Showing posts from 2020

Christmas Homily

Springfield Cathedral -- Luke 2:7 During the first nearly eight years of my time as Bishop of Springfield, Brenda and lived in a spacious home in Leland Grove, as some of you know. It had four bedrooms, including a former master suite, bearing that title before the current master suite was developed over the garage. I can’t say we used those bedrooms very many times, other than when our children and grandchildren were visiting us at Christmastime, but it was nice to be able to say, at least, “We have a guest room,” and we did, in fact, use the former master suite a few times for people other than family. Now, of course, we live in a 1500 square foot apartment that has three rooms that are classified as “bedrooms,” but only one actual bed! So, on those rare occasions when we want to have overnight company, they stay up on the third-floor apartment, our daughter’s, where there are all of two beds. Yet, not having a guest room doesn’t necessarily prevent the exercise of hospitality. Have

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Up and out of my Effingham hotel room at the quite reasonable hour of 0815, having already had time for Morning Prayer and email perusal in my room, in order to arrive at St Thomas', Salem half and hour ahead of their regular 0930 liturgy. I presided and preached (as "supply" this time, since they're in transition)--again, with everybody observing very strict pandemic protocols. Afterward, we had a short plenary meeting into order to get the same conversation going in Salem that I had already initiated in Mt Vernon and Centralia involving a vision of a shared future for those three relatively proximate congregations. I was back home right at 4:00. In view of the impending holidays, when routines get trampled, I'm going to go dark in this space for a couple of weeks, until January 5 (the evening wen I expect to be ordaining Carter Aikin to the priesthood in Carlinville at a very small "invitation only" service). My plan is to be at the cathedral on Christ

Sermon for IV Advent

  St Thomas’, Salem -- Luke 1:26-38 , 2 Samuel 7:4,8-16, Romans 16:25-27 Many of you are probably familiar with the comic strip Dilbert. I read it every day. It seems to capture the realities of work life in corporate America in a deliciously cynical way. A while ago, I read an interview with Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, and he is indeed a cynic of the first order. He’s a cynic even about himself, and without knowing it, he’s become an influential theologian—a PR man for the Christian doctrine of original sin. Adams seems a pleasant enough fellow, and obviously has a great sense of humor, but he has a very dark view of human nature. He sees very clearly that every person has a streak of fundamental dishonesty and selfishness that is often repressed but is always itching to come to the surface. Dilbert is so popular, I would suspect, because a great many people share Scott Adams’ cynical outlook on life. Cynicism is rampant in our culture. And one of the fruits of cynicism, quit

Saturday (O Radix Jesse)

Attended to domestic concerns (chores and errands) until it was time to pack for an overnight and a 3pm southbound departure. Arrived at Effingham's Hampton Inn about 7:15, having prayed the evening office in a rest area, dinner from KFC drive-thru south of Kankakee, and gas in Mattoon. Once I was checked in and unpacked, I grabbed a vigorous 5,000 steps, just to get me to my daily goal. 


  Did the finish work on this Sunday's homily--which included sending a copy off by email to a Marine officer who will deliver it as he presides at Morning Prayer with his family ... in Okinawa. Perused my backlog of Christmas sermons, and selected one that can be convincingly refurbished for use this year at St Paul's Cathedral. Both the top contenders worked the "room in the inn" theme, so that's what I'm going with. Attended a 75-minute Zoom meeting of the House of Bishops "Table 10," with the Bishops of Spokane and South Dakota, and the Assisting Bishop of Long Island. The Bishop of Southwestern Virginia and the retired bishop of Arizona are part of this group as well, but circumstances conspired against their attendance. Did an Ignatian meditation on the daily office gospel reading for the day ... plus the usual afternoon walk with Brenda.


The first major project of the day was the drafting of my regular "column" in the Springfield Current that will appear around Epiphany. The second was working through a stack of Advent Ember Day letters from our postulants and candidates, and responding to each. In addition, I worked some more with the postulant whom I am coaching on learning to preach (he's coming along quite well), and read and responded to a detailed report from one of our interim clergy on the parish he is tending to.


