Showing posts from October, 2020

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.


  Composed, edited, and sent an Ad Clerum (letter to the clergy) covering a range of news and concerns. Build out my homiletical message statement for Proper 28 (November 15 in Granite City) into a developed sermon outline. Attended to a Communion Partners-related tasks. Interviewed a former Roman Catholic priest who is interested in exploring reception of his orders by the Episcopal Church. Reviewed and approved an application for a marital judgment. Cleaned up the minutes I took at last week's Living Church Foundation annual meeting, and the board meeting, and sent them off to the President and Executive Director. Took care of sundry other emails and texts "on the fly."

The Lord's Day (XXI Pentecost)

Up and out of my Effingham hotel room at 0730, arriving at St Mary's in Robinson an hour later, ahead of the planned 0900 celebration of the Eucharist. Since St Mary's is "between priests," they've been reading Morning Prayer on Sundays live-streamed on Facebook, so this was the first time they've been together for the Eucharist since March. So it was an immense privilege to be with them for that. Afterward, we visited outdoors, masked and distanced, for a bit, eventually finding the side of the building that sheltered us from the wind. Back home after the long drive late in the afternoon.

Sermon for Proper 25

 St Mary's, Robinson --Matthew 22:34-46 In Archibald MacLeish’s classic drama based on the Old Testament story of Job, the title character JB frames the terms of an impossible dilemma: “If God is God, then he is not good; if God is good, then he is not God.” If God is God, then he is not good; if God is good, then he is not God Hurricanes, wildfires, an out-of-control deadly virus, escalating racial tensions and a toxic political environment all certainly support such an assertion. We can add to this mix all manner of personal misfortune. We all know somebody whose livelihood has been undermined by the pandemic. Where is God when a family needs to eat and pay its bills and can’t do so? At any given moment, somebody we know is dying, or grieving a death. What kind of God allows such sorrow to happen among those whom he professes to love? All around us in central and southern Illinois, there are victims of poverty and racism and various forms of violence. What kind of God allows husb


Let the fourth and final installment of Pastoral Liturgy Seminars from 10-12. After a break and some lunch, I did the finish work on tomorrow's homily (St Mary's, Robinson). Packed for an overnight and hit the road southbound at 3pm, eventually landing at Effingham, where I am spending the night.

St James of Jerusalem

The morning was consumed by a visit to a new (to me) ophthalmologist, for the purpose of getting a second opinion about whether my cataracts are to the point where they merit surgical intervention. The answer is, "Maybe, and maybe not." So we're going to wait six months and have another look. Not the clear Ys/No answer I was looking for, but ... "it is what it is." The afternoon was devoted to preparing for the final installment of my Pastoral Liturgy seminar, which is on the calendar as a Zoom meeting tomorrow morning.Squeezed in a late walk before dinner.


  Attended (and took minutes for) the 2.5 hour annual meeting of the Living Church Foundation (yesterday was the Board of Directors, today was the full foundation ... and we had record attendance precisely because it was virtual). Wrestled a homiletical message statement from my exegetical notes on the readings for Proper 28, in preparation for preaching at St Bartholomew's, Granite City on November 15. Spoke by phone with a retired priest who has moved into the diocese and is seeking to be licensed. Substantive phone conversation with Canon Evans. Attended to some routine calendar-related personal organization chores (end-of-month related). Got myself organized with respect to a complex clergy deployment situation. Feeling more of a sense of direction now.


  Did some cosmetic surgery on an old sermon text for All Saints Day in preparation for preaching at St Paul's, Carlinville on November 1. Attended the semi-annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the Living Church Foundation, of which I am the Secretary. Met for about 25 minutes with some colleague bishops from the Communion Partners over an emerging matter. Drafted the text of what will become a video introduction to intercessory prayer, perhaps destined for appearance on the website of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer, whose board I serve on. Two pastoral care conversations with family members of a priest canonically, but not geographically, resident in the diocese.


