger—in short, all suffering will be sucked into the eternal black hole of God’s redeeming and undying love. This is an occasion of great hope—all across the world tonight, people are renouncing their attachment to the realm of sin and death and embracing the kingdom of life and health and peace; they are being born again in the waters of Holy Baptism; they are b

Holy Saturday / Easter Eve

Breakfast with Brenda at the Hilton Garden. Then to the cathedral for 0900 Holy Saturday Liturgy of the Word with the Altar Guild, which is something I have done in various places for 28 consecutive years now, and is a habit that has become quite precious to me. Then I spent the next couple of hours doing what might well be described as "puttering"--all in service of the end of making sure the Easter Vigil and Easter morning happen and go smoothly. Eventually I returned to my office and processed my physical inbox--scanning, categorizing, tagging--with interruptions for a couple of liturgical details as they arose. Then back to the hotel with Brenda to change clothes, and back again to the west side for lunch at a new "healthy food" fast casual place (Core Life), and then to Safelite to get a knick in my windshield repaired before it grows. While we waited for the work to be done, we walked some of the Wabash Trail, one of my old walking routes. To the office again,

Good Friday

Tea with Brenda at our Hilton Garden abode, with a modest biscuit so the people at the blood bank wouldn't scold me later for not having eaten,. Then in to the office. Processed some lately-arrived hard copy items on my desk. Returned a phone call on a pastoral issue. Walked across the alley and spent a good long while in prayer, both before the Blessed Sacrament on the Altar of Repose, and in the starkness of the church proper. The Solemn Collects from the Good Friday liturgy proved to be a fruitful launchpad for prayer. Then back to the hotel to change into "civvies," and on to the Mississippi Valley Blood Center, where I had a noon appointment to donate red cells. (Yes, I had an appointment to donate blood at noon on Good Friday; the richness of the situation was not lost on me.) The process took about an hour, after which I took Brenda on some shopping errands to Kohl's and Target. Around mid-afternoon, we had a modest meal of fried rice at HyVee. Back to the offi

Good Friday Homily

Springfield Cathedral “It is finished.” Jesus’ last words from the cross. It is finished. That could mean a lot of things, in theory. It could mean something like “Thank God it’s finally over. No more suffering!” because, John’s gospel tells us, right after he uttered those words, Jesus bowed his head and exhaled one final time; he surrendered his life’s breath. Thank God it’s over. That’s certainly not a sentiment that we would want to begrudge Jesus, is it? I mean, after all he’s been through, he deserves to be relieved at the prospect of the pain coming to and end, even if the vehicle of that deliverance is death. But if we look at St Jerome’s Latin translation of these words, we get a glimpse of another possibility, a deeper way of understanding these final words from the cross. In Latin, they are rendered “consummatum est”—in English, in a very literal way, “It is consummated.” Or, more colloquially, “Done deal.” Or perhaps something like “signed, sealed, delivered.

Maundy Thursday

After the usual early AM routine, I took a chunk of the morning to attend once again to some pressing domestic chores (like, believe it or not, finishing unpacking from the move; there are still lots of sealed cardboard boxes in the basement). Then it was time to get packed--both Brenda and I--for an aspirational 12:30 departure time for Springfield. We more or less hit our target. Checked in at the Hilton Garden on Dirksen, dined on some pretty tasty Mexican fare at Blue Agave, then headed over to the cathedral for the Maundy Thursday proper liturgy. YFNB presided; the Dean preached. (Tomorrow we swap roles.) The Word got proclaimed, feet got washed, bread got broken, souls got fed, altar got stripped. We did our work.

Holy Wednesday

Routine start to the day. After a couple of small pastoral-administrative chores, the rest of the morning, and the first part of the afternoon, after lunching on leftovers, was devoted to creating a sermon text draft from my developed notes for use on Easter II at St Andrew's, Edwardsville. The accomplishment for the remainder of the afternoon was opening the homiletical file on Pentecost (at St Michael's, O'Fallon)--intentional prayer, copying and pasting the readings, giving them a careful look, and making notes on various things that strike me. I also spent a good while on the phone trying to straighten out a complicated health insurance claims issue, and took my usual walk, and EP with Brenda.