 Big stuff: Finished the pastoral letter on tithing, diocesan assessments, and giving to the national church. It's now up on the website. Carefully perused the materials of some aspiring potential candidates for one or more of our parishes in transition. Smaller stuff: Participated substantively in a theological discussion among authors for the Covenant blog. I'm sometimes intimidated by the group because the majority of them have PhDs and are way more current on their reading than I am. But sometimes I feel like I've got "skin in the game" on a particular subject, and this was one of those occasions. Administration and pastoral care via sundry emails. Descended into the customer service hell of Comcast and Ameren (the actual phone function on my phone had stopped working, and the gas was inexplicably shut off at our Springfield home, which is, praise God, under contract, but the inspector couldn't do his work). Both issues were successfully resolved, but not


 Big rocks: Attended a 2.5 hour meeting of about 50 bishops with executives of the Church Pension Group. There was no big breaking news. They're just seeing to their PR needs among the leaders of their constituency--not just doing the right thing, but being seen doing the right thing. CPG is a complex entity. Not only to they operate their core business, which is clergy and lay pensions, but they also run the health insurance plan for church employees (contracting with Blue Cross and CIGNA for plan administration), a property/casualty insurance company, and a publishing company. Made substantial progress in the drafting of a pastoral letter to the diocese on the subject of financial support: parishioners of parishes, parishes of the diocese, the diocese of the "national church." Things aren't always as simple as they seem, and there's some serious theology involved. I hope have the letter live on the website sometime tomorrow. Smaller rocks: Wrote a congratulator

Third Sunday of Advent

Broke camp in my office lodging. Morning Prayer in the cathedral. Continued the gradual project of moving items from office to home. After a stop at Hardee's drive-through for some breakfast (I have to say, for a fast-food joint, they make exceptional biscuits and gravy), I was on IL-29 through Rochester and Taylorville to Pana, then down U.S. 51 through Vandalia and Sandoval and finally to Centralia. I am going to really miss driving through central and southern Illinois countryside as part of the regular routine of my life. Arrived at St John's-Redeemer a full hour ahead of their regular 1130 Eucharist. Presided and preached in an exceedingly disciplined environment with regard to COVID precautions. Afterward, there was a relatively brief meeting with the Mission Leadership Team (everyone masked and spread out all over the nave) to discuss their future in a post-Father Baumann world, which will arrive soon enough, though we don't know when with any precision. I was on the

Sermon for III Advent

  St John’s, Centralia -- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-28, Psalm 126 Back in the early and mid-eighties, in the years just before I went off to seminary, I was deeply involved, as a lay catechist, in the preparation of adults for baptism and confirmation. It was a pretty intense process, and it was our habit to take each year’s crop of candidates on a brief retreat—a fasting retreat, actually—in the middle of the Paschal Triduum. We would leave for a nearby retreat center right after the conclusion of the Good Friday liturgy, and bring them back into town mid-afternoon on Holy Saturday, where everybody had just a few hours to recharge before coming back to church for the Easter Vigil, when the baptisms would take place. I still have an image burned into my memory from one of those years. We were on our way to the retreat, just a couple of blocks from the church. I was in somebody else’s car, not driving. I happened to glance up at a marquee promoting a hotel restaurant and lounge. All it said

Saturday (Our Lady of Guadalupe)

Attended to domestic matters until 1pm, when it was time to pack for an overnight and head south. Arrived at the Diocesan Center around 5pm. Prayed the evening office in the cathedral. Went to the newly-opened Portillo's (the drive-thru was mobbed) for dinner, then to Meijer for an errand. Scanned the items that had accumulated in my physical inbox. 


  Went down yet another technology rabbit hole, this time in arranging for an alternative to Gmail. In due course, and as I begin to disengage from my diocesan email account, I will appropriately make known (not by announcing it in a blog!) a new personal email address. It's not that I hate Google; I just don't want to be quite as interwoven with them as I'd gotten. Took care of a couple of modest pastoral-administrative matters via email. Did the finish work on this Sunday's homily, Finished up my "thank-you" calls on behalf of Nashotah House. Did a Lectio Divina on tomorrow's daily office Old Testament reading from Isaiah 8. Late-in-the-day "touch base and catch up"  conversation with Canon Evans.


