Showing posts from October, 2019


Intercessions, Morning Prayer, tea, breakfast, crossword, task organizing. On foot 1.3 miles through blowing snow to an 0830 chiropractor appointment (which includes exercise rehab and massage sessions). Cleaned up and in the saddle at 1045. Took care of a small administrative chore. Began working on a cluster of tasks pertaining to the canonical Mission Strategy Reports from the Eucharistic Communities of the diocese. Scrounged lunch from leftovers. Took Brenda to her acupuncture appointment. Finished that issue of The Living Church that I had begin yesterday while she was needled up. Returned to the MSR project. Brought it to a conclusion right at 6pm, then prayed the Evening office.


As usual: intercessions, Morning Prayer, tea, breakfast, crossword, some internet reading. Substantive phone conversation with a colleague bishop. I was seeking feedback and advice on some pastoral-administrative issues. Reviewed a draft conflict-of-interest policy for the Living Church Foundations, and offered comments. Forwarded to the Communicator a change-of-phone-number notification from one of our clergy. Responded in moderate detail to an email inquiry from a priest from outside the diocese who is open to exploring deployment opportunities with us. Attended to a small bit of business pertaining to my membership on the Nashotah House corporation. Began cleaning up my computer desktop. It had become quite a mess. Took Brenda to a noon appointment with a new doctor, an Alzheimer's specialist. In the spirit of leaving no stone unturned. It was extraordinarily lengthy, so ... outside the normal experience of healthcare these days. Much to do by way of followup. Very late

Tuesday (James Hannington & Companions)

Usual weekday workday stuff. Exchanged emails with the Communicator over a variety of issues. Reached out by email to a potential candidate for one of the two parishes currently looking for an interim rector. Did a small bit of administrative work pertaining to next week's clergy conference. Responded to an email from one of our seminarians. Carefully read today's post on the Covenant blog, which is a sobering analysis of recent TEC attendance and membership data. Did another small bit of clergy conference-related work. Began working on producing a rough draft of a Proper 27 homily (St Matthew's, Bloomington), starting with the developed outline I created week before last. Grabbed lunch from Subway, eaten at home. Accompanied Brenda on an appointment at a nearby hair salon. Returned to the sermon work I had begun in the morning and brought it to completion. Took a first homiletical pass at the readings for Advent III (St Luke's, Springfield). Walked about 5

The Lord's Day (XX Pentecost)

On the road southbound from Mt Vernon at 8am, arriving at St Mark's, West Frankfort half an hour later. Presided and preached at their regular 0900 liturgy. It was great to see about a half dozen children in the congregation of 23. After enjoying a post-liturgical potluck, we were back in the YFNBmobile a little past 11. With a bit of time to kill before an afternoon engagement in Decatur, we stuck to secondary roads: U.S. 37 north to Salem, U.S. 50 west (with a stop at Wal*Mart) to Sandoval, U.S. 51 north to Vandalia, then a split-second decision to divert to Springfield and a brief errand at the office. But ... when we actually got close to Springfield, I realized, regretfully, that there wasn't time to go by the office and still be on time for a 3pm meeting with the MLT of St John's in Decatur, so I drove on by our exit and proceeded east on I-72. So we got an unexpected extra bit of central Illinois tourism done. The meeting with the St John's MLT took an hour-and-f

Sermon for Proper 25

St Mark’s, West Frankfort -- Luke 18:9-14 In a few minutes, we’re all going to confess our sins—no, not our specific individual sins, but the fact of our sinfulness, the fact that we are a community of sinners. Both corporately and individually, we have rebelled against God and done what He doesn’t want us to do and failed to do what He does want us to do. In our words and in our actions, we consistently fall short of the glory of God. We make a collective confession of this sort routinely, more or less at every celebration of the Eucharist outside of festival seasons. Of course, there are also occasions, both formal and informal, for private confession of specific sins. This is a spiritual discipline that enables us to face our lives with a clear conscience, over and over again, on an as-needed basis. Now, when we think of “sins,” we understandably think of bad things. We think of entering an intersection a split second after a yellow light has turned red. We think of losing our t

Saturday (Alfred the Great)

Domestic concerns until 2:30pm, when we packed up for one night and headed south through thick traffic and driving rain. With stops for gas and dinner, we arrived in Mt Vernon just a tick past 9:00pm. Tomorrow: St Mark's. West Frankfort.


