Showing posts from May, 2019

Visitation of the BVM

Up and out of the Chicago abode at the unrighteous hour of 0545am. The intent was to avoid morning commute traffic, and I largely succeeded. This put me in my Springfield office by 0915. I settled in, processed accumulated hard-copy items on my desk, responded to a couple of emails, and began my due diligence research on a request from a diocese for consent to the consecration of their bishop-elect. Broke off from this at 1045 to welcome my 1100 appointment, who arrived early. This was a new postulant, in to discuss his theological formation process toward ordination. It was a productive 75-minute conversation. Lunch from Chick-Fil-A, followed by a shoe-shopping errand at Scheel's (successful) and quick check-in over a small matter at the Mazda service department (also successful). Back at the office, did finish work on this Sunday's homily (St John's, Albion), took a necessary 25-minute nap to compensate for my early start to the day, spent a devotional "holy hour&quo


The principal productive accomplishment of the day was some major progress on my Pastoral Teaching on Sexuality and Marriage writing project. It's coming along nicely. Also made encouraging progress toward filling the Communications Coordinator vacancy. In the evening, Brenda and I kept the feast of the Ascension at ... where better ... the Church of the Ascension in Chicago.

Rogation Wednesday

Usual routine at both ends of the day. Spoke by phone with a priest of the diocese on a pastoral matter. Registered for the Province V bishops' meeting next month. Responded to an email message from the Bishop of Tabora. Ran a health-related shopping errand. But the big accomplishment was taking the developed outline of my Pentecost homily (St Michael's, O'Fallon) and turning it into a rough draft text.

Tuesday (Christ the High Priest)

The two "big rocks" on my calendar were a doctor's appointment for Brenda and a physical therapy appointment for myself. Around those commitments, I caught up on a significant stack of email responses.

Sixth Sunday of Easter

This was one of those rare Sundays when I didn't have a parish visitation scheduled, so I remained in Chicago and accepted an invitation to preach at the 0900 and 1100 liturgies at the Church of the Ascension here (and celebrate at the latter as well). It'a a complete joy to minister in word and sacrament under any circumstances, but particularly in a place where I don't actually have any responsibility! I arrived home properly tired, scrounged up some lunch from leftovers, indulged in a Netflix movie, and took a very long walk with Brenda.

Sermon for Easter VI (Rogation)

Ascension, Chicago    Revelation 21:22–22:5,  Psalm 67                                                                                                                                                                                                “Oh, who can make a flower? I know I can’t, can you?” That’s the opening line of a Sunday School song which, for some inexplicable reason, still takes up space in my brain sixty-some odd years later. “Oh, who can make a flower? I know I can’t, can you?” It’s an expression of childlike simplicity, to be sure, but also reveals a profound truth. It gives voice to the very first article of the Christian creeds: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth . . . of all that is, seen and unseen.” Creation is the first activity we attribute to God because, without it, we ourselves would not be. It is through the created order  that our lives are made possible, and conceived, and formed and nourished and sustained. I

Friday (Jackson Kemper)

Usual weekday telecommuting early AM routine. Traded emails with the rector of Ascension, Chicago, where I will be making another guest appearance on Sunday. Hoofed down to the Swedish Covenant Hospital complex (about four blocks) for an occupational therapy appointment to do with my wrist injury from January of *last* year. Took care of a timely bit of personal financial business. Lunched on leftovers. Hoofed it once again, this time in a different direction, for a 1pm psychotherapy appointment. Spoke by Skype with a candidate for the Communications Coordinator vacancy. Stepped upstairs for a short family celebration of Hattie's *actual* birthday (her ceremonial birthday having been observed last Sunday). Dealt via email with a pastoral/liturgical issue raised by one of our parish clergy. Responded to a financial/administrative inquiry from the Administrator. Reviewed and revised the Communications Coordinator job description. Reviewed some materials pertaining to the


Another blessedly un-rushed morning. Breakfast at the Hilton Garden. Then, after assembling our belongings, we headed to the St John's Northwestern Military Academy chapel for the Nashotah House commencement ceremonies and Eucharist. It was, as always, a splendid occasion. It was a special joy to watch Springfield seminarians, the Deacons Shane Spellmeyer and Jonathan Totty receive their degrees. Back on campus, there was the usual luncheon under the tent, after which Brenda and I hit the road in a southerly direction in time to enjoy some grilled meats and vegetables with our daughter and son and daughter-in-law and her parents, visiting from Tennessee, in our backyard on a lovely evening.