Absent the pressure of a burgeoning task list (see entries from the last two days), it was easy to lose most of the morning to a technology rabbit hole (migrating from Google Chrome to the Opera browser as a strategy for avoiding the pop-up ads I've been plagued with of late). So far so good. I did, however, manage to do some moderate surgery on a vintage sermon text for Advent IV in anticipation of deploying it at St Thomas', Salem before breaking for lunch. The PM was more productive (even extending into the evening)--I drafted the text for my next catechetical video in the "Seven Habits" series, which I hope to complete before I leave office. On a fine December afternoon, there was, of course, a walk, though Rosehill Cemetery, where one of my predecessors, Charles MacLaren, the third (and last) Bishop of Illinois, is buried. (When the dioceses of Springfield and Quincy were created in 1876, he remained with the Diocese of Illinois, which shortly thereafter changed

Wednesday (George Franklin Seymour)

I was speaking recently with a priest who is discerning a potential call to ministry as a bishop, and remarked to him very prosaically that one of the contrasts between the life of a parish priest and the life of a bishop is the month of December. I have found it every year to be my quietist month, save for the one that I'm on vacation. So, as I remember remarking last year at this time, my ministry-related to-do list is in ebb stage, so I'm filling more of my time with domestic concerns. That said, I did so some major and final work on a post for the Covenant blog scheduled to appear on Holy Innocents Day, read through the psych eval of one of our ordinands, communicated to the Lambeth Conference apparatus that they will need to transfer their invitation to my successor, made another "thank-you" call to a Nashotah House donor, and did my final "macro" sermon preparation task planning exercise--literally for the remainder of my episcopate. That is sobering.

Tuesday (Immaculate Conception)

Some days it feels like even a very few tasks result in a quagmire of unproductivity. Other days, a number of action items that at first feels totally aspirational evaporate like morning mist. Today was one of the latter. I selected an agenda from the possible candidates that I thought would be challenging, but found myself mostly through it by early afternoon, so there was time for a long walk and some household chores. While my nose was to the grindstone, however, I had a nicely substantive phone conversation with Canon Evans and made some significant progress in the various clergy deployment irons we presently have in the fire. Also attended to a matter in connection with my membership on the Nashotah House corporation.

Second Sunday of Advent

Out of the garage southbound at 0645. Presided and preached the regular 0930 liturgy at St Christopher's, Rantoul. There were only five bodies in the room, but several more "attending" via Facebook Live. Back home around 1:30.

Sermon for II Advent

  St Christopher’s, Rantoul -- Isaiah 40:1–11, Mark 1:1–8                                                                                                    As are many of you, I’m a member of the Baby Boomer generation. When Baby Boomers were young children, they couldn’t build schools fast enough to keep up with our mushrooming numbers. After two years at one school in the Chicago suburb of Addison, shifting demographics had me being moved to a new school for the third grade. Indeed, the whole neighborhood was new, and the streets around the school were not even paved yet when the school year began. And as an eight-year old boy, of course, I would much rather have spent my days watching the heavy equipment work on the streets than be indoors learning cursive! First, the graders would level the street surface. Then dump trucks would deposit a layer of gravel, which would promptly be tamped down tight by steam rollers. Meanwhile, forms were laid for the curbs, and cement trucks poured

Saturday (St Clement of Alexandria)

Indulged in a "slow" morning ... did the finish work on tomorrow's homily ... did a Bowflex workout and took a long walk ... prepared an annual accounting (in an Excel spreadsheet) of personal and ministry-related mileage in the YFNBmobile for the diocesan treasurer ... attended to some tasks related to my continuing members on the Nashotah House corporation.

Friday (St John of Damascus)

 Big rocks: Worked on editing and revising a paper I am writing with a colleague bishop, as part of an ongoing Communion Partners project. Descended into the hell of customer service with Zoom regarding a billing issue. Of course, as a big tech company, Zoom is not really set up very well for this sort of thing. It was inordinately time-consuming. However, there was a surprising amount of progress. Identified, approached, and secured the acceptance of a cleric to full an unexpired term on the Commission on Ministry. Lesser rocks: Dealt with the usual array of email-generated tasks requiring an array of responses. Took delivery of my new iPhone (which I would rather not have had to buy, but I'm a victim of planned obsolescence), and got it set up and running. Took a brisk walk on a lovely afternoon. Spent a "Holy Hour" in contemplative prayer in our domestic oratory.