The big rocks were to craft a developed sermon outline for Proper 27 (November 8 in Carbondale) from the simple homiletical message statement I came up with last week, and to make a shoe shopping expedition--for podiatrist-prescribed "orthotic" shoes (I have "Achilles insertional tendonitis")--in the inner-ring suburb of Norridge. Around those two items, I began to do some prep work for Saturday's final Pastoral Liturgy Seminar, corresponded with a former Roman Catholic priest interested in having his orders received in TEC, attended to an issue with someone in the ordination process, and moved the ball down the field in a Communion Partners-related project I agreed to take on. Squeezed in a walk in the late afternoon.

The Lord's Day (XX Pentecost)

On the road at 0730 and in Morton three hours later for the regular 11am Mass at All Saints. Presided, preached, and greeted people from a distance as they left. I do miss the post-liturgical socializing that we used to enjoy pre-pandemic. May it return sooner than we even hope. Some substantive conversation with Fr Dallman, then back on the road for a 4pm arrival back at home.

Sermon for Proper 24

  All Saints, Morton -- Matthew 22:15–22 I certainly don’t need to remind anybody here that this is a presidential election year. And I doubt I would get very much pushback if I suggested that “toxic” is a good word to describe the political environment that we inhabit. For my entire life, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, have attempted to extend their influence, appeal to voters, and advance their ideological agenda. But the degree of sheer polarization that has dominated our political world for the past several years is unprecedented. Candidates at every level, ordinary citizens at every level, are under immense pressure pick a side and stick to it. “Compromise” is a dirty word, both for the right and for the left. As a Christian pastor, my larger concern is that this polarization, if not always the full extent of the toxicity—the polarization that characterizes the secular political sphere seems to map pretty neatly onto the Christian community, often without a

Saturday (St Ignatius of Antioch)

Did the finish work on tomorrow's homily. Otherwise, devoted my energies to domestic chores.

Friday (Oxford Martyrs)

Spent the morning poring over three commentaries on Matthew in preparation for preaching at St Bartholomew's, Granite City on November 15. It almost feels like a guilty pleasure, so much do I enjoy a deep dive into a biblical text. Beyond that, I did some administrative work in anticipation of the November Diocesan Council meeting, addressed a serious (and sad) clergy discipline issue, conferred with Canon Evans on a handful of matters, and engaged the spiritual practice (at least for me it is) of sitting down at the piano and playing through hymns (from the old hymnal, since it contains many old friends long-forgotten). 

Thursday (St Teresa of Ávila)

 This was a day for just catching up with pretty mundane stuff: Did a close reading of a proof of the Michaelmas issue of the Current and caught a few things that needed changing. Registered for a mysterious Zoom meeting next week for *U.S* bishops and their canons, with the Presiding Bishop and TEC's in-house counsel. Nobody I've communicated with can imagine what it might be about! Attended to various issues concerning parishes in transition and clergy considering coming to the diocese. Reviewed the credentials of the bishop-elect of Wyoming and signaled my consent to his consecration. Made a few plans for as far away as next Lent. Caught up on some deferred reading.

Wednesday (Samuel I.J. Schereschrewsky)

Attended the weekly Province V bishops meeting, plus a followup phone call with one of them. Wrested a message statement from my exegetical notes for Proper 27. More post-synod phone calls and emails. Things may be dying down a bit on the front. Saw my podiatrist (not encouraging news about my "Achilles insertional tendonitis"). Nice walk with Brenda on the last warm day of the year. Spent the evening in Comcast hell.


  Kept up with a mounting and not insubstantial stream of email correspondence with clergy and laity who have, speaking mildly, a "bad taste in their mouths" about how a particular issue was handled at synod.  Did some deeper-than-usual reconstructive surgery on a "vintage" sermon text for Proper 26, repurposing it for use at St Mary's, Robinson Sunday after next. Dealt substantively by email with a clergy deployment issue. Attended to a concern from an individual in the ordination process. Processed miscellaneous email and text traffic as it came in.