Usual weekday workday routine. Traded emails with the Administrator over a handful of items, mostly 2020 calendar planning. Reviewed and approved the Archdeacon's recommendations for the disbursement of diocesan outreach funds. Responded in some detail to an email from the senior warden of one of our communities in transition. Responded to a query from one of our postulants regarding possible timelines for future events. Began the task of planning worship details for the clergy conference week after next. Broke for lunch, which involved raiding our freezer. Ran a couple of nearby (walking distance) errands with Brenda. Took a long enough walk to get my step count from 3500 to just over 10,000. Finish the earlier-begin worship planning project. Edited, refined, printed, and scheduled for posting my homily for this Sunday (St Mark's, West Frankfort). Went out to dinner at a nearby Indian-Himalayan restaurant with the entire Fort Farragut (our pet name for our building


While yesterday was the semi-annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the Living Church Foundation, today was the annual meeting of the foundation itself. (The members of the foundation are, in effect, collectively, the "owners" of The Living Church, and the board is accountable to them. Directors are elected from among the members of the foundation.) It was a lively and productive meeting of some very talented and engaged people who care deeply for the mission of TLC. We finished around 4:00pm, and I called an Uber to take me to the airport. I was there in plenty of time for a leisurely dinner, and eventually walked into my Chicago apartment a little before 10:00.

St James of Jerusalem

Began the day with 0800 Morning Prayer in an oratory with about a dozen other people, then attended the 0830 Eucharist for the feast day in the VTS chapel. (FWIW, I rather like the liturgical space of this still relatively new chapel, the music, the preaching, and most of the liturgical ceremonial--cleanly catholic. The rite itself I was rather less fond of--mostly EOW.) Then the directors of the Living Church Foundation met until around 2:20, with a brief break for lunch in situ. I then got in a brisk walk around the campus on a lovely fall afternoon before returning to the deanery for some Anglican Communion-related conversation with a small group that included the Bishop of Coventry. Dinner for directors and foundation members was at a nearby hotel restaurant.


Spent the morning tying various loose ends together--mostly responding to emails that had arrived during the run-up to and during synod. Then I was packed and in an Uber to the Jefferson Park Blue Line station at 1145, arriving at O'Hare by 1250. Grabbed lunch at a pizza place in the K-Concourse food court, and caught the 1:58 departure on American for Washington Reagan in D.C. Called another Uber, which got me to the restaurant in Alexandria where members of the Living Church board were gathering for dinner, which was lovely. Tomorrow we have our semi-annual meeting. I am the secretary of this outfit.

The Lord's Day (XIX Pentecost)

Up and out of our Litchfield hotel room in plenty of time to get to St Pauls', Carlinville for their regular 0915 liturgy. Today there was a confirmation and three receptions to add to the joy of celebrating the Eucharist. The coffee hour included an interesting exchange with one of the confirmands, an eighth grader at a Missouri Synod Lutheran school, where they tend to take religious instruction quite seriously. So her was full of incisive questions for me. On the way home, we stopped in Springfield to do some shopping, and ended our journey around 5:00pm.

Sermon for Proper 24

St Paul’s, Carlinville-- Luke 18:1–8 Over the last few years, I have made several trips by train between Springfield and Chicago. One of the nearly invariable features of that experience is the presence of one or more of what are often referred to as “panhandlers” right outside the door of Union Station. This is always an uncomfortable moment for me, full of complex emotions, even as it is when I’m stopped at a traffic signal and see a bedraggled-looking person holding a sign announcing that they’re homeless, or hungry, or both, and soliciting donations. It’s a horribly uneasy moment for me. I usually try to avoid eye contact, and breathe a sigh of relief that I can truthfully say, as I don’t even break my stride, that I don’t have any cash on me, because I usually don’t. I rationalize my behavior with the notion that they’re probably operating a scam, or they’re just going to use the money on drugs or alcohol, or that there are plenty of places they could go to get the help they ne

Saturday (Henry Martyn)

Wrapped up the 142nd annual synod of the diocese around 1030, which is about what I had expected, but not without a little election drama, with discrepancies between the number of delegates registered and the number attempting to cast ballots. We eventually got it straightened out. I gave my address announcing my retirement, we did the usual housekeeping stuff, and adjourned. I met with the Standing Committee for a few minutes, then proceeded with Brenda to Fairview Heights, where we had lunch, did some apparel shopping, and saw a movie. Then up to Litchfield for the night, ahead of tomorrow's visitation to St Paul's, Carlinville.

