Showing posts from February, 2020


Up, out together, and across the alley for devotions and MP in the cathedral by 0730. Breakfast from the McD's drive-on South Grand. Prepared--physically and homiletically--for the Diocesan Council Mass. Got to work on refining and printing my homily for tomorrow (Holy Trinity, Danville). Presided and preached at the liturgy (feria for the Saturday after Ash Wednesday). Presided over the regular February meeting of the Diocesan Council. Stepped out for lunch (Five Guys), some shopping (Scheel's, Meijer) and a haircut (for which there was a not insubstantial wait). Back to the office just as the organizing meeting of the Election Committee (overseeing the election of successor) was winding up. Reviewed the result for our two candidates who took the General Ordination Exams last month, sent a few related emails and otherwise moved the ball down the field for both of them in their progress toward ordination. Reviewed my March visitation calendar and scheduled some pertin


Out of my Chicago garage at 0525. In the parking lot at the diocesan center by 0835. Caught up with Sue on some things. Caught up with Canon Mark on some things. Got my day aspirationally organized. Participated in the semi-annual Department of Finance meeting until noon. Grabbed lunch at the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru. Sat down again with the CTO for about thirty minutes. Met with the interim rector of St George's, Belleville for about 90 minutes. Spoke with Brenda by phone, Stepped across to the cathedral atrium and conferred with the Dean briefly over an emerging possibility. Then moved on into the church for a planned "holy hour" in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Followed this with evening prayer. After dinner, I roughed out my next-due post for the Covenant blog.

Thursday (George Herbert)

A good, productive day during which I felt a good energy level. The main accomplishments were homiletic: drafting sermon texts for a guest preaching appearance at Nashotah House next week, and Lent II at Trinity, Mt Vernon. Sprinkled about were the usual and constant email responses. The evening has seen me packing and loading the car for an early departure for Springfield in the morning.

Ash Wednedat

Brenda and I got home from our warm-weather getaway (in Barbados) just before midnight last night, so the morning had a slow start. There was a ton of accumulated email that I had to cull or create a task from, and then organize the tasks. There were also some household-related items that were crying for attention. The bulk of the morning, though, was consumed by a trip (on foot, through some "weather") to the optician for both of us to pick up new glasses--well, new glasses for Brenda and new lenses for me. In the process, they managed to break my frames, though, so there was a hustle on their part to find a workaround while they order me new ones. This all took time. After a shopping errand, it was back to dealing with the tasks created by the email pile. In the evening, we were pew-sitters at one of the local parishes for Ash Wednesday. It felt weird to not be "doing" something, but, between our recent trip, and the fact that I'll be in the diocese from Frida


Finished up the clergy retreat in Belleville. (It was an excellent one, and it is really good to have the clergy of the diocese together like this.) Headed northward around 1pm and arrived home right around five hours later.  Between tomorrow morning and the late evening of Shrove Tuesday next week, Brenda and I will traveling to, being at, and returning from a brief hiatus in a warm climate ... and crashing surf and sea breezes and the other things that one finds in such a location. Going dark in this venue until the evening of Ash Wednesday.


At the clergy pre-Lenten retreat at King's House in Belleville. Two superb addresses from Bishop Ed Little. An afternoon a one-on-one conferences. Morning Prayer, Mass, and Evensong--at which both Brenda and I played major music roles. This isn't actually a retreat for me--it's work--but I'm delighted to have a hand in providing this experience for the fine clergy of the Diocese of Springfield.

Monday (Janani Luwum)

Usual early AM routine. Got organized, packed, and out the door southbound with Brenda at 10:45. With a stop for lunch in Romeoville and brief foray to the office in Springfield, we were at King's House in Belleville five hours later. We both immediately got to work preparing musically for the 5:30 evensong (she on the piano, I on the organ)--we divide our duties by the type of music ,,, I do better with chants, she with hymns). Dinner, then the opening session of our clergy pre-Lenten retreat, where the presenter is my old friend, Bishop Ed Little.

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

Already in Glen Carbon since last night, and with the liturgy at St Thomas' not until 1030, I had a rather humane pace to my morning. Slept in until 0700, got packed up, said my prayers, and enjoyed breakfast at the Waffle House in Collinsville. My eldest daughter is a Waffle House fan, and she told me, "If you get it, you get it." Well, I'm not sure I get it, but I can now say I've given it a try. It was certainly an unobjectionable breakfast. We duly kept the Lord's Day at St Thomas'. It is an untellable joy for me to share with our communities in the ministry of Word and Sacrament. Every single time. On the road again a little bast 12:30 and home a little before 5:00. I now thank God daily for audio books.