Spent most of the morning working through a tall stack of email-generated tasks--responding to people administratively, pastorally, or both. After lunch and couple of errands, I wrote a prayer for the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer website, concerning the governmental transition that our country is in. Then I worked on a long letter to canonically resident clergy and lay delegates to synod concerning an awkward moment in the 2020 synod a couple of months ago. There is often a small needle that needs to be threaded in order to satisfy the demands of both justice and charity. The letter will no doubt give offense to some, but I believe it serves the interests of transparency and accountability.

Wednesday (Channing Moore Williams)

Attended briefly to some Nashotah House corporation work. Reviewed and commented on another sermon draft from a postulant whom I'm coaching in learning to preach. Responded at some length to a message from the Bishop of Tabora. Followed up with some related administrative tasks. Responded substantively to a message from a potential candidate in one of our parishes in transition. Reached out by email to confirm this Sunday's scheduled visitation to St Christopher's, Rantoul. Did some cosmetic work to "contemporize" a sermon text for III Advent, in preparation for visiting St John's, Centralia on that occasion. Kept a phone appointment with yet another potential candidate for one or more of our clergy vacancies. Did a Bowflex workout and took Brenda on a long walk (through the nearby cemetery where one of my predecessors, the last Bishop of Illinois and the first Bishop of Chicago, is buried). Laid out a fairly detailed sketch of my next-due post for the Covenan

Tuesday (Nicholas Ferrar)

The morning was devoted to getting a 60,000-mile service performed on the YFNBmobile. While that was happening, I get my daily step quota in, and then some. The afternoon (beginning late) featured a Zoom meeting with the Standing Committee (for a change, not to discuss conflict, but to talk about more uplifting things). After that, I was feeling kind of drained, and not firing on all cylinders. There was a phone conversation with Canon Evans, a bunch of late-arriving email, and some coaching on sermon preparation with one of our postulants who is being forced to learn to preach "early" because he often finds himself a Worship Leader in a presently priest-less community. Then I had to turn my attention to replacing my phone, because it's no longer holding a charge. It's over four years old, which is a venerable age in smart phone years. #plannedobsolescence

Wednesday (James O.S. Huntington)

  Attended to some administrative (with a pastoral accent) chores pertaining to the ordination process. Spent the rest of the morning drafting a sermon text (using the developed notes I made last week) for Advent II, scheduled to be delivered a week from Sunday at St Christopher's, Rantoul. Thereafter, declared myself "off the clock" (with the exception of processing some emails as they arrived) in preparation for the holiday weekend. In deference to the pandemic, the customary gathering of around forty people at my sister's home out in suburban Palatine isn't happening, so we're celebrating tomorrow with those already in our bubble: daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. For the first Thanksgiving in ... basically ever ... I'm doing a significant share of the cooking.  Kept a podiatry appointment, then went to two Whole Foods locations (first the wrong one, then the one from which I *did* order a turkey) and picked up tomorrow's main cours


  Began to prep for my participation in the evening's diocesan hymn sing, Kept a dental hygiene appointment. I didn't get scolded about flossing, which is always the gold standard for these things. Lunched on leftovers. Continued and completed my hymn sing prep. Made chili for dinner and left it simmering. Scheduled a service appointment for the YFNBmobile. Forwarded another potential candidate to the MLT of one of our parishes in transition. Worked on a Communion Partners project. Responded pastorally to an email from one of our clergy. Plotted sermon prep tasks for a visitation recently added to my calendar (St Thomas', Salem on Advent IV). Attended to a small piece of "national church" business. Evening Prayer with Brenda. After dinner, co-hosted the diocesan hymn sing on Zoom, covering both Thanksgiving and Advent hymns.

