Showing posts from January, 2020


Taking stock of the fact that I'm relatively on top of my task list, I spared myself the trauma of an 0-dark thirty departure this morning and left for Springfield at a more civilized 0930, which put me in the office at 1pm. Much of the afternoon, in intermittent spurts, was devoted to catching up on one thing or another with Canon Evans. A more cohesive chunk of time was devoted to a trip to the local Drivers Services office to renew the registration on the YFNBmobile and get another license plan sticker, the old one expiring after today. I had actually already done this, but somehow misplaced the items. Now all is good. Did some last minute chores pertaining to tomorrow's SKCM Mass. Engaged in one of my devotional practices, which involves sitting down at a piano or organ keyboard and playing through hymns, giving myself ample opportunity to meditate on the texts. Evening Prayer in the cathedral.

Thursday (Charles Stuart, King & Martyr)

Usual early AM routine. Caught up on some backlogged Covenant reading (and appropriately shared links on Facebook or Twitter--kind of a standing obligation since I am a contributing author). Wrestled with my exegetical notes on the readings for II Lent (Trinity, Mt Vernon) until they coughed up a homiletical message statement. Took a 75-minute brisk walk. Lunched (slightly on the late side) on leftovers. Kept up with some late-arriving email. Spoke by phone for about 35 minutes with a priest from outside the diocese over an emerging pastoral-administrative situation into which he has some peculiar insight. Carefully read through and made notes on the draft of a document that the Communion partners will consider when we meet next week in Orlando. Evening Prayer with Brenda.


Customary early AM routine. Took care of a brief bit of administrative-financial business (invoice for Province V Bishops meeting). Broke open the commentaries on John's gospel, in partial preparation for preaching on Lent V at St Michael's, O'Fallon. It's the Johannine account of the raising of Lazarus. Rich stuff. Reached out by email to Bishop John Roth, my ELCA counterpart, planting the seed of a joint celebration of the 20th anniversary of Called to Common Mission (the TEC/ELCA full communion agreement) next Epiphany. Lunched on leftovers. Opened a sermon file on Palm Sunday (featuring the passion according to St Matthew), in preparation for preaching in the cathedral on that occasion. Took Brenda to a routine appointment to get her pacemaker checked. Got the ball rolling on actually implementing a plan for the formation of a postulant for diaconal ministry. Puttered a bit in my ongoing basement reorganization project. Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Tuesday (St Thomas Aquinas)

Personal meditation, intercessions, Morning Prayer, tea, breakfast, crossword, shower (aka the usual routine). Reviewed the draft minutes of the November Diocesan Council meeting and made some suggestions to the secretary. Responded in careful detail to an email regarding a pastoral-administrative matter. Attended to a small bit of SKCM Mass business. Reviewed the the psych report on one of our ordinands. Got to work writing a rough draft of a homily for Epiphany VI (St Thomas, Glen Carbon). Spoke by phone briefly with Canon Evans. Lunched on leftovers. Returned to, and completed, the Epiphany VI sermon draft. Communicated by email with a colleague bishop over the pastoral-administrative matter referenced above. A couple of weeks ago I asked for a volunteer to do a review for the Current of a book that had been sent to me. I got a volunteer, but, rather than dealing with packing the book and sending to him, it was easier to pay Amazon to just send him another copy. Made a

Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Across the alley for personal devotions and Morning Prayer in the cathedral right around 0700. I then broke camp in my office and was on the road west to Jacksonville at 0815, with a stop at Hardee's for a chicken biscuit. Met at 0900 for some "finishing" catechesis with a group of three young people who were being presented for confirmation at Trinity Church. Presided, preached, and confirmed at the regular 1000 liturgy. Attendance was well above average, according to the rector, Fr Zach Brooks, under whose leadership the parish seems to be joining a couple of others in the diocese whose median age is trending in a favorable direction. Visited with folks at a "finger food" reception, then hit the road back to Springfield and on to Chicago at 1145. Arrived four hours later, grateful once again for the availability of audio books, which make the miles just fly by.

