Showing posts from August, 2019

Friday (Charles Chapman Grafton)

The biggest accomplishment of the day was the drafting of my next-due post for the Covenant blog. It needs a good bit of refining yet, but it's basically written. The second biggest accomplishment was a good first drive-by of the readings for Proper 23, in preparation for preaching at St Christopher's, Rantoul on October 13. The most emotionally complex accomplishment of the day was my attendance at the first of a weekend of reunion events for my 1969 high school graduating class in suburban Bensenville--a school tour, a football game, and a hangout at a nearby tap house. 

Thursday (Beheading of John the Baptist)

Usual early AM routine, abbreviated by being out the door at 0835 for chiropractic appointment. Back around 0930, finished the crossword in record time, got cleaned up and presentable. Grappled passionately with my exegetical notes on the gospel for Proper 21, in preparation for preaching at St Stephen's, Harrisburg on September 29. I finally coaxed a homiletical message statement out of the process. Made air travel arrangements to attend the October Living Church Foundation, which will take place in Alexandria, Virginia.  Lunched on leftovers. Attended to a piece of "national church" business. Got further organized toward processing the collected (and un-collected) parish Mission Strategy Reports. Turned my attention for the rest of the afternoon (and much of the evening) to a major household project. Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Wednesday (St Augustine)

Usual early AM routine. Spent the bulk of the morning continuing to make notes and otherwise organize my thoughts toward the book review I need to write. Took care of a short stack of four relatively small administrative chores.  Lunched on leftovers. Took Brenda to her acupuncture appointment. Leveraged the time by getting some reading done. Caught up on some Covenant blog reading. Did a bit of homiletical planning/organization. Set to work on my ongoing basement organization project. Got really bogged down and hit a bit of a wall putting a shelving unit together. May need outside help. Took a substantial walk, praying the short form of the evening office along the way.

Tuesday (Thomas Gallaudet)

Usual workday weekday early AM routine. Tried to stay ahead of a flurry of incoming emails, each of which required only a brief response (i.e. within the two-minute rule), but they add up. Continued to attend via email to a continuously developing "situation" in one of our parishes. It's hard when the narratives I hear are wildly divergent. And time-consuming. Made air travel, lodging, and car rental arrangements for a trip to the Dallas area to ordain Jonathan Totty to the priesthood on September 30. Lunched on leftovers. Read and responded to an email from a cleric of the diocese. Read and responded to a query from a postulant of the diocese. Plotted and scheduled the various task I need to accomplish to be personally ready for the annual diocesan synod in October. Did reconstructive surgery on an old sermon text for Proper 18, in anticipation of preaching at St George's, Belleville on September 8. Caught up on my Covenant blog reading. Shared an item to F

The Lord's Day (XI Pentecost)

Out of my hotel accommodations in Glen Carbon in time to arrive at St Bartholomew's in Granite City about 30 minutes ahead of the regular 0930 Eucharist. Presided and preached for the small but dedicated band of regulars there, along with Fr Scott Hoogerhyde, who regularly takes care of them. After some post-liturgical visiting, it was time to head up to Edwardsville for a lunch appointment with a lay leader in one of our communities. Then, about 35 minutes back south on I-255 to Toddhall, where it was my joy once again to preside and breach the closing Mass for the Cursillo weekend. It was back in my car heading out at 4:50, and home exactly six hours later (after a brief stop at the office in Springfield, dinner in Lincoln, and gas in Odell).

Sermon for Proper 16

St Bartholomew’s, Granite City -- Hebrews 12:18–29                        One of the attributes of God is that God does not change. In a universe full of change, God is the one constant, a fixed point. We can depend on God to be who God is, to be consistent with his own nature. But the way human beings speak about God changes all the time. Sometimes we talk about God as distant, severe, a Supreme Being who provokes us to fear and trembling. At other times, we imagine God as nearby, a kind and merciful Grandfather figure. Perhaps you’ve heard of a famous sermon given by the New England Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards in the early 1700s. It’s known by the title Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Edwards paints such a vivid picture of eternal damnation that you can feel the flames of Hell beginning to singe the hair on your arms! And then, by contrast, there the lyrics of “praise choruses” in the “Contemporary Christian Music” genre that have led some critics to sarcastically su