Holy Tuesday

Usual telecommuting weekday AM routine. Did the finish work (edit, refine, format, print, arrange for posting, put hard copy in car) on my Good Friday homily. Reviewed some materials in connection with the process of filling our communications vacancy. Did some substantial personal brainstorming toward the end of developing a plan for next November's annual clergy conference. Yielded to a sudden craving and found the nearest KFC from which to bring some lunch home to eat. Did the finish work (see above for description) on my Easter homily. Took some steps toward finding myself a local therapist. I'm not too proud to deny that there's enough complication and stress in my life that I could benefit from the perspective of someone who's not in it. Took the balance of the afternoon to cross off some long-pressing domestic chore3s, then grab a vigorous walk. Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Palm Sunday

Up and out of my lair in time to preside at the 0800 Liturgy of the Palms in the cathedral atrium, then to pontificate (which essentially involves sitting in the fancy chair and looking impressive) at the Eucharist. At the 1030 celebration I presided at both the Liturgy of the Palms and the Mass of the Passion. The Dean preached on both occasions, After putting my office back in order and loading up the YFNBmobile, and after a stop at Freddy's on Clearlake for a burger, I was on I-55 northbound at around 1:20, arriving home in Chicago three-and-a-quarter hours later.


Up and out of my office campsite and across the alley to read Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Then across town to IHOP for breakfast. By the time I got back, I needed to start devoting my attention to final preparations for the Chrism Mass (printing out the readings, last-minute decisions on seating, recruiting lectors, and other odds and ends). Presided at the clergy renewal of vows, the Eucharist, the blessing of oils, and the Sacrament of Unction. Met privately with e cleric for a pastoral check-in. Joined a group for lunch at Boone's, a nearby eatery and watering hole. By the time I got back to the office, it was nearly 2:30 and I was suddenly aware of being dog-tired. All the interaction with people was a great blessing, but, for an introvert, such blessing comes with a price. I settled in with a Netflix movie on my laptop and interrupted it at one point for a nap. Eventually made it out to Chick-Fil-A for a bit of dinner (I'm very fond of their diet lemonade), the


Up, put together, and across the alley for devotions and Morning Prayer in the cathedral by around 0730. Then to Hardee's drive-through for breakfast. Usual Friday extended catch-up with the Archdeacon. Organized tasks for the day. Scanned, categorized, and tagged accumulated hard-copy material in my physical in-box. Dealt substantively by email with a pastoral issue. (By "substantively" I mean ... something that requires careful attention and thought; it can't just be "dashed off.") Dealt by email with something that I would say comes under the category of "pastoral/program development." Made some technical preparations that I hope will make next week's Good Friday liturgy go more smoothly. Grabbed lunch at Taco Gringo. Brought it back to the office to eat. Wandered over to the cathedral parlor to spend some time with Mrs Hultstrand and her son, and other well-wishers who came by. Presided and preached at the Eucharist, and then the

Sermon for the Committal Eucharist for Bishop Donald Hultstrand

Springfield Cathedral, 12 April 2019 When I was a senior seminarian, thirty years ago, if you had asked me to free-associate with the words “Diocese of Springfield,” probably the first thing that would have come into my mind would have been the seventh bishop of the diocese, Bishop Chambers, who, in retirement, had gotten slightly famous for his role in the Anglican drama of the 1970s. But the second thing that would have entered my mind would have been, “Ah, that’s the diocese whose bishop is known for his teaching and enthusiasm around prayer.” Indeed, the ninth bishop of Springfield, Donald Maynard Hultstrand, was, if anything, a man of prayer, and it is my honor to now serve on the board of two organizations that meant a great deal to him—the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer, and the Living Church Foundation. When I was elected the 11 th Bishop of Springfield in 2010, I knew that I wanted all my living predecessors to be at the consecration, and I was elated that, when I called Bis

Thursday (George Selwyn)

Usual AM routine, Last week I gave birth to a homiletical message statement for Easter II (St Andrew's, Edwardsville). Today I did some child-rearing, and now have a teenager: a developed outline fleshing out that message statement. Next week: bring it to maturity in the form of a rough draft. Ran an errand with Brenda, related to her health. Grabbed some Chinese carryout for lunch from the place around the corner. Did some semi-deep cleaning on the interior of my car (taking advantage of a nice day and a stop in the street in front of our building). Processed a short stack of emails, both late arrivals and planned holdovers. Devoted some time to a substantial writing project: a pastoral teaching document on sexuality and marriage. Made some arrangements to grease the skids for our children who will receive the baton for Brenda's care while I'm in Springfield for the weekend. Asian chicken stir-fry for dinner. Packed and hit the road south right at my target time

Wednesday (William Law)

The bulk of my working time today was consumed by the preparation of a homily for the Eucharist we are celebrating on Friday prior to interring the cremated remains of Bishop Donald Hultstrand, my predecessor once-removed, in the cathedral columbarium. I also worked a bit on the diocesan communications quandary, and processed various missives from "the national church" (one of which prompted me to make a gift from my discretionary fund toward making the pensions of the clergy in the Diocese of Cuba actuarily sound; during the six or so decades of separation, nothing was paid into the pension system on their behalf). All the other usual stuff happened as well, except ... no walk, on account of rainfall at the time I wanted to take it.