Sermon for III Epiphany

Trinity, Jacksonville-- I Corinthians 1:10-17,   Matthew 4:12-23 For as long as the Church has existed, disunity among Christians has been a major source of cynicism for non-Christians, one of the roadblocks that prevent people from receiving the life-giving gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m certainly talking here about disunity among churches . Jesus certainly meant to found only one church. St Paul tells us that we have “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”—indeed, we began our liturgy this morning with those very words. Yet the proliferation of Christian denominations—most of which—most, not all; and certainly not Anglicanism—most of which claim to be either the only, or at least the purest, form of authentic Christianity—the number of Christian denominations runs into five digits. There is disunity among churches, and this disunity is a major stumblingblock to faith for a great many people. But I’m also talking about disunity with in churches—within local parish congregations, that is

Conversion of St Paul

Up, out, and in the cathedral for MP around 0815. Drove down to McD's for some breakfast. Met with a postulant for diaconal ordination to sketch out his formation process. Did the finish work on tomorrow's homily (Trinity, Jacksonville). Answered a couple of emails that had been turned into tasks and were overdue for a response. Attended the Mass for the feast day in the cathedral chapel. Grabbed lunch via the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru. Did a small bit of personal shopping while out on the west side. Did a pastoral check-in by phone with a priest of the diocese. Attended to yet again another couple of details pertaining to next Saturday's SKCM Mass. Responded to another handful of emails of the same sort I had handled earlier. Evening Prayer in the cathedral, followed by a burger at Freddy's. Examined the most recent financial statements of the diocese. Laid out my travel arrangement needs for Tanzania and the Lambeth Conference to a generous layperson who ha


Out of the garage and headed south at 0520. Arrived at Diocesan House in Springfield at 0845. As I was getting myself set up, had substantive check-ins with the Administrator and the Canon to the Ordinary. Organized tasks for the day. Did some last-minute prep for my "shoot" session with Hannah, which began at 1000. We recorded the next in the "Seven Marks of Discipleship" series, #5, on discernment. The kind of skill Hannah brings to this is precisely what I've been looking for practically since I began this ministry. Conferred with the Treasurer briefly on a mission-related issue. Lunched on fried tilapia from a nearby place called Da Catch. Took successive lengthy phone calls from two priests of the diocese. Aided Canon Evans in making some decisions about how best to dispose of some of the accumulated junk in the conference room. We're leveraging this moment of staff transition to do some housecleaning. Attended to a handful of small administrative tasks


Up and out by 0830 to participate in Part II of the regular January meeting of the Province V bishops. I reflected on the amount of turnover there's been in that group since I first met with them in 2011, and the amount yet to come, with four of our number having "announced" and leading dioceses in transition. We were finished shortly after and I made may way back home (all of about 20 minutes by car--most of my colleagues were catching planes to go home) and had an early-ish lunch of leftover tacos. The priority for the afternoon was to cook up a big batch of jambalaya, so Brenda has something to eat over the weekend when I'm gone. But I also did some final prep for a "shooting" session tomorrow for another catechetical video, opened a sermon file on Lent V (St Michael's, O'Fallon (early start because of travel in February and March), and a handful of fairly minor administrative chores. Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Wednesday (St Vincent of Saragossa)

Usual AM stuff. Fleshed out my homiletical message statement for Lent II (St Thomas', Glen Carbon) into a developed sermon outline. Did some calendar maintenance in anticipation of making the transition from January to February. Took care of some straggler details pertaining to the SKCM Mass. Then, at 1115, headed northwest to a hotel near the airport for a gathering of the bishops of the Province V dioceses. We do this a couple of times a year. We talk about a range of stuff, but I can't say much, since it's a "what's said here stays here" kind of arrangement. Had dinner with them at a nearby restaurant. Home around 8:15.