Sermon for Epiphany VI

Matthew 5:21–37, 1 Corinthians 3:1–9 St Thomas’, GlenCarbon                                                                      From today’s gospel: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” These are the words of Jesus, and if we pay attention closely, it might seem strange to hear him talk about “offering your gift at the altar,” because, while Jesus was a practicing Jew, that expression pretty much makes perfect sense in a fully-developed Christian context, as when we place our offering in the plate as it comes by, and, in most churches, representatives of the congregation bring the bread and wine up, and it’s all—money, bread, and wine--offered at the altar. Well, as it turns out, Matthew’s gospel is the most “churchy” of the four. He doesn’t do it in this passage, but Matthew is the only on

Saturday (Thomas Bray)

Across the alley for prayers around 0715. The down to McD's drive-thru for a sausage McGriddle. Got my office encampment packed up and the YFNBmobile loaded. Headed south at 0905 to Edwardsville, where I pulled into the parking lot at St Andrew's about 70 minutes later. Presided at the institution and induction of Fr Ben Hankinson as rector of the parish. A good time was had by all, and I have high hopes for the future of St Andrew's. Long and high-quality visiting with a variety of folks at the reception. Then I ambled over to the Hampton Inn in nearby Glen Carbon (where I am visiting St Thomas' in the morning). Got my stuff into the room and ,,, no computer. Turns out I'd left the whole bag--laptop, iPad, and computer glasses--in my office. Without really giving it a second thought, I just drove to Springfield and retrieved it. The jaunt consumed about 2.5 hours. Grabbed some (disappointing) barbecue in Collinsville, and am calling it a night, having surrendered m

Friday (Ss Cyril & Methodius)

As is now my wont on most Fridays, I was out of my garage at 0520, headed south. Arrived at the office right at 0845. Got myself organized for the day. Responded to a couple of urgent emails. Signed and sealed the certificate for Fr Hankinson's institution tomorrow at St Andrew's, Edwardsville. Took a phone call from a consultant who is working one of our parishes. Spent the rest of the morning with Canon Evans covering a variety of issues, mostly thinking through (and plotting on newsprint) the clergy ordination and deployment mill for the next couple of years, taking into account the needs for supply and interim work in the meantime. It seems we have a good crop in the pipeline (to mix metaphors), but the payoff sweet spot doesn't arrive until about 15-20 months from now. In the meantime .... workarounds. Lunch with John Roth, my ELCA counterpart bishop. We always have a good time of pretty rich conversation. Did the finish work on my homily for this Sunday (St Tho

Thursday (Absalom Jones)

After prayers, tea, and breakfast, I trudged through the cold and falling snow a mile to keep my chiropractic appointment. Back home a little before 10:00. Dealt with some late-arriving email and a phone call. Spent some time on the treadmill to pick up the balance of 10K steps after my earlier walking. Lunched on leftovers. Wrestled with my exegetical notes on the propers for Lent V (St George's, Belleville) until they yielded a homiletical message statement. Spent long quality time with commentaries on Matthew's gospel in preparation for preaching at the cathedral on Palm Sunday. Evening Prayer with Brenda.


Usual early AM routine. Took an unanticipated phone call, which provoked another one, over a serious pastoral-administrative matter. Conceived and hatched a homily for a preaching gig at Nashotah House on March 5. This took a while. Lunched on leftovers. Tried to wrap my mind around possible travel itineraries for July, when we will be paying a (fairly brief) visit to our companion diocese of Tabora (Tanzania), then heading to Canterbury for the Lambeth Conference. The details made my head swim, and the matter is still in flux. Attended to a matter tangentially related to the subject of the morning phone calls. Built out my homiletical message statement for the First Sunday in Lent (Holy Trinity, Danville) into a developed sermon outline. Prepared service sheets for the two celebrations of the Eucharist at next week's clergy retreat. Reviewed the file of information from an individual seeking to enter the ordination process. Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Tuesday (Our Lady of Lourdes)

Beyond the early routine, the morning was pretty well consumed by optometry exams, and the ensuing purchase of new lenses and/or frames, for both Brenda and me. It's frustrating that such things take so long. The afternoon was more productive, with multiple email conversations, ranging from technical administrative tasks to clergy deployment to retreat liturgy planning to review of draft bulletins for upcoming services to sermon preparation, and more. Evening Prayer with Brenda.

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

After having been traveling a big chunk of last week, and with a 600 mile round trip Friday night and yesterday, I had kept today free of a parish visitation. (I have to triage stress on the Brenda-care system.) So we were pew-sitters this morning. Spent much of the afternoon and evening plowing through a hefty batch of short-to-medium tasks--responding to emails, doing some Chrism Mass liturgy planning, speaking by phone with the Senior Warden of one our Eucharistic Communities, consenting to the consecration of the bishop-elect of Minnesota. Also got a chunk of reading done.


Up and out in Mattoon in time to continue the southbound journey begun last night by around 0845. Arrived in Mt Carmel about 20 minutes ahead of the 1100 meeting with the MLT from St John the Baptist. It was a standard vacancy consultation, in light of the fact that Fr Hazelett is retiring at the end of the month. There have been too many of these conversations lately! Lunch with two of the MLT members, then back on the road. Arrived home at 6:20.


