Showing posts from November, 2019

St Andrew

Took a long walk on a very inclement morning ... did the finish work on my homily for tomorrow ... packed and loaded the YFNBmobile, heading south at 2:40, and arriving in O'Fallon six hours later, with brief stop in the office in Springfield, and dinner as well while I was in town.


The morning was productive in the ministry-related sense. Created a developed outline for my Advent III sermon (St Luke's, Springfield). Took a substantive phone call from a priest of the diocese. The remainder of the day required my attention to Brenda's health: first dental (a serious and time-consuming procedure happened), then a substantive meeting with her memory care specialist. On now to Thanksgiving and the day after out in the suburbs with my family-of-origin and offspring and offspring's offspring. Catch you back in this space sometime over the weekend.


Regular morning stuff. After more than a year, our domestic oratory is beginning to have that "prayed-in" feel. Corresponded with the Senior Warden of one of our Eucharistic Communities in transition around multiple points. Dealt with a handful of administrative-pastoral items. Corresponded with the Lambeth Conference office regarding some details of my attendance. Took care of some business with our Communicator. Lunched on leftovers. With some substantial walking in the middle, spent the afternoon drafting a sermon for Advent II (St Barnabas', Havana). Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Christ the King

Up and out of the Hampton Inn, Marion around 0715. Breakfast at the nearby Bob Evans iteration. Then on to St Andrew's, where I fielded questions at the 0900 adult forum. At 1000, I presided, preached, and received one adult. Tasty potluck followed. There is an almost tangible good vibe at St Andrew's nowadays. They seem to be very happy under the care of the interim rector, Fr Dale Coleman.  A little past noon, Brenda and I headed east on State Route 13 all the way to Harrisburg for a meeting with Fr Tim Goodman, and his wife Carol. Fr Tim compares himself to a Timex watch--takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. He seems to have more lives than a cat. After what he's been through, I was amazed to even be having such a conversation with him. He celebrated Mass from his wheelchair this morning, and his aspirational trajectory is to be able to walk unassisted and preside standing by Easter. May blessings abound.  So we hit the road northbound at 1:30opm and arrived

Ser on for Christ the King

St Andrew’s, Carbondale -- Luke 23:33–43, Colossians 1:11–20 A week from now, we’ll be able to say “Happy New Year” in church, right? Today is the final Sunday of the liturgical year, and next Sunday is the beginning of the new one, the beginning of Advent. Yet, even though we’re technically talking about two distinct church years in a repeating cycle, one leads smoothly into the next. The end of the old year is actually powerfully connected to the beginning of the new one. If you look in the Prayer Book, you won’t find any such season as “pre-Advent.” But, if you’ve paid close attention to the readings for the last two Sundays, as well as those for today, you’ve seen how the end of one liturgical year tees up the next one, with material from various sources about God bringing a conclusion to the long story that we live in the middle of. Some of it is direct, some of it is subtle, but it all points in the same direction. So, next Sunday is all about Jesus returning in power and great

Saturday (St Clement of Rome)

Brenda was much better this morning. So, she came with me to Carbondale, where we are spending the night. Left around 1120 and got to Marion at 4:15pm. Quickly checked in at the Hampton, changed clothes, and drove over to St James Chapel, where we celebrated the Vigil Mass with a small congregation. Then off to the home of Trish Guyon of St Andrew's, Carbondale for dinner with MLT and spouses. It's always a delightful time. 

Friday (C.S. Lewis)

With Brenda still hospitalized, attended by our oldest daughter, I headed south at 0510 this morning, and arrived at the diocesan office at 0830. Prepared to preside and preach at the Diocesan Council Mass, and got some things in order for the meeting. Did the liturgy (keeping the lesser feast of C.S. Lewis), then did the meeting. It was productive and fruitful. Kept a lunch engagement with the President of the Standing Committee. Enjoyed another two-hour tutorial session in pastoral liturgy with one of our ordinands. Got a call from my son with the news that Brenda had been discharged and was back at home, but still not quite capable of being left completely on her own there, so, to relieve my generous children, made the decision to drive back to Chicago. Arrived around 8:30. Still planning on keeping engagements in Marion and Carbondale tomorrow evening and Sunday.