Christ the King

Up at six. Morning Prayer in the cathedral at 0630. Packed, loaded, and on the road at 0715, with a stop at Hardee's for breakfast. (Somewhat to my surprise with a fast-food place, they have rather excellent biscuits and gravy.) Pulled up at Trinity, Mt Vernon just a bit past 10:00. Presided and preached at what couldn't help but feeling like a restrained observance of the feast day. Afterward, met for about 30 minutes with the leadership (masked and spaced throughout the parish hall) to inventory where we are in the process of addressing their "permanent" pastoral care and leadership needs. On the road just before 12:30; home five hours later.


  Attended the first 30 minutes of the Commission on Ministry meeting. Did the finish work on tomorrow's homily (Trinity, Mt Vernon). Processed some odds and ends with various people, including the Communications Coordinator. Attended to some domestic chores (major vacuuming) and did a Bowflex workout. Took a walk with Brenda. Packed and headed south around 3:15.  Once in my Springfield office, I did some deferred blog reading and scanned the hard copy in my physical inbox.

Sermon for Christ the King

  Trinity, Mt Vernon -- Matthew 25:31-46, Ezekiel 34:11-17, 20-24, Psalm 95:1-7                                                                         Today is that last Sunday of the church year, and we are celebrating the feast of Christ the King. Christ the King is not an ancient feast in the Christian calendar; in fact, it’s quite recent, dating back only to the middle of the last century. And in our own American Prayer Book, it’s only implicit rather than official. You won’t find the expression Christ the King officially attached to this day in the calendar; it’s styled simply the Last Sunday after Pentecost. This is perhaps a reflection of our American discomfort with the very idea of royalty. The principle of equality between human beings is embedded very deep in our national DNA. We instinctively pull back from any notion of hierarchy or chain-of-command or any such thing that is not rooted in democratic decision-making processes. So we have a tendency to process our experienc

Friday (St Edmund of East Anglia)

  Took care of some routine personal organization chores related to the coming end-of-the-month. Presided over the regular November meeting of the Diocesan Council. Attended the regular semi-annual meeting of the diocesan trustees. Attended to some Communion Partners business. Took a long walk with Brenda on an unseasonably pleasant November afternoon. Engaged one of my regular Friday prayer practices: Listening to the performance of hymns on YouTube. Owning the stage this afternoon was the old Methodist workhorse, I Need Thee Every Hour . It is neither great poetry nor great music nor exceptionally profound spirituality, and it will never be my favorite hymn, nor even one that I particularly like. But, today, it gave voice to where I am with stunning, overwhelming, precision.

Thursday (St Elizabeth of Hundary)

  Attended a meeting of the diocesan Department of Finance. Built out my homiletical message statement for Advent II (December 6 in Rantoul) unto a developed sermon outline. Spoke by phone with Canon Evans. Attended to some matters of clergy deployment and clergy discipline.  Interfaced with the boiler repair crew on site, who finally completed their work, and we have heat!

Wednesday (St Hilda of Whitby)

Labored most of the morning on preparing materials to submit to two of our Eucharistic Communities in transition regarding some potential candidates in their searches, plus scrounging up some additional ones that I can send in a few days. There were a lot of boxes to check and details to confirm and reconnections to make. The bulk of the afternoon was consumed was consumed by a technology project that was not in itself "productive" but was necessary to facilitate future productivity. I've been an enthusiastic user of the the app Evernote since 2009. When I scan hard copy, or make notes of any sort, or organize a project, Evernote is where it happens. Well, lately, Evernote has been getting a little wonky in its upgrades, and I haven't been happy. So I did ton of research on alternatives and am now in the process of important my massive number of Evernote files into something called Nimbus Note. So far, I like it. 

Tuesday (St Hugh of Lincoln)

A big chunk of the day was eaten by taking Brenda to a substantial healthcare appointment, and further disturbed by crew installing a new boiler in our basement, with the yet additional distraction of being cold, because they won't finish until tomorrow afternoon. Space heaters take the edge off, but there's nothing like the real thing. I did also manage to plough through a short stack of deferred responses to emails, schedule a couple of Zoom meetings, and dash off a letter to clergy (or senior wardens in the case of priest-less parishes) about the governor's latest COVID-19 restrictions.