Tuesday (St Agnes)

Routine weekday early AM. Processed a stack of emails that have arrived in the last couple of days, on a range of issues. Did necessary surgery on a "vintage" sermon text on Epiphany III, in preparation for this Sunday at Trinity, Jacksonville. Fixed an anomaly in our database program. We are now set up to receive online payments and donations. Lunched on leftovers. Attended briefly to liturgy preparation for the clergy retreat next month. More homiletical surgery, this time on an old text for Candlemas (Presentation), which falls on a Sunday this year, and when I'll be "supplying" at Trinity, Mt Vernon. Spent most of the remaining productive time of the afternoon closely examining commentaries on the third chapter of John's gospel, in preparation for preaching on Lent II, again at Trinity, Mt Vernon (this time for my regular visitation). It is a happy privilege to be able to do this sort of close study. Analyzed my calendar to come up with a propos

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

As the service time at Christ Church, Springfield was not until 1015, I had plenty of time to get myself put together, grab some breakfast at Charlie Parkers, and load up the car before heading over there. Presided, preached, and confirmed one young man, duly keeping the feast with a congregation that was a bit thin because of the holiday weekend. After some post-liturgical socializing, I stopped by St John's Hospital to look in on and anoint Fr Gus Franklin, whom I had just learned has been there for the last few days. Got myself headed north in time to arrive in Chicago around 3:45.

Sermon for II Epiphany

Christ Church, Springfield-- John 1:29–42 In church circles, including Episcopal church circles, there has been a definite uptick over the last decade or so in the use of the word “discipleship.” I can remember when it was almost never mentioned—well, among Episcopalians, at any rate—but that’s changed. We hear it quite a bit now. In general, that’s a good thing, in my opinion. It’s certainly a big improvement from only a few years ago, when there was a reluctance to even mention the name of Jesus, let alone talk too seriously about following him. Discipleship, though, is not a simple thing. It looks different to different people. For some, following Jesus looks like taking on all the social evils of the world. This certainly includes the standard “leftwing” evils of sex and gender discrimination, threats to reproductive choice, income inequality, climate change, prison reform, and the like. But there are also “rightwing” “Social Justice Warriors” for whom Christian discipleship in

Confession of St Peter

Up, put together, and across the alley for devotions, intercessions, and Morning Prayer by myself in the cathedral by around 0815. Then to the west side IHOP for breakfast (I declined their specialty and had an omelette, so I was able to feel self-righteous for a while). Back at the office, I processed a bunch of email, then prepared for my 11 o'clock appointment with a postulant to assess his prior theological education and plot a course of any necessary remediation. Then I met with him for about an hour, which was a very productive encounter. Picked up some lunch from Dynasty Cuisine down on South Grand (a Chinese place) and brought it back to the office to eat while I watched an episode of a Netflix TV show). With intermittent breaks to attend to emails and texts, the main accomplishments of the afternoon were the finish work on tomorrow's homily (Christ Church, Springfield) and significant progress toward preparing the corporate worship at the clergy retreat next month. Eve

Friday (St Antony of Egypt)

Up at 0445 and on the road southbound at 0525. Arrived at Green Mazda in Springfield at 0845, checked the YFNBmobile in for a service appointment, and was ferried to the office by Canon Evans, who met me at the dealership. Processed a few issues with him, one of the most "visible" of which was a pile of books and other materials on the conference room table, where they had been placed so the walls could be painted. We're leveraging the staff change to take care of some needed capital maintenance. Most of the books, along with the state-of-the-art 1995 AV equipment should be re-homed, and we are taking step to do so. Then, from 10 to noon, two diocesan priests and I conversed withe a candidate for ordination in order to certify that he has indeed been trained in the areas prescribed by the canons. We determined that he has. Fr Ashmore, one of the examiners, drove me down to get my car, and after a trip through the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A, I kept a 1:15 blood donation app


Usual weekday AM routine. Consented to the consecration of the bishop-elect of Oklahoma (grateful that they found the technology to make this chore take place completely online). Shared some observations about the bishop-elect with the Standing Committee. Traded emails with the Administrator on an HR issue. Traded emails with the Communicator over some database issues. Read and Facebook-shared the Covenant post for the day. Passed on to Canon Evans a message from the "national church" office. Brainstormed on finding someone to take over the task of coordinating the diocesan prayer calendar. After spending some time scouring the database, I ended up posting on the diocesan Facebook page soliciting volunteers. Roughed out a project that The Living Church asked me to take on--a 1,000 word pamphlet on "Christmas joy," taking a break to lunch on leftovers. This project, in fact, consumed most of the rest of the productive time in the afternoon. Trying to hew to a


Yesterday proceeded efficiently and calmly. Today was more chaotic, with what seemed like non-stop distractions--all important and worthwhile in their own right, and a major unexpected rabbit hole (I seem to have misplaced the new sticker and for my license plate, and the accompanying renewed registration, all which expire at the end of the month, so ... waiting to hear from the Secretary of State's office as to what I need to do). Also spent two hours taking Brenda to a dental appointment. In the midst of the storm, I did manage to take care of some Communion Partners business, bring the liturgy program for the SKCM Mass within a couple of yards of completion, reach out to lay leaders in vacant or soon-to-be-vacant parishes, and open a sermon file on Lent II (Trinity, Mt Vernon). I have high hopes for tomorrow being more orderly.