St Luke

Stopped by the office to print a couple of items and retrieve a couple of others. Went by the carwash on our way out of Springfield (the bugs on the windshield were sapping my morale), and arrived at the Best Western in Alton at 1130. Got checked in at the hotel and registered at the synod desk. Surveyed the environs and made some final prep. Grabbed lunch in the only restaurant in the hotel, which was slammed, so service was glacial, and the beginning of synod was delayed by 30 minutes. Once we got going, we plowed through our agenda at a good clip. We should finish in good form at a reasonable hour tomorrow. We adjourned at 4:00 and celebrated the Eucharist at St Paul's at 5:00, which was splendid. Banquet followed back at the Best Western.

Sermon for Synod Mass (St Luke)

Diocesan Synod Eucharist, 2019 -- II Timothy 4:5-13, Luke 4:14-21 One of the parishes of our diocese—and I use that term “parish” both in its commonly-understood generic sense, and in the more technical sense it has recently acquired in our canons—this particular parish, which is trying to find the best way to live out the ideal of one geographic parish with multiple Eucharistic Communities—this parish has adopted as its focus of mission: outreach to the lonely. I find this a rather compelling vision because … well … loneliness is ubiquitous. It’s all around us, and there are probably people gathered in this very congregation this afternoon who are experiencing loneliness on a very profound level. We are more connected than ever, through the various social media that have evolved. Yet we are at the same time more alone than ever, more deprived of regular, meaningful, and sustained human contact than ever before. St Paul himself, the greatest evangelist, theologian, and teacher in the

Thursday (St Ignatius of Antioch)

Chiropractic appointment first thing in the morning. Then attention to odds and ends of synod liturgy, clergy deployment, and various late-arriving emails. Eventually, it was time to get Brenda and myself packed for three nights away, and load the car, taking care of various domestic details in the process. We began our southward journey around 2:15pm, and arrived at the Doubletree in downtown Springfield about four hours later (various highway construction projects delayed us substantially. We got settled in our room, then walked over to one of our old haunts, Obed & Isaac's, for some dinner.

Wednesday (Oxford Martyrs)

The usual: Intercessions, Morning Prayer, tea, breakfast, internet reading, crossword. Dealt with some issues pertaining to the service bulletin for the synod Mass. Did the necessary surgery on a "vintage" homily for Proper 25 such that it can be prepared for repurposing at St Mark's, West Frankfort on the 27th of this month. Did the same sort of work on a text for All Saints, in preparation for visiting All Saints, Morton on November 3. Stepped out to grab a gyros lunch for Brenda and me and eat it with her at home. Took Brenda to her acupuncture appointment. Allowed by homiletical message statement for Proper 27 (November 10 in Bloomington) to explain to me how it wanted to be developed into a sermon outline. I tried to be cooperative. Consulted commentaries and did the exegetical work on the readings for Christ the King, when I will be visiting St Andrew's, Carbondale. Took a first pass at the readings for Advent II (St Barnabas', Havana). Prayed over

Tuesday (St Teresa of Àvila)

Usual early morning stuff. Dealt with a couple of pastoral-administrative matters via a email exchanges. Until mid-afternoon, with an interlude to take Brenda to a cardiology appointment, my attention was devoted to the finish work on three oral presentations in my near future: a sermon at the synod Eucharist on Friday, a "state-of-the-diocese" address to synod on Saturday, and a sermon at St Paul's, Carlinville on Sunday. Took a substantial brisk walk. Evening Prayer with Brenda. After dinner: Burned through a half dozen or so disparate ministry-related items, either through reading something or writing something, or both.

The Lord's Day (XVIII Pentecost)

Out the door and on the road with Brenda right at 0700 ahead of a nice and relatively easy drive down I-57 to Rantoul. We arrived at St Christopher's about 0905, and joined their regular 0930 liturgy. There was an excellent turnout for that small congregation, with attendance of 26, a good percentage of whom were youngsters, including a couple of babies. It's always great to see signs of new life in a community like this one. After a good time of post-liturgical visiting, we were bank on the road northbound at 1130, and home around 3:00, with a lunch stop in Kankakee.