The Lord's Day (XIV Pentecost)

After breaking camp in my office, and reading Morning Prayer in the cathedral, I was on the road southbound (with a stop at the McD's drive-thru) at around 0730. Arrived about 30 minutes ahead of the regular 0930 Eucharist at St Bartholomew's, Granite City (in the gentle pastoral hands of Fr Scott Hoogerhyde). Given the state of the pandemic, turnout was excellent (still, though, with plenty of space for observing strict distancing and masking protocols). It's always a joy to share Word and Sacrament with the people of God, no matter the circumstances. With coffee hour in abeyance these days, I was back on the road at 10:45 and home five hours later.

Sermon for Proper 28

St Bartholomew’s, Granite City -- Matthew 25:14–30, Zephaniah 1:7, 12–18,  1 Thessalonians 5:1–11   We’re winding down Year A of our three-year cycle of scripture readings for the Eucharist. Next Sunday is the end of the church year; two weeks from now, Advent begins, and we’ll be in Year B of the lectionary. So, we’ve been making our way methodically through the gospel of Matthew in Year A, and, for the last several Sundays, the gospel reading has been a parable told by Jesus. When I taught young children in a parish day school early in my ordained ministry, I told them that a parable is “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” Indeed, we have yet another parable this morning, as we will next Sunday as well. For the Kingdom of God] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. Now, it’s not always, or even usually, possible to interpret a parable as an allegory, with A representing X and B representing Y, and so forth. But in th

Saturday (Consecration of Samuel Seabury)

Indulged in a "slow" morning ... did some household financial chores ...began the finish work on tomorrow's homily ... all the while with our building's boiler having issues, with the necessary repairs not able to be done until Monday (so, a cold weekend, with space heaters doing the best they can). Then, just as I was ready to head to Springfield, the basement carbon monoxide alarm sounded. We weren't sure it was safe to be in the building, so we (Brenda, our son and his wife, and their daughter) camped out on the sidewalk while we waited for the fire department and the gas company to scramble. It turned out there were some "interesting" levels of CO in the residential areas, accounting for some mild symptoms experienced by a couple of us. So ... adventure. Eventually we got the all-clear and moved back inside. I'm now in my office encampment in Springfield, where the heat works! But when I get back home tomorrow afternoon, it will be a bundling-up


  Responded at some length to a recent email from a potential candidate for one of our parishes in transition. Took care of a bit of Living Church Foundation business. Read and responded to a message from one of our seminarians about an academic snag he's run into. Read and responded to a message from an individual in the ordination discernment process about some health setbacks that have affected him. Refined, recorded, and uploaded a teaching video on intercessory prayer for the benefit of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer. Once it appears on their website, I will publicize a link. In the midst of all this, dealt with a technology gremlin (email client misbehaving), did four loads of laundry, took a brisk walk, worked out on the Bowflex, and prayed the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.

Thursday (Charles Simeon)

  Planned, wrote, and promulgated a pastoral direction to the diocese regarding annual parish meetings. Sat with my exegetical notes on the readings for Advent II (when I'll be at St Christopher's, Rantoul) until a homiletical message statement emerged from the missed. Wrote it down quickly before is disappeared. It will get built out next week. Consulted with Canon Evans on a range of issues. Drove out to close-in suburban Norridge to pick up a pair of orthotic shoes that I had ordered, prescribed by my podiatrist. Immediately broke the shoes in with a four-mile walk in the sunshine with Brenda. Reviewed and commented on a draft parish profile developed by one of our communities in transition. Reviewed and commented on a draft Whistleblower Policy for the Living Church Foundation. Responded by email to a pastoral situation that was at a rolling boil a month ago, but is kind of at a simmer now. Reviewed and offered what I hope is a constructive response to a draft sermon for Ad

Wednesday (St Martin of Tours)

  Delivered our California guests--Brenda's sister and brother-in-law--to O'Hare in time for them to catch their 0930 departure. Worked via email with the choir director at Emmanuel Champaign to get ready for an online hymn sing that I'm guest-hosting on the 24th. The whole diocese is invited, and we'll be including both Thanksgiving and Advent hymns. It looks to be fun. Built out my developed outline for this Sunday's homily (St Bartholomew's, Granite City) into a full rough draft. Grabbed a brisk walk with Brenda while the daylight was still robust. Moved the ball noticeably down the field in some clergy deployment issues, by means of a handful of substantive emails. 