Got a fair amount of stuff done today. Worked on my Advent I sermon. Responded to a bunch of emails. Pursued some administrative projects. But the clinker was having to spend the evening in the ER with Brenda, who was exhibiting symptoms we've come to associate with low sodium. They're keeping her for observation overnight.

St Edmund

Usual AM weekday routine. Dealt via carefully-written email with a modestly vexatious issue that seems to have an extended shelf life. This took longer than I had anticipated, as it generated a handful of secondary emails. Extended telephone conversation with the Chancellor. Kept abreast of more late-breaking emails. Began to wrestle with my exegetical notes on the readings for Advent III (St Luke's, Springfield) toward the end of distilling a homiletical message statement. Broke off from this for a lunch of leftovers. Re-engaged the sermon work, finally emerging with the mission accomplished. Took a modest walk with Brenda, stopping to pick up some dry cleaning. Made an initial effort toward summoning an ad hoc Board of Examining Chaplains. Attended to an ongoing administrative project. Touched base with the Senior Warden in one of our "vacant" parishes over a couple of small details. Broke off to work for a while in my basement, which will continue to be a

Tuesday (St Elizabeth of Hungary)

The productive hours of the morning were devoted to processing a stack of pastoral-administrative tasks via email. Some were quick and clean, some were more complex and time-consuming. The major accomplishment of the afternoon was homiletic--expanding my message statement for Advent II (St Barnabas', Havana) into a developed outline. I then slipped out to get a haircut, returning in time to pray the evening office with Brenda.

The Lord's Day (XXIII Pentecost)

In the cathedral for Morning Prayer at 0725, then loaded up the YFNBmobile and headed east and a little south to Mattoon. Arrived at Trinity Church about fifteen minutes ahead of their regular 10am celebration. Presided and preached. The people there are under the faithful pastoral care of Fr Jeff Kozuscek, whose day job during the week is in Centralia, where he lives. So it's a commitment. Trinity is blessed by the presence of three "choral scholars"--college students with strong and skilled voices who augment their choir in a delightful way. After a liturgical potluck, I met for a while with members of the Mission Leadership Team to discuss some of their concerns. On the road northbound right at 1pm, and I arrived home exactly three hours later.

Sermon for Proper 28

Trinity, Mattoon-- Luke 21:5-19, II Thessalonians 3:6-13 I’m the oldest of seven siblings. The one who’s closest to me in age died six years ago. This is my brother Phil. Phil was a prankster. He loved to play practical jokes. And he discovered very early that his older brother is a really easy mark. When I was in college, and he was still in high school, Phil had me on the phone to an auto parts store inquiring about the price of a quart of “piston slap.” His biggest offense, for which it took me a long while to forgive him, was when he coaxed me to put my high school class ring into a length of pipe that he presented to me, on the pretense of “show[ing me] something,” and then going outside and tossing the ring around with a friend of his until it fell into a flower bed. I have to think it might still be in that flower bed, because we never found it. It’s no fun to be tricked, no fun to be deceived, is it? I used to be a fan of a comic strip called Close to Home . It once depicte

Saturday (St Margaret)

In the cathedral for devotions and MP at 0730. Then to McD's to pick up some breakfast. Back at the office, organized my work for the day. Processed some late-arriving emails. Between 0930 and just past noon, attended the meeting of the Commission on Ministry, and "resourced" them for their interview with two aspirants to postulancy, and one postulant applying for candidacy. Lunch from Chick-Fil-A, eaten in my care. Spent the afternoon with a handful of  administrative chores of varying size and scope. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.


Up, put together, and in the cathedral by 0715 for devotions and Morning Prayer, Kept an 0800 dental hygiene appointment. Picked up a chicken biscuit at Hardee's on my way back to the office. Triaged my email--responded to some, created tasks from others. Organized tasks for the day. Attended the regular semi-annual meeting of the diocesan trustees. (This is the group that oversees our investments.) Met briefly with one of the trustees in his capacity as a member of the camp board. Stepped across the alley and met briefly with the Dean on details about the Society of King Charles the Martyr Annual Mass & Luncheon at the cathedral on February 1. Responded by email to some administrative questions from wardens in two our our Eucharistic Communities in pastoral hiatus. Responded to a couple of inquiries from the Communications Coordinator. Responded to a question from one of our seminarians. Lunch from 5-Guys. Eaten in my car while listening to the impeachment hearings on

Thursday (Consecration of Samuel Seabury)

Once again, the major accomplishment of the day was sermon-related--this time, the production of a rough draft for Christ the King, November 24 at St Andrew's, Carbondale. Also had a chiropractor appointment, batted several emails around, had an abbreviated treadmill workout, cooked a batch of jambalaya to make sure Brenda has enough prepared foods to eat while I'm away for the weekend, and drove to Springfield, where I am now encamped.