St Bartholomew

Made the very short (5-7 minutes) drive from my hotel in Columbia to Toddhall in time for my scheduled 0930 presentation on the sacraments at the Cursillo weekend. It went well, though I could have talked much longer. It's a big subject! After a brief break, I presided and preached at a Eucharist in which we observed today's feast day. Not much is known about Bartholomew, so I spoke about apostolicity and apostleship in genera. I grabbed lunch from Burger King on my way out of town, and drove up to Fairview Heights to get some steps in by walking around St Clair Square mall. Malls are kind of sad places these days. Having killed sufficient time, I kept going north and slightly west to the Hampton Inn in Glen Carbon, my home for the night. Took a necessary nap, did some reading (the novel I'm in the midst of), and processed a few emails that were stragglers from yesterday. Drove back down to Fairview Heights for a dinner of Thai food, then enough walking back around the hote


Up at 0500 so as to be in the road to Springfield at 0530. I ended up eight minutes behind schedule, but still got to the office right at the targeted 0900. Had the predictable extended discussion with the Archdeacon on a range of issues. Processed the thick stack of hard-copy items on my desk, most of it having accumulated during my vacation, since last weekend was so jammed I didn't get to deal with it. Refined, edited, printed, and scheduled for posting the text of my homily for this Sunday (at St Bartholomew's, Granite City, and probably some version of it at the Cursillo closing Eucharist on Sunday afternoon). Did my due diligence on a request for consent to the consecration of the bishop-elect of Montana. Unable to find any red flags, I consented. Lunch at Chick-Fil-A, then a brief personal shopping expedition at Best Buy. Made significantly more progress on the pastoral issue affecting one of our communities about which I cannot yet say anything. Took a phone cal

Thursday (Mary, Queen of Heaven)

Morning preliminaries done in time for me to be out the door to another chiropractic appointment by 0735. Back home a little past 0930. Organized tasks for the day, took a couple of phone calls from diocesan clergy, did the crossword, got cleaned up. Reviewed the draft minutes of the August Diocesan Council meeting sent to me by the Secretary. Suggested a typo correction. Began the process of reviewing Mission Strategy Reports from the Eucharistic Communities. Lunched on leftovers. Dealt with some details pertaining to a couple of upcoming ordinations to the priesthood. Moved the ball considerably down the field toward the clarification and resolution of a significant pastoral issue related to one of our communities. (Sorry about the vagueness; all will be revealed in due course.) Continued to an organic stopping point with the Mission Strategy Reports. Goosed the conversation along with the board chair of the Society of King Charles the Martyr, looping in the Archdeacon and t


Usual morning routine. Responded to an email from the Senior Warden of one of our Eucharistic Communities that will soon be in transition. Trying to set a time for an initial vacancy consultation. Took care of some bits of administrative business toward the end of being able to set ordination dates for our two transitional deacons, and making sure someone who has been nominated for postulancy will get in front of the Commission on Ministry. Turned my attention to a rather substantial administrative issue and sent the results of my work off to those who will know whether I did an adequate job. Read another big chunk of Dignity, the book I'm committed to reviewing for The Living Church . Almost done with it. Drove to one of the local parish churches for an appointment with a priest who has expressed in interest in exploring the vacancies that we have in the diocese. Lunched (a bit late) at home on leftovers. Had a substantive phone conversation with the bishop of another dioc

Tuesday (St Bernard)

Prayers, tea, breakfast, and crossword in the usual fashion. Then out at 0735 for a chiropractic appointment at 0800.  Back around 0915. Got cleaned up. Planned tasks for the day. Took a phone call from one of the clergy of the diocese. Stepped out to take Brenda to a 1030 acupuncture appointment. Picked up some Italian beef sandwiches from Al's Beef on the way home. They make the absolute best. Ate in front of an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles. Yes, I can have pretty trashy taste in TV at times. Composed and sent a substantive email to a colleague bishop about a rather sensitive and complex issue about which I can presently say nothing specific. Took care of a fairly small duty in connection with my role as board secretary of the Living Church Foundation. Dealt at considerable length with an emerging pastoral issue in one of our Eucharistic Communities. Took care of a loose end related to my registration for next month's House of Bishops meeting. Emailed the presenter f

The Lord's Day (X Pentecost)

Presided and preached both morning liturgies at St Andrew's, Edwardsville, which was an extraordinary visitation in view of the recent sudden and unexpected departure of the still-new rector last month (made possible by the fact that services at St Mary's, Robinson are on Saturday evenings for the time being). After coffee hour, I spent some time with a combined meeting of the MLT and Search Committee taking stock of their situation and roughing out some plans. Began the drive home about 12:45, and it took me all of six hours to get there, owing to two cars catching on fire in the middle of a bridge across the Illinois River, about a huindred yards in front of me, which necessitated a bunch of traffic being rerouted. 