Tuesday (St Leo the Great)

The heart of the day was devoted to the abbreviated Zoom iteration of the annual clergy conference (which would normally have met in person over 44 hours or so). We had two guest presenters, who did an outstanding job helping us think about the ministry of bishops, something to be considering as we head toward electing the 12th Bishop of Springfield. Beyond that, I did some reconstructive surgery on an old sermon text for Christ the King, in preparation for preaching on the feast this year at Trinity, Mt Vernon. And beyond that , I took a much-needed brisk and long walk, and played gracious host to our out-of-town company. 

The Lord's Day (XXIII Pentecost)

It was a humane start to the day, as I was already in Carbondale and the liturgy at St Andrew's was not until 10:00. Presided and preached with a congregation that, by Coronatide standards, was of quite decent size. Every visitation is emotionally challenging now, as the places and people trigger a flood of memories that lead quickly to grief. As I drove away from Carbondale late this morning, I could feel that grief physically. It nearly brought me to tears, and there will be much more of the same.

Sermon for Proper 27

  St Andrew’s, Carbondale --Matthew 25:1–13 I was a Boy Scout for all of about two or three weeks, when I was around eleven years old. But you don’t have to be a Boy Scout to know about their famous motto: Be prepared. OK, what, specifically, do we need to be prepared for? We’ve all had to make it a habit to grab a mask every time we step outside these days, so we’re prepared to meet somebody at close range. We prepare for a road trip by making sure there’s gas in the tank. Every Sunday evening, I prepare to fix dinners for the week by making a meal plan and a grocery list. But is there not a larger dimension for the application of this motto? Is there a more profound level at which we would do well to be prepared? In a series of parables toward the end of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus urges his followers to be prepared. Today we have a story about ten bridesmaids. Their job as part of the festivities is to wait in a given location, at night, for the arrival of the groom, and then to accomp

Saturday (St Willibrord)

Packed for an overnight and hit the road southbound at 1105am. Arrived at the Hampton Inn in Carbondale at 4:40pm. Did the finish work on tomorrow's homily at St Andrew's (grateful to find a "business" area with a printer). Headed to the home of a parishioner for a small, physically-distanced, get-together. 

Friday (William Temple)

After a scheduled video chat with a priest outside the diocese seeking my counsel on some personal discernment matters, and assaying my workload, I channeled Ferris Bueller for the rest of the morning and joined a contingent from our building, including our visiting California relatives, on an expedition to a Lake Michigan beach on an unseasonably beautiful November morning. Though I will "pay" for this indulgence next week in the form of deferred tasks, the mental health benefits made it a wise decision. After lunch, I buckled down some, creating Zoom meetings for next week's clergy conference and emailing all the registrants with the links, reviewing the completed search profile of one of our communities in transition and reaching out to a potential candidate, and contacting the leadership of one of our other parishes in transition to set up a time for me to meet with their MLT. Also did an Ignatian meditation on today's daily office gospel reading.


  Did a deep exegetical dive into the readings for II Advent (preaching at St Christopher's, Rantoul). I was particularly gratified by the chance to get into the famous "Comfort ye ... " passage from Isaiah 40. I promised the new editor of The Anglican Digest some time ago to supply some potential content, using "vintage" materials. So I spent a good chunk of time digging around my own electronic archives, curated some material, and sent it along. Issued a license to a retired priest who is canonically resident elsewhere but physically resident within the bounds of the diocese. Attended to various lesser matters--several email exchanges with the Canon-to-the-Ordinary and the Communications Coordinator, and other sundry items. Still frequently diverted from "duties" by the post-election madness.