Sermon for Proper 23

St Christopher’s, Rantoul -- Luke 17:11–19 We’re in the section of Luke’s gospel now, from sometime this past summer up until the beginning of Advent, that is sometimes referred to as the “travelogue.” Today’s reading is from Chapter 17, but back in Chapter 9 is the incident at Caesarea Philippi—which is way in the extreme north of the territory that Jesus walked around in with his followers—an incident that you’re probably familiar with, when Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” and Simon Peter finally gives the correct answer: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Shortly after that, the text tells us that Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem,” which is way in the south, and where he would, of course, suffer and die. So Jesus and his disciples are on a long and slow journey toward Jerusalem. Today his route takes him through an unnamed village. Just like any other traveler, Jesus and company are subject to the random events that travelers are subject

Friday (St Philip the Deacon)

Usual early AM weekday routine, save that I elected to move my walk (which slipped through the cracks yesterday) to the front of the day, thus leveraging the mild temperatures, which will have dropped by some twenty degrees by late afternoon. All was brilliant until the last ten minutes of the walk, when the heavens opened and I arrived home drenched. Got cleaned up, then accompanied Brenda on her cat care chore. Processed some late-arriving emails. Reviewed the PowerPoint slides the Communicator has prepared for my synod address next week. Attended to another communications-related item. Reached out to the priest-in-charge of one of the Eucharistic Communities I'm scheduled to visit soon just to confirm I'm still expected. Had a fulsome conversation Bishop John Roth, my ELCA opposite number. I called him about a relatively small matter, but the conversation took off in several directions, which was quite enjoyable. Lunched on leftovers. Wrestled with my notes on the rea

Thursday (St Paulinus of York)

Customary weekday routine. First deep dive into liturgy planning for the clergy conference. Processed a multi-faceted email from the Senior Warden of one of our communities in transition, which resulted in my taking a "supply" gig in the parish (the fifth I will have done in the last four months of the calendar year), which occasioned some remedial homiletical task planning. Dashed off a note of condolence to one of our clergy who has suffered a death in the family. Pushed an email message out to the diocesan clergy giving some details about the clergy conference. (They had received the registration materials from the Administrator yesterday.) Picked up lunch from the Chinese place around the corner. Worked on my sermon for Proper 24 (November 20 at St Paul's, Carlinville), bringing it from "developed outline" to "rough draft." Continued an email dialogue with the presenter for next month's clergy conference. Took care of some loose ends r

Wednesday (Robert Grosseteste)

Customary weekday AM routine (augmented for a few days by the chore of going up to our daughter's apartment on the third floor and feeding her cat--formerly Brenda's--while she's vacationing in New York). Did the finish work on this Sunday's homily (edit, refine, print, place output in car, schedule for posting on both blog iterations). Continued email correspondence with a priest from outside the diocese who is interested in one of our openings. Followed up on a handful of relatively small administrative tasks. Turned my attention to (another relatively small) matter pertaining to next week's annual synod of the diocese. Lunched on leftovers. Drafted a publicity blurb for next month's annual clergy conference. Vetted it via email with the presenter. Traded emails with the Administrator about the registration process. Took another look at the synod Mass booklet and sent it off to the host parish for printing. Burned through another handful of small admi


Did my early morning stuff on the back patio after lighting the grill and otherwise preparing to smoke a brisket. Took a phone call from a reporter seeking a comment on Bishop Beckwith's death. Worked through a short stack of relatively small administrative items.  Made a pastoral care phone call. Circled back to check in with a priest from outside the diocese who has expressed an interest in working in Springfield. Throughout all of this, checked periodically on the brisket. Had an early-ish lunch of leftovers. Out the door at 1230 to take Brenda to her acupuncture appointment. Back a little before 2:00. Put together a draft of the liturgy booklet for the synod Eucharist. It all went smoothly (I had a document from a prior year to use as a template), but it was nonetheless time-consuming because it involved going online to purchase graphics file of service music from Church Publishing. "Knocked off," as it were, around 3:30, in partial deference to catching up

The Lord's Day (XVII Pentecost)

Out the door of the Hilton Garden O'Fallon at 7:50 en route to a 0900 arrival 57 miles away at St Thomas', Salem. Presided and preached at their regular 0930 liturgy, not as a visitation, but as "supply priest" in the absence of Fr Baumann this weekend. Then, after a cameo appearance at coffee hour, it was on to St John's, Centralia, which Fr Baumann also takes care of, for their 1130 service. St John's worships jointly with the congregation of Redeemer Lutheran these days, under Fr Baumann's leadership, and today it was the ELCA liturgy and the Episcopal hymnal on the rota, so I tried to gamely adapt from my familiar routine with the BCP, and it seemed to go well. By around 1:45 I was back on the road northward, arriving home at 6:15. 