Sermon for Proper 15

St Mary’s, Robinson; St Andrew’s, Edwardsville -- Hebrews 12:1-14 ,  Luke 12:49-56 Our attention was riveted in horror earlier this month by a series of mass shootings in quick succession—in California, Texas, and Ohio. On the same weekend that two of those events happened, there were several independent gun violence incidents just in the city of Chicago, and seven people were killed. My only point in bringing that up is that, in the words of Gilda Radner’s Saturday Night Live character from the 1970s, “It’s always something.” We are indeed regularly faced with the reality that “it’s always something.” If it’s not violence caused by human beings, it’s violence caused by nature: earthquakes, fires, floods, and storms are simply a ubiquitous part of human experience. Plane crashes, computer viruses, internet hacks, and industrial accidents will just happen. The same goes for organized crime, cancer, and flesh-eating bacteria. Even when people aren’t getting shot, drugs still get sold


Today was pedal-to-the-metal from beginning to end (and I do mean that metaphorically, even though I did a prodigious amount of driving). Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Breakfast from McD's, eaten in the car. Made liturgical/homiletical preparations for the Diocesan Council Mass. Got my office encampment securely packed up, with appropriate items loaded in the car. Presided and preached at the Mass (10am). Presided at the regular August meeting of the Diocesan Council. Discussion was rather livelier than usual at times, but I think we got an important snag sorted out.  Met with a priest of the dioceses to discuss some discernment issues in significant detail. Took an unscheduled meeting with another priest over a vexing pastoral issue. I had to cut it a little short, owing to my need to be on the road in a timely manner. Headed out of town at 2:30, stopping for gas and a drive-through burger on South Grand Avenue. Arrived at St Mary's, Robinson around 5:10, ahead o


Up and out and across the alley to the cathedral for intercessions and Morning Prayer at 0735. Then breakfast at Hardee's. Long wide-ranging catchup conversation with the Archdeacon, consuming most of the morning. Made hotel reservations, belatedly, for the House of Bishops meeting in Minneapolis next month. Somehow, the original email didn't find its way into my inbox when it was sent. Stepped out at 11:30 for an early lunch at Chick-Fil-A, ahead of a 12:15 appointment at the blood bank. Unfortunately, my hemoglobin was a bit on the low side, so they didn't allow me to donate. Not quite sure what went wrong. Back at the office, then, I had a bit of a wrestling match with Microsoft Excel, which I need to use for a little project I'm working on. When you don't use something very often ... Between 2:00 and 4:00, I was tutoring an individual in the ordination process who already has a great deal of theological education. The one area where he needs some filling o

St Mary the Virgin

Customary early AM weekday workday routine. Out the door at 0735 for my 0800 appointment at the chiropractor. (The occasion includes chiropractic adjustment, rehab exercise, and massage therapy). Back home at 0930. Organized my tasks, visited with our daughter for a bit, got cleaned up. Spoke to an advice nurse by phone about a lightly mysterious sore throat. Substantive phone conversation with a priest from outside the diocese about the feasibility of his serving in the Diocese of Springfield. Lunch from Subway, eaten at home. Spoke by phone with a priest of the diocese on a pastoral concern. Ran a quick errand to the nearby Walgreens. Yet another substantive phone conversation with a priest from outside about potential deployment within. Made an initial homiletical drive-by of the readings for Proper 21, in preparation for preaching at St Stephen's, Harrisburg on September 29, Reviewed and responded to a request for a marital judgment. Composed and sent a carefully-wo

Wednesday (Jonathan Myrick Daniels)

Customary weekday early AM working routine. Continued substantive pastoral correspondence with a layperson of the diocese over discernment issues. Carefully attended to some pragmatic details of a clergy discipline situation. Took care of a brief administrative detail. Developed my homiletical notes on Proper 16 (St Bartholomew's, Granite City) into a rough draft. Lunched on leftovers. Reviewed the résumé and cover letter of a priest from outside the diocese with an eye toward potential deployment with us. Continued my focus on deployment issues with a detailed inquiry to the Archdeacon and Chancellor. Bit off another large chunk of the book I'm reviewing foe The Living Church . This chapter had a good bit to do with the community of Cairo, part of the diocese, so it was of particular interest to me. I'm about three-quarters of the way through the volume now. Went online and ordered some shelving units for my basement. The project continues. Attended to a bit of