Intercessions, Morning Prayer, tea, breakfast, crossword, social media skimming. Responded in some detail to a handful of emails that have been hanging. Wrestled with my exegetical notes for Epiphany VI (St Thomas', Glen Carbon) and brought forth a homiletical message statement. Applied myself once again to my (ongoing, apparently) project of trying to manage (with a light touch) the extraordinary demand at present for supply clergy and the relative shortage of priests who can fill those needs. Lunched on leftovers. Took a 75-minute vigorous walk on a sunny and (for mid-January) mild afternoon. Paid attention to a matter pertaining to the provincial ECW. Attended to a brief report from the treasurer of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer, the board of which I am a member. Caught up on some Covenant blog reading. Evening Prayer with Brenda.

First Sunday after the Epiphany

This was one of the rare occasion when it was possible to make my scheduled parish visitation as a day trip from our Chicago home. Brenda (who can come with me when I haven't had an office day in Springfield) and I were on the road at 0725 and rolled in at Christ the King, Normal precisely on our target of 0945, half and hour before their service time. Presided and preached on only the second Sunday in cure for new priest-in-charge Fr John Richmond. There were 38 in attendance, which is a good Sunday for CtK, and we enjoyed a fine potluck meal after the liturgy. We were back in our apartment just a little past 3pm. 

Sermon for Epiphany I: Baptism of Christ

Christ the King, Normal-- Matthew 3:13-17 Today we celebrate the First Sunday after the Epiphany, which is an annual feast  commemorating what is surely one of the strangest and least understood events in the life of our Lord, but which is recognized as something that, in all likelihood, actually did happen, even by those scholars who are skeptical of just about everything else that the gospels record. I’m referring, of course, to the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. On the surface, it strikes us as harmlessly quaint, but confusing, since it’s hard to tell just what it might mean. To the early Christian communities, it wasn’t quaint and it was more than confusing—it was downright embarrassing. The baptisms that John was performing were intended to be tokens of repentance and forgiveness of sins. But Jesus was supposed to be the Sinless One. So…how come he got baptized? Why does the Sinless One get baptized for repentance and forgiveness? I’m sure that a g

Friday (William Laud)

Usual early AM routine, Got myself registered for the March meeting of the House of Bishops in Texas, and made air travel arrangements for the same. Took the developed outline of my homily for Epiphany II and worked it into a rough draft. This is in preparation for preaching at Christ Church, Springfield on January 19. Lunched on leftovers,. Took some steps toward gaining a clearer picture of the need for supply clergy in our Eucharistic Communities through April, and of the available resources. This involved a couple of emails and the creation of an Excel spreadsheet. Worked on a couple of different projects in connection with our hosting the SKCM Mass on February 1 at the cathedral. Created this blurb . Friday devotions: Ignatian meditation on today's daily office gospel reading. Dealt with a mission strategy-related project. Evening prayer in our domestic oratory.


Once in a while, a day comes along that just never seems to get traction. Today was productive, as I look back on it, just not in the ways I had planned on. Phone calls and urgent emails seemed to keep pouring in, deflecting from the work I had *planned* on doing. Through it all, the "big rock" accomplishments are a draft of the liturgy program for the SKCM Mass on February 1 (which resulted in several email messages to the organist), a preacher finally confirmed for the occasion after a series of setbacks, some administrative backfill to help Canon Evans get up and running in his new position, and a handful of other smaller pastoral-administrative items. Not a bad day at all, just a different one than I had expected.