Had breakfast with Brenda at the Hilton Garden, then returned to our room to spend about an hour-and-a-half processing email, both late-arriving and stuff that's been waiting a day or two. Then we returned to the Nashotah campus and did some walking around on a day that started out foreboding but was getting more beautiful my the minute. This included some time spent in the cemetery, which we expect our mortal remains will one day inhabit. When I first got to know this piece of real estate in the 80s, it was kind of abstract. Now it's populated by several whom I actually have known, so it's more concrete and poignant. We also sat in on an Alumni Day lecture by Dr Garwood Anderson, who, before he became President/Provost, was a New Testament professor. He talked about preaching during Ordinary Time, Year C. We moved on to the refectory for the Alumni Day luncheon, which honored both alumni and tomorrow's graduates. It was a joy to share the meal with the three other memb

Tuesday (St Alcuin)

On the road northbound with Brenda at 0830. With a stop for breakfast along the way, we arrived at Nashotah House just in time for the first scheduled event for members of the corporation. (While I am no longer a member of the Board of Directors, the ones who do all the governance heavy lifting, I remain a member of the corporation, the legal "owner" of Nashotah House, and the body to which the Directors are accountable.) These activities continued throughout the day, with a break for evensong, concluding with dinner in the evening. Tomorrow is devoted to alumni activities (this is my class's thirty year anniversary of graduation), and commencement is on Thursday (Springfield has two seminarians graduating). 

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Up and out of my Decatur hotel room in time to show up at St John's and celebrate/preach at 0730. Took some downtime for breakfast between services, then back unto action at 1000, where we confirmed one adult. After a delightful Sunday brunch with Fr Swan, I headed north, and arrived at home just in time for granddaughter Hattie's birthday party (she's three). A good day.

Sermon for Easter V

St John’s, Decatur -- John 13:31-35 Back in the early years of the second century—so, barely a hundred years after Jesus walked this earth—there was a young Roman official by the name of Pliny, who was governor of the province of Bithynia, which is in what we now know as northern Turkey.  Pliny had a vexing problem that was putting him in an ever more awkward position. There was an offbeat religious sect called Christianity that was beginning to enjoy substantial growth in his province.  Pliny viewed any such cohesive group as a threat to the social order, so his practice was to simply execute anyone who publicly admitted to being a Christian. But the sheer number of Christians that he was putting to death was starting to become embarrassingly high, which was itself a threat to the social order, so he decided to "punt,” and wrote a letter to Trajan, the emperor in Rome, asking for advice. Pliny's letter to Trajan somehow managed to survive the centuries, and has come down


Up, out, and across the alley for Morning Prayer around 0745. Then down to Charlie Parker's for breakfast. Back at the office, I started in on a long list of about 18 tasks, most of which were generated by emails over the last three days. Broke away and 1000 to attend the Commission on Ministry meeting, which lasted until 12:30. Off to run some personal errands: the Mazda dealer (service dept. closed), Chick-Fil-A, Barnes & Noble (birthday gift for Hattie), carwash, and HyVee (for a grocery item that is easier to find in Springfield than in Chicago). Back to the office and back to the task list, which, with a break for Evening Prayer, I mostly completed by around 7:15.  Packed up and headed east on I-72. Checked into my Hampton Inn room in Decatur/Forsyth. Walked to a nearby Cheddar's for a late supper.


Awoke in my office encampment, got myself put together, and slipped across the alley for devotions and Morning Prayer in the cathedral a little before 0800. Made a breakfast run to Hardee's (chicken biscuit) and ate it on the way back to the office. Took care of a couple of small administrative items with Sue. Made necessary preparations to celebrate the Eucharist ahead of the Diocesan Council meeting (feria for Friday in the Fourth Week of Easter). Presided and preached the Mass, and then presided over the Council meeting. It was a little longer and more involved than the May meeting usually is, but productive; candid, but not rancorous.  Kept a 1230 lunch appointment with my ELCA opposite number, Bishop John Roth. I highly value our friendship, and wish we could get together more often. Kept an appointment with a cleric of the diocese to discuss an ongoing pastoral/administrative matter of some substantive seriousness. It will continue to be ongoing for a while. Spoke by


Spent most of the daytime hours in session with the board of the Living Church Foundation (of which I am the secretary, so I had to multitask) at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lexington, KY. TLC is doing some cutting-edge work, and I'm honored and excited to be part of overseeing that vital ministry. Hit the road westward around 3:30 EDT and arrived in my office encampment in Springfield around 9:15 CDT. 