The principal accomplishment today was homiletic: deep dive into commentaries for the lections on Advent III (St Luke's, Springfield). I probably have too much fun with this sort of thing, because I'm always disappointed that the dive isn't even deeper. In and around all that, I stayed on top of incoming emails, dispatched a handful of old ones that have just been sort of handing around, prayed the offices, walked on the treadmill, and did three loads of laundry.

Tuesday (Charles Simeon)

In our domestic oratory: intercessions and Morning Prayer; then tea, breakfast, internet scanning, crossword. Took Brenda over to Swedish Covenant hospital for a test. It's only three blocks away, and we would normally walk, but the record cold and wind chill, along with the iced-over sidewalks, meant we drove. Sent a substantive email to the company to which the Lambeth Conference has outsourced logistical issues, I had some non-standard questions and concerns for which I need some feedback from them. Wrestled with my exegetical notes for the reading of Advent II and eventually wrangled a homiletical message statement from them, which will eventually become a sermon for my visitation to St Barnabas', Havana on December 8. Lunch from the hole-in-the-wall Chinese place around the corner, eaten at home. Did a brisk 45 minutes on the treadmill, which is, as of the weekend, up and running for the first time since the move to Chicago. Drafted and sent a substantive and fairly

The Lord's Day (XX Pentecost)

Celebrated and preached the 0730 Mass at St Matthew's, Bloomington. Went to breakfast with Brenda, with the Rector's wife joining us, which was a delight. Celebrated, preached, and confirmed three adults at the principal liturgy. Got a tour of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd atria with head catechist Emily Lavikoff. Visited at coffee hour a bit. Lunch with Fr Dave and Amy at a nearby Indian buffet. Back home right at 4pm.

Sermon for Proper 27

St Matthew’s, Bloomington--   Luke 20:27–39 One of the first parish visitations I made after my consecration in March of 2011 was to St James’ in McLeansboro, which, if Illinois geography isn’t your strong suit, is a county seat town about 25 miles southeast of Mt Vernon. It’s main claim to fame is that it’s the hometown of Jerry Sloan, who was first a player and then an accomplished coach in the NBA. St James’ Church is a lovely structure that was consecrated in the 1870s by Bishop George Seymour, my predecessor ten times removed. On the occasion of my visitation, both the church and the nearby parish house were in excellent condition, quite attractive on a gorgeous spring day. The only fly in the ointment was that there were only four regular communicants left at St James’, and, over a potluck lunch in the parish house, they unanimously asked me to close the place down, which, with sadness, I did, and the Eucharist that morning was the last one celebrated in St James’ Church. Abo


Aside from processing a few emails, devoted most of the day to domestic projects. At 6pm, Brenda and I loaded up the YFNBmobile and pointed her south, arriving in Bloomington around 8:30, ahead of tomorrow visitation to St Matthew's.


The main accomplishments of the day were doing the finish work on a homily for this Sunday (St Matthew's, Bloomington); doing necessary plastic surgery on a "vintage" homily for Proper 28, reconfigured for use at Trinity, Mattoon next Sunday; email exchanges with the Treasurer, the Bishop of Tabora, the Communicator, and the Senior Warden of one of our Eucharistic Communities. Participated in a Doodle poll about the next meeting of the Province V bishops. Morning Prayer fell through the cracks because of a need to take Brenda to a lab for a blood draw first thing in the morning, but we prayed EP together, and I prayed the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary. Got a brisk walk in on an unseasonably cold but beautifully sunny day. 