Tuesday (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Usual routine: contemplative prayer and intercession beginning around 0620, Morning Prayer, tea, breakfast, internet cruising, crossword, task planning, shower. Dealt with a substantial bit of pastoral care by email. Responded briefly to a message from the Bishop of Tabora. Moved the ball downfield a few yards in the ongoing project of reassessing the diocese's communication strategy. Combed through Good Friday sermon texts from prior years. Identified one for use next week at Springfield Cathedral. Did some preliminary surgery to freshen it up. More to come. Made hotel reservations for two upcoming special events. Lunched on leftovers. Dealt by email with some significant details pertaining to this Saturday's Chrism Mass. Did some substantial internet research in connection with a pastoral issue. Long walk with Brenda on a nice afternoon. Today was the day for pastoral stuff: More focused attention, via internet research and email, on an issue quite distinct from th

Fifth Sunday in Lent

Back home earlier this evening after an energizing visitation to Redeemer, Cairo this morning (375 miles, six hours of driving). So, if you've been concerned about my absence from this venue since last Wednesday night, all is well. I'm alive and firing on all cylinders. Technology, with an assist from my memory, was the problem. It wasn't until I got to Springfield on Thursday night that I discovered I'd left my computer at home--all packed up in its case and ready to go, but forgotten nonetheless. I am theoretically capable of making blog posts from one of the office computers, but everything is so redundantly protected with app-specific passwords and multi-level authentication and the like these days, that I wasn't able to break through all the barriers Thursday night and Friday morning before I had to be available for a meeting. Then, since I had already decided that it was time to get myself a new iPad anyway, the absence of my laptop seemed to present an opport

Sermon for Lent V

Redeemer, Cairo -- Isaiah 43:16,21, John 12:1-8 , Philippians 3:4b-14, Psalm 126 Sam and George were neighbors. They both had houses that backed up against a beautiful small lake. They also both had dogs, and enjoyed a little friendly competition over whose dog was smarter or more clever or knew how to do more impressive tricks. One fine afternoon they were both in their backyards, and George said to Sam, “Watch what my dog Spot can do.” He took a stick and threw it about forty yards into the lake. Spot dove right in, swam out to the stick, grabbed it with his teeth, and proudly swam back and brought it to George, first shaking off the water from his coat the way dogs do, and getting George thoroughly soaked in the process. Sam then said with a grin, “Well, that’s nothing. Watch what my dog Rex can do.” Sam then threw a similar stick out to the same spot in the water, and commanded Rex to “Fetch!” Rex then walked on the surface of the water, getting only the bottoms of his paws we

Wednesday (St Richard of Chichester)

Usual weekday AM routine. Attended by email to some developing plans among my Class of 2011 bishop colleagues for our annual continuing education get-together in 2020. Scheduled an appointment with in individual in the ordination process to plan his theological formation program. Wrestled laboriously with the exegetical notes on the readings for the Second Sunday of Easter, when I plan to preach at St Andrew's, Edwardsville. Eventually wrangled a homiletical message statement out of the process, which I will develop into an outline next week. Created a draft liturgy program for the Chrism Mass and sent it off to the cathedral office for them to work their magic. Picked up some lunch from Pizza Hut. Took a really substantial step forward in the project of drafting a pastoral teaching on sexuality and marriage. This has been on my radar for a very long time and I'm beginning to think it will actually get done, and be in circulation by sometime this summer. Long walk on a

Tuesday (James Lloyd Breck)

Customary weekday telecommuting AM routine.  Took care of a couple of straggling domestic chores left over from yesterday (folding laundry, gathering material for tax preparer). Finish work on homily for this Sunday (Redeemer, Cairo). Lunched on leftovers. Reached out substantively by email to three individuals in the ordination process. Exchanged email messages with my ELCA counterpart regarding my making a cameo appearance at his synod's Annual Assembly in June,. Reviewed my May visitation calendar and scheduled appropriate reminders. Reviewed and annotated the most recent statement for one of my diocesan credit cards. Took a long, brisk walk with Brenda. Made a phone call in connection with some pastoral followup. Evening Prayer with Brenda.