  Attended the regular weekly meeting of the Province V bishops. There was much anxiety and hand-wringing about the election. Dealt with a backlog of emails on a range of issues--some quickly and others needing more sustained attention. Opened a sermon file on Advent II (St Christopher's, Rantoul). Did all this while moving in and out of paying attention to visiting relatives and the continuing unfolding of election returns.

Tuesday (Richard Hooker)

After the usual morning routine, my first priority was to vote. I'm relieved to be able to say that, since my first election in 1972, I have yet to wait in line to exercise my franchise, and that streak continued today. The rest of the morning was consumed by responding to emails from the last couple of days that required some careful thought and/or close attention. After lunch, following a scheduled phone conversation with a priest of the diocese, and an unscheduled phone conversation with Canon Evans, I turned my attention to building out my developed homiletical outline for this Sunday (St Andrew's, Carbondale) into a rough draft. After a walk with Brenda on an unseasonably gorgeous November afternoon, it was time to head to O'Hare to retrieve Brenda's sister and her husband from California, who are visiting for the next week. Spend the evening hanging out with them, with election returns playing in the background. 

All Saints

As a result of not paying attention to the calendar, and getting confused about the service time, I made it to Carlinville only just in thee nick of time for a relatively on-time start to the regular 0915 celebration of the Eucharist at St Paul's. Presided and preached and enjoyed some brief distanced visiting with folks afterward. (May I say that I now officially miss a "normal" coffee hour?) With a stop back at the office in Springfield to clean up a few loose ends, I was home at 4:20.

Saturday (Eve of All Hallows)

Up and out of my office encampment and across the alley to offer Morning Prayer at 0730, then to Hardee's for some breakfast. After a bit of email, it was time to get ready for Fr Gus Franklin's funeral Mass at 11:00. Lots of details whenever there's a liturgy that is not completely routine. Fortunately, funerals are not quite "routine" in my experience. Everything went smoothly, and we gave Fr Gus a good sendoff. A nice luncheon reception followed (with appropriate precautions) next door at the Inn at 835. Then it was time to take Bishop Ackerman to the airport for his flight back to DFW. Back at office, I did the finish work on tomorrow's homily. Can't deny that I was dragging more than a little by then. Seeing people (even through masks) that I don't often see was a really welcome thing (I *literally* "don't get out much"). But I am still an introvert, and the whole experience was taxing. There was enough daylight for a substantial wal


Attended to some domestic matters related to my being away for 52 hours. Headed south at 11am, arriving at the Diocesan Center about 3.5 hours later. Unloaded the boxes of vestments that I had picked up at Nashotah House yesterday. Checked in with Canon Evans on a few things. Headed to the airport and retrieved Bishop Keith Ackerman, who is preaching at Fr Gus Franklin's funeral tomorrow at 11am. Got him checked in at the Inn at 835, then headed to the southwest side of town for a haircut. Prayed the evening office in the cathedral, then enjoyed cauliflower crust pizza from Pie's the Limit with Bishop Ackerman, as we spaced ourselves generously in the rotunda. Afterward, spent some time beginning to inventory the vestments. It's quite a treasure trove, as several unexpected bonuses were thrown in.

Thursday (James Hannington & Companions)

The morning and part of the afternoon were consumed by a trip up to Nashotah House to take "delivery" on some vestments that I bought for diocesan use several months ago (they're no longer considered fashionable by Nashotah, but I love them!), but never received because of the onset of the pandemic. Now they're in my car for a trip to Springfield tomorrow. The rest of the day, including well into the evening, with a break for dinner, was devoted to my next-due post on the Covenant blog, in which I try to interpret and put into some context the veery unsettling news of the resignation of the Bishop of Albany. Sorting this out is of more than marginal significance for a diocese like Springfield.

Ss Simon & Jude

Two long Zoom meetings: one of a group of five Communion Partner bishops and five ACNA bishops, under the auspices of the General Secretary of the Anglican Communion, to discern together possible paths toward greater trust and communion; the other a (more pleasant) meeting of the "Class of 2011" bishops and spouses. Between those meetings, I worked on my next-due post for the Covenant blog, in which I will contribute to the collective effort to "interpret" the announced resignation of the Bishop of Albany and the events that led up to it. This writing project will occupy much of the next several days.