Usual weekday early AM routine. Dialed in to a conference call meeting of the Society of King Charles the Martyr board. Processed accumulated emails. Made an aspirational task list for the day, Focused on a handful of clergy retreat, Living Church, and clergy deployment issues. Lunched on leftovers from Brenda's birthday dinner last night. Dialed in to a Zoom video conference call, along with Fr Newago, as we investigate a potential mission strategy resource. For my Friday special devotion: did a lectio divina on tomorrow's Old Testament daily office reading. Worked out on the treadmill. Got organized a packed for an overnight trip. Stepped out to lick up some delicious brisket tacos for dinner. Hit the road with Brenda at about 7 :15. We arrived at Mattoon's Hampton Inn about three hours later. On to Mt Carmel in the morning.


Cleared out of my room at the Diocese of Central Florida's conference center in the Orlando suburb of Oviedo and behind the wheel of my rental car at 0720 EST. Uneventful trip to the airport, arriving in plenty of time before my 0950 departure. Enjoyed some breakfast at a Ruby Tuesday in the terminal. Landed at O'Hare pretty much on time, right around noon CST. Home a little more than an hour later. God reconnected with Brenda, processed a thick stack of emails, took a phone call from a colleague bishop about a priest who is canonically (but not physically) resident in Springfield, and made a phone call to Canon Evans to discuss a pastoral/administrative matter. Eventually, took Brenda, along with our oldest daughter, out to a nice dinner to celebrate her 70th birthday.

Wednesday (Martyrs of Japan)

Day two of two for the Communion Partners meeting in Orlando. We discussed this summer's Lambeth Conference and how best to manage our presence there, some issues around organizational development, and our relations with the Anglican Global South movement. We concluded with a celebration of the Eucharist and dinner.

Tuesday (Cornelius the Centurion)

In Oviedo, FL (near Orlando) meeting with a group of Communion Partner bishops, rectors, and lay leaders, from the U.S. and Canada. about 20 in all. We spent the morning talking about the situation in the Anglican Church of Canada and the Church of England, the afternoon about the Episcopal Church, and the evening about the Global South and GAFCON. Between the sessions, over meals and refreshments, it's refreshingly live-giving to be with colleagues and friends who are relatively like-minded, and whom I don't see very often.

 Monday (St Anskar)

Up, packed, and on my way to O'Hare by 0930 in order to catch the 1140 departure to Orlando. I'm here at the Diocese of Central Florida's Canterbury Retreat & Conference Center for a meeting of the Communion Partners (U.S. and Canadian bishops, and a handful of clergy and lay leaders) for the next couple of days. 

The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple

Across the alley for Morning Prayer in the cathedral at 0645, then out of my office encampment and on the road southbound an hour later.  Pulled into the parking lot at Trinity, Mt Vernon right at my 10:00 target, thirty minutes ahead of their regular liturgy. Presided and preached for the feast of the Presentation (Candlemas). After a simple brunch I met with the entire congregation to talk about their future, since they are now without a priest at the helm. It was a fruitful conversation, and I believe the general level of anxiety was significantly lower when I left than when I arrived. The next few months will be challenging, and we all agreed that grace will abound and, together, we can get through it.  I then met with the Mission Leadership Team for a bit of a deeper dive into the financial condition of the parish. By 1:20, I was headed toward I-57 northbound and the four-and-a-half hour drive back home to Chicago.

Sermon for Candlemas

Trinity, Mt Vernon-- Luke 2:22-40, Malachi 3:1-4, Hebrews 2:14-18 I have learned over time that one of my chronic disabilities is that it is that, when I meet somebody new, it is sometimes difficult for me to remember what he or she looks like apart from the physical surroundings in which I normally see that person.  So, if I first meet you in church, and expect that that's where I'll see you again, and soon thereafter we happen to run into one another at a convenience store, there’s a good chance I won’t recognize you. This is embarrassing sometimes, but I do eventually learn what the regular characters in my life look like. Fortunately, there are enough people in the world who are good at remembering names and faces to compensate for those, like me, who aren't.  But all of us, nevertheless, are conditioned, to one degree or another, by what we expect, by what our experience sets us up to see or hear. When I'm in a particularly jovial mood, one of the tricks I like

Saturday (St Brigid of Kildare)

Up and across the alley at 0730 for devotions and Morning Prayer; then down to McD's for a drive-thru breakfast. The remained of the morning until the 11am start time for the SKCM Mass was spent in liturgical "puttering," attending to myriad small details of preparation and rehearsal. Attendance was not what me might have hoped or expected, but the event itself was splendid. The Blackburn students who sang the Mass did a stellar job. Then there was the luncheon at 825, which was lovely. Following that, I kept a scheduled appointment with an aspiring postulant for holy orders, and his wife. It was a good and fruitful conversation. By that time, my introversion was pretty sorely taxed (which means I was in the mood for a nap), but I soldiered on and took a vigorous walk to get me past my daily step goal. Back in the office, then, I did the finish work on tomorrow's homily (Trinity, Mt Vernon), did some more liturgy prep work for the clergy retreat, and processed the har