A day of travel, and a bit of camaraderie at the end. Left Chicago via YFNBmobile at 0930. Arrived at the Hilton in downtown Lexington, KY around 5:15 pm EDT. Got settled in, then hiked about 1.25 miles to have dinner with members of the board of directors of the Living Church Foundation (I am now the senior member of the board; fancy that). Tomorrow is our semi-annual meeting. (For the record, I also hiked that same 1.25 miles back to the Hilton. Came just shy of my 10K step goal for the day.)


First things first: Rose, lit coals in the Big Green Egg, prepared a brisket for smoking, and got it on the grill. Tea, breakfast, processing email, cruising Facebook. This involved sharing an article of mine that appeared on the Covenant blog today. Composed and sent an Ad Clerum , letter to the the clergy (actually, just Rectors, Vicars, and Priest-in-Charge, since it had to do with some practical liturgical matters). Did some investigative planning for the drive I plan to take tomorrow to Lexington, KY for a meeting of the board of the the Living Church Foundation. Checked into my hotel room online. Showered, dressed, and did my physical therapy exercises. My back is a bit of a mess since I tackled a household project on Sunday afternoon that required me to twist and contort myself inordinately. I hope the exercises (a more circumspect version of twisting and contorting) help. Organized tasks for what's left of the day. Went on a health-related shopping errand with/for B


Once in a blue moon--due, no doubt, to my airtight task management system and Puritan work ethic--I complete all the ministry-related actions I have assigned myself for a week within that week. After an email to the Senior Warden of one of our Eucharistic Communities this morning, that's the position I found myself in. It will be eons before it happens again, and I elected to ride the wave and turn my attention to my *domestic* to-do list, which is still quite fulsome. We will return to regularly-scheduled programming quite soon, I'm sure. But since I don't have a visitation this weekend, I will take a hiatus from this corner of cyberspace until next Tuesday.

Thursday (St Gregory Nazianzus)

Usual early-AM weekday routine. Engaged the homiletical message statement for Pentecost (St Michael's, O'Fallon) that I developed last week and built it out into detailed outline from which I can derive a full text when next I put my shoulder to the plow on this,. Drafted and sent (via Sue) a letter appointing Fr Scott Hoogerhyde as Priest-in-Charge of St Bartholomew's, Granite City and chaplain to the daycare community at St Thomas', Glen Carbon. Lunched on leftovers. Posted a link to "Thy Kingdom Come" resources on the diocesan Facebook page. Reached out by email to a possible (fingers crossed) conductor for the 2020 clergy pre-Lenten retreat next February. Studied some materials pertaining to business that will come before the corporation of Nashotah House at the annual meeting in a couple of weeks. Drove with Brenda the two miles between our apartment and Foster Avenue beach on Lake Michigan, where we parked the car and walked south the Montrose Be

Wednesday (Julian of Norwich)

Usual telecommuting weekday early AM routine. Confirmed the commitment of a presenter for our November clergy conference. Dealt immediately with an incoming email about an important pastoral-administrative development. Got under the hood of a very old (around 25 years) homily text for Easter VI and rehabbed it for use this year as I make another guest appearance at Ascension, Chicago (no visitation that weekend). Drafted and sent a substantive email to the Treasurer and the Chair of the Finance Committee regarding the financial parameters of how we proceed with regard to vacancy in communications. Lunched on leftovers. Connected by phone with a consultant whom we have used in the past regarding the possibility of his working with another of our Eucharistic Communities. Devoted the bulk of the afternoon to my ongoing writing project--a pastoral teaching document on marriage and sexuality. Worked an hour on one of my other ongoing projects--bringing some order to the chaos of my


Customary early-AM weekday routine. Attended by email to a fairly serious pastoral-administrative issue. Moved the ball a couple of yards downfield toward securing a presenter for November's clergy conference. Responded to a request from a colleague bishop for some insight on a canonical matter. Responded substantively to one of our parish clergy on two distinct concerns. Took steps to give more concrete shape to the diocese's participation in the "Thy Kingdom Come" prayer initiative between Ascension and Pentecost. Broke off from that effort to keep a physical therapy appointment. Took Brenda to a post-surgical wound check and device adjustment. Lunched--very late--on leftovers. Re-engaged and completed the "Thy Kingdom Come" task. Attended in a fair amount of detail to a pastoral-administrative issue. Finished the draft of the Covenant blog post I began last week. Sent it off to the editor. Evening Prayer with Brenda. After dinner (while watc

Third Sunday of Easter

Presided and preached at two lively liturgies in the Episcopal Parish of Alton: 018 at Trinity Chapel in "upper Alton" and 1030 at St Paul's Church in "lower Alton." Confirmed a family of three on the latter occasion. Visited with folks during the coffee hour, then loaded up and headed home, arriving at 5:45. I do love my job.

