Showing posts from November, 2020

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.