The Lord's Day (XIX Pentecost)

 Up and out of the Doubletree in Mt Vernon in time to arrive at St Mark's, West Frankfort (about 35 miles down I-57) around 0825. Presided and preached, sans any music, for a small but engaged congregation of about ten (decimated by the virus and fear of the virus), under the faithful pastoral leadership of Mother Sherry Black. Then, after taking the "slow road" (IL 37, rather than the parallel Interstate 57) as far as it went, which was just south of Effingham, where I stopped for some lunch, I will arrived at Trinity, Mattoon 45 minutes ahead of a scheduled 2pm general congregational meeting there (about 20 showed up) to discuss the contours of their pastoral hiatus,. It was a productive time. I finally arrived home at 6:00, having taken note of consistently beautiful (in an understated Illinois way) landscapes and farmscapes and townscapes. 

Sermon for Proper 23

  St Mark’s, West Frankfort -- Matthew 22:1–14, Isaiah 25:1–9 This is, by any stretch, a “hard” parable. It starts out well enough: a king’s son is getting married and the king wants to throw a lavish party for a bunch of A-list guests. But the A-listers all send their regrets, for a variety of reasons, or just don’t show up. So the B-list gets invited, and the only thing you need to do to be on the B-list is be 98.6 and vertical, which means that a bunch of people who would never dream of being invited to a party at the king’s palace get themselves invited to a party at the king’s palace. Everybody is Cinderella for a day. But from there, everything tanks. The king got so angry with the original A-list invitees who had snubbed him that he sends in troops and burns their city down. So ... that’s not very appetizing. But it gets worse. The king is working the room during the party and finds a guy who doesn’t have the right outfit on. If your first thought is like mine, it’s like “Give t

Saturday (St Paulinus of York)

  Did the finish work on tomorrow's homily. Attended to sundry emails as they came in. Talk a good walk with Brenda. Packed and headed south at 3:15 ... dinner in Mattoon ... bedded down in Mt Vernon. West Frankfort in the morning.

Friday (Robert Grosseteste)

  Building on prior work, created a rough draft of a homily for Proper 24 (the 18th in Morton). Spoke by phone with a colleague bishop, seeking his counsel on an emergent situation. Spoke by phone with Canon Evans. Collected questions from the last two sets of General Ordination Exams and sent them to those of our ordinands who will be sitting for the GOE in January. Just to give them a feel for what to expect. Wrote a substantive email message to the President of the Standing Committee and the Chair of the Commission on Ministry seeking their conceptual response to a situation that may or may not become concrete. Made an Ignatian-style meditation on the gospel reading from today's daily office lectionary. Caught up on some reading, both hard-copy and internet.


 Big stuff: Several email exchanges with clergy and laity around a rather troubling turn of events at synod last Saturday, wherein a proposed canonical change was derailed on a technicality. There is consternation in the ranks. Opened a sermon file on Proper 28 (November 15 at Granite City). Attended a meeting of the TEC Communion Partners bishops (I have to specify, since we have Canadians now) to take counsel together around a statement in response to the verdict announced against the Bishop of Albany. #IAmBillLove Threw together the raw details of next month's clergy conference and send them off to Hannah for her to craft into an attractive piece of publicity. Less big stuff: Initiated the process of arranging to take delivery on the vestments that my discretionary fund has purchased from Nashotah House. They don't need them and we do, so it's a good deal all around. But, because of the pandemic, they've been sitting in Wisconsin for several months. The usual mix of


 Highlights: Attended the weekly Province V bishops meeting. Did exegetical work on the propers for Proper 27, in preparation for preaching at St Andrew's, Carbondale on November 8. Did *master* planning for sermon prep tasks between Advent and the end of the post-Epiphany season. Lesser lights: Phone conversation with a colleague bishop. Phone conversation with a priest of the diocese. Dealt with assorted emails and text messages.

Tuesday (William Tyndale)

Lots of very substantive emails and phone conversations today. Phone call partners included Canon Evans, two clergy of the diocese, and a patient advocate nurse from Anthem Blue Cross who checks in on Brenda and me periodically. Email partners were more numerous, and included one of our postulants, and several diocesan clergy. The sermon prep work I had intended to accomplish fell by the wayside.