Tuesday (Jeremy Taylor)

Intercessions, Morning Prayer, tea, breakfast, social media cruising, crossword, task planning, shower. Took care of a small accounting matter with the Diocesan Administrator via email. Engaged the Communications Coordinator over her evolving plans for the Springfield Current . Corresponded by email with three potential candidates for the four impending diocesan clergy vacancies. Ran an errand to a nearby Staples for inkjet printer cartridges. They always seem to run low at the most inopportune times. Executed some forms at the behest of my tax preparer. Spoke by phone with a priest from outside the diocese on a potential clergy disciplinary matter. Lunched on leftovers. Consulted via email with the Chancellor and the Archdeacon over (another) clergy disciplinary matter. Put some more finishing touches on my draft pastoral teaching document and sent it out to some friends and colleagues for peer review and critique. Read another in the collection of catechetical tracts recen


Prayers, tea, and breakfast per usual. Took a long and vigorous walk while the cool of the morning still endured. Got cleaned up and planned tasks for the day. Took care of another income tax detail and puttered around a bit getting the apartment ready for some weekend guests (Brenda's college roommate and her husband). Dealt with some communication and clergy deployment issues. Lunched on leftovers. Dealt via a chain of email exchanges with a sensitive pastoral-administrative matter., More clergy deployment issues. Prayed the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary. Made travel arrangements for my next DEPO visitation to Trinity, Yazoo City, MS. Turns out Amtrak will work really well. Welcomed our friends who drove up from Tennessee and spent the evening with them.

Thursday (St Dominic)

Up for prayers, tea, and a breakfast muffin before briskly walking the one-plus miles to my 0800 chiropractic appointment. Back home around 0900. Worked the crossword, planned tasks for the day, showered, and got laundry started. Sent a brief email to my tax preparer with a couple of questions. Email exchange with the rector of my DEPO parish, We need to reschedule my visitation. Substantive phone conversation with the senior warden of one of our Eucharistic Communities that is facing a pastoral vacancy. Engaged in a bit of internet pastoral care, responding to a long email from a lay communicant of the diocese with another longish email of my own. Lunched at home on leftovers. More significant progress on my pastoral teaching document. Developed my homiletical message statement for Proper 16 (St Bartholomew's, Granite City) into an outline that I can further develop into a draft text next week. Did a major chunk of reading in the book I've promised to review for The

Wednesday (John Mason Neale)

I guess there have to be days like this from time to time. It must be in the Law of the Medes and the Persians. Or something. The first half was actually pretty good. I prayed, I had tea and breakfast, and I did the crossword in a reasonable time. I had significant email interactions with the Communications Coordinator. I gathered the documents I would need to renew my driver's license (stay tuned) and mentally mapped out a homily for the Mass I was scheduled to celebrate at noon at the Church of the Ascension. I sent an email to the priest of my DEPO parish, where I am scheduled to visit in a week's time. At 1115, Brenda and I were out the door to Ascension, where we celebrated the feast of the Transfiguration a day late, and it all went splendidly well. We then hopped on the CTA Red Line train to downtown, since my notice from the Secretary of State's office said I qualify for an "Express Service" location, and it was a straight shot. Got there only to find ou


... aaaaaand we're back. Vacation was great. We got some time with family and friends in California and Oregon. Then some lovely beach time on the Florida gulf coast. The "staycation" portion of the time featured some major progress toward basement organization, the chief sign of which is that there are only token amounts of cardboard and packing paper left to be seen.  As one might imagine, there was a pretty big pile of emails waiting for me when I logged onto my diocesan account this morning. I spent the entire morning and a portion of the afternoon getting caught up on them. Spoke with two parish clergy by phone. Checked another box toward the publication of my pastoral teaching on sexuality and marriage. Did some major cosmetic surgery on a sermon text for Proper 15, in preparation for preaching at St Mary's, Robinson on the evening of the 17th and St Andrew's, Edwardsville on the morning of the 18th. Made an initial dent in reading a book I've promised