Thursday (St Willibrord)

After nine consecutive days "on the job," six of which were spent away from home, I was due for some down time, but the most I indulged in was a slow start to the day. I completed and submitted a fairly major essay on the subject of Confirmation for the Covenant blog, had a substantive phone conversation with a cleric of the diocese, developed a homiletical message statement for Christ the King (November 24 in Carbondale) into a sermon plot/outline, and processed a bunch of emails as they arrived. Walked. Prayed. Back at it tomorrow.

Wednesday (William Temple)

Finished up the clergy conference. Celebrated Mass for the lesser feast of William Temple. Had lunch. Took Bishop Alexander to the airport in St Louis, then drove home. We arrived around 7:30.


At the annual diocesan clergy conference, with Bishop Neil Alexander laying wisdom on us on all matters liturgical, especially music. I'm breathing a sigh of thanksgiving about how this has all turned out.


Out of the house with Brenda at 0800, packed for two nights away. We rendezvoused with our clergy conference presenter, Bishop Neil Alexander, about five-and-a-half hours later in the airport in St Louis, We then all made our way to Toddhall Retreat Center in Columbia, IL, got settled in, etc. etc. Dinner, Evensong, and then Bishop Alexander's first presentation. It's rich stuff.

The Lord's Day (Solemnity of All Saints)

Between the time change and the service time at my destination, the morning unfolded at a humane pace. I rose at 7am (C S T), got myself put together, broke cam, prayed the morning office, said hello to some cathedral folks at the 8am liturgy coffee hour, stopped by Hardee's for some sustenance, and headed north at around 0920, arriving at All Saints, Morton about a half hour ahead of their regular 11am Mass. Presided and preached at a beautiful liturgy, hung out at coffee hour, conferred with the priest for a while, and headed home, where I arrived at 5pm.

Sermon for All Saints'

All Saints, Morton -- Revelation 7:2-4, 9-17 Several years ago, I announced I was going to lead an adult Bible study on the Book of Revelation. We had nearly thirty people sign up, and there were both morning and evening sessions of the class, meeting weekly over a two-and-a-half month period. The following year, when I offered a class on the Epistle to the Philippians, total signups were less than half that number, and the same pattern held steady in subsequent years for Genesis, Acts, the Parables of Jesus, and Ephesians. There’s obviously something about Revelation that excites curiosity and interest. It is mysterious and difficult material, hard to understand. It seems cryptic and full of codes. The Revelation to St John the Divine—or the Apocalypse, at it is alternatively known—Revelation is also subject to widespread misuse and misunderstanding today, particularly from those who see it as primarily a codebook, and when those codes are successfully broken, a vast amount of infor

Saturday (All Souls)

Up and out of my office encampment, having offered Morning Prayer already, at 0800, making my way on foot the two miles to Charlie Parker's for breakfast. Back in the office, having eaten well and logged my step quota for the day, by 10am. Took care of some loose ends pertaining to yesterday's Mission Strategy Report work. Began poring over commentaries on Matthew, as part of preparing to preach on Advent II at St Barnabas;, Havana. Broke off the attend the All Souls Day liturgy in the cathedral chapel. Got back to my exegetical work. Broke off again to pick up a late lunch from Taco Gringo and bring it back to the office, where I ate it while watching an episode of the new Jack Ryan season on Amazon Prime, Back again to the Matthew commentaries, this time bringing my work to completion. Scanned, categorized, and tagged the items in my physical inbox. Wrote notes of greeting to clergy and spouses with nodal events in November. Evening Prayer in the office. Out for s

All Saints

Up and out and on the road southbound at 0530. Walked into the office right at 0900 (having stopped at McD's in Pontiac to grab a bite, and being delayed slightly by a phone call just as I arrived). Checked in for a bit with the Administrator. Debriefed on the usual "range of issues" with the Archdeacon. Triaged my email and created several new tasks. Planned and prioritized my work for the day. Stepped across the alley and conferred with the Dean on a couple of things. Culled the accumulated hard copy items on my desk. Got on Facebook to share a link to this morning's Forward Day by Day meditation. I am the author for the entire month of November. Did the finish work on my homily for this Sunday (to be delivered at All Saints', Morton). Out to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. Met with the better part of two hours with the  postulant whom I am tutoring in liturgy. Third session of an eventual probable six. Pretty much devoted the rest of the afternoon to preparin