The Lord's Day (XVIII Pentecost)

Up and out of my Marion hotel room in time to head east to Harrisburg for the regular 10am liturgy at St Stephen's. Presided, preached, and blessed an aggregate of 93 years of marriage (three couples celebrating anniversaries this week). Acutely aware now that every visit I make is very likely my last time in that place. Bittersweet. Home around 5:30.

Sermon for Proper 22

  St Stephen’s, Harrisburg -- Matthew 21:33–46, Isaiah 5:1–7, Psalm 80:7-14 We’re a month away from a presidential election in this country, and to say that we are collectively “tightly wound” is a huge understatement. One of the sub-themes in the political conversation, both this cycle and throughout the last few decades, is the notion of America being a “Christian nation.” The question has basically been weaponized in social media, as any number of graphic memes and comment threads on Facebook and Twitter will demonstrate. Most of us gathered for worship here this morning are old enough to remember when it was kind of a slam dunk. When I was starting school, a baptismal certificate was considered sufficient evidence of age for registration purposes. I recently watched a movie on Netflix called Greyhound , which starred Tom Hanks as a religiously devout skipper of a troop transport vessel across the Atlantic in the early days of World War II. Some crew members were killed in a torped

Saturday (St Therese of Liseaux)

The big event for the day was the 143rd synod of the diocese, which lasted from 0900 until nearly 1230. It was on Zoom, of course, and, from a technical standpoint, the experience was overwhelmingly positive. Inasmuch as any part of the synod might be categorized as "unpleasant," it would have neither more nor less so had we been meeting in person. In particular, the voting was *much* smoother and easier. After some decompressing (it was mentally and emotionally draining), I caught lunch at Chick-Fil-A, ran an errand at my former home (now vacant and on the market), then returned to the office to do the finish work on tomorrow's homily. Lurked a bit on the margins of the cathedral's Blessing of Animals, did a bit of office organizing, took a call from a priest friend from outside the diocese, and finally headed south and east 2.5 hours to Marion, where I'm camped out for the night at the Hampton Inn. Tomorrw:m St Stephen's, Harrisburg.

Friday (Holy Guardian Angels)

After spending the morning with various actions under the category of "getting ready," I was out of  the garage pointed southbound right at noon. Arrived at the diocesan center in Springfield at 3:45. Then, more getting ready--this time for the Eucharist of the 143rd annual synod of the Diocese of Springfield. It was a fulsome liturgy with a nearly empty church (by intent), but live-streamed (or so we thought at the time) and recorded. Tomorrow, the synod itself. Afterward, I went out and got myself some pizza. Came back to the office for some more "getting ready" puttering, and to camp out for the night.

Sermon for Diocesan Synod, 2020

Springfield Cathedral-- Matthew 18:1-5, 10; Exodus 23:20-23, Psalm 91:9-16 The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee is owned collectively by the Episcopal dioceses of the southeastern United States. All three of my children got their undergraduate education there, and Brenda and I were “Sewanee parents” for nine consecutive years, between 1993 and 2002. The university does not impose its Christian and Episcopalian identity on either students or faculty, but neither does it shy away from wearing that identity quite openly. It occupies some very impressive real estate at the top a mountain about forty miles northwest of Chattanooga. All the land in the town of Sewanee is owned by the University, and the University’s Vice-Chancellor is the ex oficio mayor. The town and the campus and the surrounding acreage are referred to collectively as the “domain” of the University of the South. So there’s this quaint tradition at Sewanee, which our oldest child briefed us on as soon as she

Thursday (St Remigius)

  Confirmed an upcoming visitation with one of our parish priests. Printed, signed, scanned, and returned an application for retirement to the Church Pension Fund by a military chaplain who is canonically resident in the diocese. Responded to an email from one of our seminarians. Built out a homiletical message statement for Proper 24 (October 18 at All Saints, Morton) into a developed sermon outline. Responded to another email from another seminarian. Opened a sermon file on Proper 27 (November 8 at St Andrew's, Carbondale). Read an entire issue of The Living Church . I still have quite a backlog. Confirmed plans with the two presenters I have engaged for a Zoom version of the fall clergy conference. Took a long pre-dinner walk with Brenda, getting rained on for about the last fifteen minutes. We arrived home just shy of drenched.