Customary weekday AM routine. Wrote, and scheduled for sending at the appropriate time, greetings to clergy with nodal events in January ... that I haven't already missed! To the ones I missed, my apologies. This is one of the casualties of not being in the office as frequently as I used to be. Read and processed a proposal from an academician in the diocese with whom I am planning an "Anglican heritage" tour in France and England for the late spring of 2021. Read and processed yet another Mission Strategy Report. Stepped out for an appointment with my primary care doctor. He prescribed some new meds, and we both hope I'm going to get ahead of this cough that's been plaguing me for nearly three weeks. Lunched on leftovers. Thought through and plotted the various tasks necessary to make the 2020 Chrism Mass happen. Sat down with commentaries and did the exegetical work in preparation for preaching on Epiphany VI, at St Thomas', Glen Carbon. Made three


In the midst of continuing to battle a lingering, often violent cough, some productivity happened: Carried on an ongoing email dialogue with the Communicator across a range of topics. Tied up more administrative loose ends pertaining to the recent staff change. Read and processed the most recent 2019 Mission Strategy Report to arrive. Did the finish work on my homily for this Sunday (Christ the King, Normal). Completed, refined, and submitted my most recent essay for the Covenant blog. Dealt with a bit of Province V business. Had a pastoral conversation by phone with one of our clergy, Took a long and vigorous walk on a decent, if not quite beautiful, January afternoon. Prayed both the morning and evening offices.

Second Sunday after Christmas Day

It was a long and productive morning at Trinity, Lincoln: Presided and preached at 0730, put a final gloss on Fr Mark Evans' catechesis of five young adult confirmands between services; presided, preached, and confirmed at 0945, refueled at a catered coffee hour with "heavy hors d'oeuvres ," met with the Mission Leadership Team to discuss transitional issues, as their rector is now a member of diocesan staff and will be phasing out of his ministry at Trinity over the next few months. It was on the road northbound at 12:45, and home three hours later, having been well-entertained by an audio book.

Sermon for Christmas II

Trinity, Lincoln -- Luke 2:41-52 Every day, I use a number of devices that are intended to help me accomplish my work more efficiently, and to therefore make my life easier. They do—and yet they don’t, because it seems like I’m busier than ever. I think there’s a rule that decrees that, for every advance in technology, there’s a corresponding increase in expectations, such that the increase in efficiency or convenience offered by the technology is nullified by an increase in what we demand of ourselves. And I know I’m not unique. We lead busy lives. Many years ago, I reached a point in my life where I realized I have more money than time and energy. So I pay people to do things I may once have done for myself—wash the car, do routine yardwork, do my taxes, take care of minor electrical and plumbing repairs around the house—and the list goes on. These are tasks that I probably have the intelligence to learn how to do, but we don’t own the necessary tools, and there would be way too


In view of my early start yesterday, I allowed myself a modest "lie-in" (as the Brits would say), emerging to go say my prayers in the cathedral around 0830. Then off to Charlie Parker's for breakfast. Back in the office, I worked on processing the accumulated hard-copy on my desk until my 1100 appointment arrived. It was Fr Mark Evans, newly-appointed Canon-to-the-Ordinary. This was pretty much a first "on-boarding" conversation, and lasted a couple of hours. Off to Chick-Fil-A for lunch, followed by a small but of personal shopping at Office Depot and Meijer. Back at the office once again, I finished the desktop clearing I'd begun earlier, and carried on an email conversation (with a very happy outcome) about the music for the Society of King Charles the Martyr Annual Mass we are hosting on February 1. Then out for a long and brisk walk as the afternoon faded. It was the first time in several days that I've felt well enough to do this. I then did some


.... aaaand we're back. The pace of my life slowed a good bit around Christmas, as I expect was the case for you as well. It picked up a good bit this week, but not as much as I would have liked, as I've had a lingering bug that has made itself known as acute bronchitis. So I'm on three medications that I'm hopeful will have a salubrious effect in due course. In the meantime, I was due to be back in the office today, so I toughed through my symptoms and made the trip down--metaphorically at the crack of dawn, but literally a full 90 minutes, at least, before sunup. Got myself organized, and then had a discussion with a staff member wherein we plotted a quick path toward his moving on from his position. If you're in the diocese, you got an email about this. Such things are never a pleasant experience, but sometimes needful. I followed this up with a handful of related administrative actions. The rest of the morning allowed me to do the finish work (refine, edit, pr