Sermon for Easter III

Alton Parish-- J ohn 21:1-14 One of my favorite movies is an Otto Preminger film from the 1960s called Hurry Sundown . The cast includes Jane Fonda and Michael Caine, and it’s a compelling story about tense race relations in rural Georgia just after World War II. However, my interest is narrower—one might even say “professional.” Many of the characters in the movie happen to be Episcopalian, and two of the scenes take place in the church, during worship. One of these is on a regular Sunday morning—at Morning Prayer, to be specific, as it used to be done across the Episcopal Church a half century ago. The other church scene is an ordination to the priesthood. The bishop is there, and, of course, the ordinand, the new priest in the community. During the administration of Holy Communion, the chalice is offered to one of the worshipers, a black woman. She drinks from it, and then it’s offered to the next person, a white man of some prominence in the community. But instead of drinking fro

Saturday (St Monnica)

Allowed myself a bit of a "lie-in" in my office encampment. Emerged around 0800 to read Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Then motored over to IHOP on the west side for a leisurely breakfast. Returned, did my personal ablutions, continued processing hard-copy items on my desk, took care of a handful of emails. At 1100, met for about 90 minutes with one of our postulants, to discuss his theological formation process. Changed into casual attire and headed out for some personal shopping errands (my old familiar Springfield patterns still appeal to me more than my newer Chicago ones.) Back to the office, packed up, and hit the road southbound around 3pm. Arrived at the Hampton Inn in Alton about 90 minutes later. Got settled, changed back into uniform, send a couple of texts, and made my way down the hill to "lower Alton" (which is having a too-close encounter with the Mississippi River at the moment) and joined the MLT and Rector (and spouses) of Alton Parish for dinner


Broke camp in my office and headed across the alley for Morning Prayer around 0730. With a stop at the McD's drive-thru, took the YFNBmobile down to Green Mazda and dropped it off for scheduled maintenance. Caught an Uber back to the office. Culled hard-copy accumulation, processed email, triaged tasks, and otherwise organized my day. Attended the regular semi-annual meeting of the diocesan trustees. Went to lunch with Fr Mark Evsns. We walked over to Obed & lsaac's. Sat down to process email and got a phone call from the Mazda dealer saying my car was ready. Fr Evans drove me down there to get it. Met for two hours with three clergy of the diocese for a second go-round of mystagogy, extending what we explored on the clergy retreat in February. There will be more. It was a rich time. Prayed the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary in the cathedral (each of which is represented by a glorious stained-glass window in the chancel), followed by Evening Prayer. Waled to Joe

Friday (St Athanasius)

The start to the day was normal, but, aside from a handful of email and text exchanges (and one brief phone call), the day was consumed by personal chores and errands: getting a haircut, keeping appointments with my doctor and my therapist, and a health-related shopping errand with Brenda. Then, per usual, I loaded up and headed south right at 7pm and arrived right on schedule at my office encampment in Springfield at 10:30.

Ss Philip & James

Customary early-AM weekday routine. Performed some routine change-of-month calendar maintenance. Devoted some time and energy toward trying to figure out the best way to proceed toward maximizing the effectiveness of the diocesan communications apparatus. Made an appointment for then YFNBmobile to be serviced on Friday. Via an email exchange, made some incremental progress in a Christian formation project that is dear to my heart. Wrestled with the readings for Pentecost until I forced them to yield a homiletical message statement for the occasion (which will occur at St Michael's, O'Fallon). Lunch from Subway, eaten at home. Turned my attention to the pastoral teaching document on sexuality and marriage that I've been working on.  Laid it aside to take Brenda to a post-surgical checkup. Then we leveraged the fact that we were out and about on foot to turn the endeavor into a proper walk. Returned to the writing project and ended up with a rough draft of the next