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Pastoral Letters, Etc.

The Day on Which the Rest Depend

The (1979) Book of Common Prayer, on p. 15, sets forth the rule for calculating the date of Easter (the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox). With that bit of knowledge, along with the information the Christmas always falls on December 25, the entirety of the (western) Christian liturgical year [...]

Goodbye on the Installment Plan

This is not yet my final  regular contribution to the Springfield Current, but the end of January will mark an important milestone in the diocese's transition from its eleventh to its twelfth bishop, as I begin a "modified sabbatical." This is not how I would have ever imagined the conclusion of my ministry among you [...]

A Word About Assessments

Beloved in Christ, As you read this, most of the Eucharistic Communities of the diocese are putting the finishing touches on financial planning for 2021, having completed a pledge drive or every-member-canvas or whatever terminology was used. Just a couple of days ago, the forms were sent to treasurers and Mission Leadership Teams for indicating [...]

On Annual Meetings and MLT Elections

Beloved, Even before the recent alarming surge in COVID-19 transmissions throughout Illinois, one of our Eucharistic Communities brought to my attention the difficulty in planning for the customary (and canonically mandatory) Annual Parish Meeting in January. It's one thing to gather prudently and safely for worship as we have been doing. It's another to have [...]

Faith-ing in the Midst of Disappointment

Faith-ing. What, you say? Well, it's one of those times when the English language isn't quite adequate. The New Testament infinitive verb pistēo, however it's conjugated, is usually translated as some version of "believe." The problem is, most contemporary English-speakers use "believe" for something like "mental assent." We might say, "I believe it's going to [...]

Address to Synod, 2020

This is the tenth annual synod of the Diocese of Springfield over which I have presided as bishop, and the eleventh that I had attended. With all the complicated emotions that surround the recognition of such a reality, I must also acknowledge that this is my final one—to preside over, at any rate; it’s not [...]

Keeping Our Clothes On

As I write, we are about three weeks into the second stage of the “Coronatide” season. By the time you are reading this, most or all of Illinois is probably in Phase 4 of the state's reopening plan, with groups up to fifty permitted to gather, and indoor seating allowed in bars and restaurants, with [...]

On Facing Racism & Other Evils

I am recently in receipt of a petition signed by a large number of clergy (18 retired or living outside the diocese, 17 resident and active) calling on me to respond in certain ways to the present "moment" in our culture that focuses on the evil of systemic racism. Let me be clear once again, [...]

A Word on Responding to Racism

This is not a public statement. It's not a call to action. It is a personal and pastoral theological reflection. Two theological truths must inform any discussion of racism in any form. First, every man, woman, and child is created in and bears the image and likeness of God. For this reason alone, every human [...]

An Important Announcement Regarding My Retirement

To my dear sisters and brothers in Christ of the Diocese of Springfield: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are continuing to traverse the uncharted territory of a public health emergency as best we can. On the whole, we have found that grace has been abundant, [...]