Sermon for Proper 21

St Thomas' Salem & St John's Centralia -- Luke 17:5-10         A good many years ago, I, along with many thousands of others, was a dedicated listener to a talk show host who was quite popular at the time and more than a little bit controversial. I found out recently she’s still on the air, on satellite radio. I’m talking about Dr Laura Schlesinger, who is a dispenser of moral advice. I don’t always agree with her analysis of the issues and problems that her callers present to her, but I like her general philosophy, her underlying attitude. Dr Laura is very much about doing the right thing, even when it’s uncomfortable, even when it’s embarrassing, even when it hurts. And, judging from the popularity of her program and books, there are apparently a good many people who are concerned about how they conduct themselves, concerned about “doing the right thing” in their interpersonal and public relationships. There are, of course, of variety a reasons for wanting to “do the


Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Breakfast at Charlie Parker's. Participated in the development of a formal email announcement to the diocese of Bishop Beckwith's death. Did the finish work on my homily for tomorrow, when I will be "supplying" at St Thomas', Salem and St John's, Centralia. Responded to a short stack of emails that had been lingering for a couple of days. Wrote a promised discretionary fund check to be hand-delivered in the afternoon. Lunch from Taco Gringo, eaten in the office. Ran a personal errand--out to Scheel's for a pair of hiking boots that can stand up to winter conditions. Moved my sermon prep for Proper 24 (October 20 in Carlinville) from "message statement" to "developed outline." Scanned, categorized, and tagged the accumulated hard copy items on my desk. Packed up my office encampment, loaded the YFNBmobile, and headed down to O'Fallon for a 4pm meeting with the Mission Leadership Team of St M

Friday (St Francis)

Up at 0500, out of the garage at 0534. In the office at 0900. Conferred with the Archdeacon briefly on a couple of things, organized my tasks, then conferred with the Archdeacon again on some additional matters, these more weighty than the previous ones. Took my developed outline of a sermon for Proper 23 (October 13 at St Christopher's, Rantoul) and brought it to the rough draft text stage. Lunch from Chick-Fil-A, eaten in the mall parking lot, listening to the radio. We have accumulated a substantial sum of money to assist with clergy healthcare insurance in the Diocese of Tabora, and it had been my intent to actually wire the funds. With the Archdeacon's help, I found the record of the last such transaction, which contained all the necessary information, and hoofed it down to Illinois National Bank. To my surprise, they've changed their policy, and will no longer work off of such forms. They require fresh information. Now, if I had just copied down the information i

Thursday (Therese of Lisieaux)

Intercessions, Morning Prayer, tea, breakfast, crossword, task planing. Hoofed it the 1.2 miles to my chiropractic appointment, then back. Spent the balance of the morning with commentaries on Luke's gospel, in preparation for preaching the readings for Proper 27 (November 10 at St Matthew's, Bloomington). Lunched on leftovers. Attended to a handful of smallish matters pertaining to synod, communication, and clergy deployment. Did master sermon planning for the period between Advent I and Epiphany Last. This is a pretty major project that happens three times a year, and involves looking over previously-used material to see whether it can be repurposed (most of the time, these days, it can't), and plotting tasks accordingly. It also involved roughing out my 2020 visitation calendar, though it's not ready to share yet. Conceived and hatched a homily for the synod Mass. Took a brisk walk on a blustery day.

Wednesday (Holy Guardian Angels)

After eight consecutive days without a day off, the last five of them having been packed with meetings, public worship, and travel, I made a prudential decision and canceled a planned day trip to Nashotah House for a meeting of the corporation members, hoping to make some headway into an extraordinarily long to-do list (78 actions items in play at the morning's count), as well as address some quotidian domestic issues, like grocery shopping and laundry. Actual personal down time will have to wait. Allowed myself to "sleep in" by about 30 minutes. Intercessions, Morning Prayer, tea, breakfast, crossword, task organizing (which took a while, because it involved clearing out my email inbox, which was stuffed). Walked Shane Spellmeyer's ordination certificate down to the post office and sent it "express priority" to Marquette, MI where it will hopefully arrive in time for his scheduled ordination (I had to outsource the deed itself to the Bishop of Northern M

Tuesday (St Remigius)

Early breakfast at the Hilton Garden, Lewisville, TX with the Bishop of Dallas and his Canon to the Ordinary. Lively conversation among good friends. Returned to my room, said my prayers, packed, and headed to DFW, which was not a long drive. Returned my rental car (from Sixt, which is a British company new on the scene here, and with which I have now had two quite positive experiences), checked my bag, cleared security, and had time for lunch at a tapas place before having to be ready to board at noon for a 12:30 departure. Everything went smoothly, and was back home at 4:00. Cleared a bunch of unprocessed emails from my inbox (creating about fifteen new tasks as a result) and got all my work back where I can see it. Read Evening Prayer. Took Brenda out for an al fresco dinner, on what is probably the last night when such will be possible this year.