Tuesday, June 23, 2015


  • Had our first Central Convocation (a.k.a. tri-country area of Episcopal Churches) Clergy Bible Study this morning on the Pastoral Epistles. Really enjoyed digging into 1 Timothy, so good to be reminded of what our calling is as minister of the Gospel.
  • Had two nice impromptu visits this morning from one of our Deacons Mary Misner and Parishioner Pat Leverick.
  • Spent midday on various Administrivia including ordering a Financial Peace University membership for one of our newly-weds as a Wedding Gift (my standard Engagement & Wedding Gift: the best possible gift to give married couples!).
  • 1pm appointment with a Parishioner.
  • 2:30pm drove out to Inspiration Ministries in Walworth to visit another Parishioner. Had a nice conversation with local Pastor Keith Harms who I bumper into in the parking lot.
  • Back to the Office for to work on finalizing our website ASAP including writing some content and phone meetings with our web-designer Allan Aguirre of Treehouse PC and an excellent local photographer.
  • 5:30pm home for dinner then off to Bible Study.

Last Week

So last week was a great but incredibly busy week.

Left for Camp Sunday afternoon:  check-in, dinner, introductions, etc then back home around 10pm to write sermon and prep for...
Monday: Presided at the Funeral of our parishioner Helen Carlson. It was a well-attended and honoring tribute to this dear Sister which concluded with a Funeral Procession to the Cemetery, graveside Committal and Luncheon at the American Legion Hall in Delavan. Then back to Camp Webb where I served as Chaplain and musician on the music team. Lot's of fun with the kids, especially dress-up dodgeball to cheesy '80's music.

Tuesday:  Camp with the Kids then back to Delavan for our Vestry Picnic. It was a beautiful night on Lake Comus at the home of Vestry Member Pat Leverick enjoying burgers on the grill, delicious homemade goodies and great company. Then back to Camp for evening worship and bed.
Wednesday: Camp with the Kids then out to Elkhorn for our monthly County-wide Clergy Luncheon at Lakeland Community Church. I so appreciate this group. We talked about boundaries and time management and the Sabbath. Then back to Camp.

Wednesday through Saturday:  At Camp Webb with the kids. Time at Camp Webb deserves a lot more commentary but I'll summarize it this way. Beautiful camp on Lauderdale Lakes. So grateful for our Staff who understand how to connect with Youth and speak faith into their lives. So grateful for kids who are open to the Lord and showed real love for one another during the week. And so exhausted from an 8am to 9pm schedule everyday!
Home Saturday afternoon to recover as much of the Sabbath as possible and rest.

Sunday: Woke up at 6am to finish my Adult Education powerpoint on Leviticus 23 and generally prepare for Sunday worship. 8am and 10am Eucharists with 9am Adult Ed between all followed by our Annual Father's Day Brat Cookout on the Patio.

Then a wonderful Father's Day afternoon being on the receiving end of the love my Son and my Bride who took to me Simple in Lake Geneva, got me two cases of Rhinelander beer (the best!) and went for a walk and then settled later in the evening for pizza and homemade Caprese salad to watch the newest GODZILLA movie (Dad's choice for Father's Day).

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Wonderful Lord's Day

Today was my first Sunday back after vacation and it was absolutely wonderful!

8am - Said Eucharist in the Chapel with Healing Prayer and Anointing. I was on the receiving end of a powerful prayer from my Parishioner Bev for healing for my forearm which I badly bruised the other day.

Continued our new sermon series which was excellently launched by one of our two Seminarians
Pedro Lara last Sunday:  Being the Church.

9am - First session of our new Adult Ed Hour with a series titled The Festivals of God and His People where we'll be spending the summer looking at the Calendar and how our Christian Calendar is rooted in Life of Jesus with a heavy emphasis on the Seven Biblical Feasts in Leviticus Chapter 23, what they are, how we can and do observe them, and how these teach us about who Jesus is as Israel's Messiah.

10am - Eucharist in the Sanctuary with our music and Children's Program. Music today was especially excellent Thank you Ron, Susanne and Dan! We had two groups of visitors including a retired priest and his family, he happened to be ordained by the same bishop as me: the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman.

Healing Prayer and Anointing today at 10am too. I love that nearly the entire congregation comes forward and on these Sundays we have to add extra songs and Church goes longer so people can receive healing prayer. This is such a wonderful heritage of Christ Church!

A real joy for me personally is that my son served at the altar today for the third time. It means so much to me to have him by my side.

It was also good to connect with some Parishioners I had not spoken to in a few weeks and check in with them.

Quick Mancub-Dad lunch at Sunmist Cafe then home to rest for a little and then trouble some issues with the car.

Now off to Camp Webb, our diocesan Summer Camp, where I'll be serving as Chaplain this week and Mancub will be a camper.

A Good Sabbath

Had a great Saturday resting for the Sabbath. Quiet time in the morning. Wandered down to our friend's the Adams for some coffee and conversation while the kids the played.
It was so wonderful walking down the street and around the corner and stopping to talk to such wonderful neighbors like John Jeninga about our hopes for a house in the neighborhood and Joe Troast who introduced me to his Dad who's visiting. I love our neighborhood.
Then we all packed up and headed over to Big Foot Archers in Linn for some family archery practice. A beautiful location and facility here in the woods of southern Wisconsin. It felt great to have my hands on a bow again.
Living in a Wisconsin has been a return to so many wonderful things that filled my time from childhood until I was about 22 years old:  fishing,  archery,  camping,  hiking,  spending time "Up North" in Antigo and Rhinelander.
So after archery we all returned to the Rectory (that's our house) for an impromptu dinner, Dunkin' Donuts a movie while our wives talked and Jon and I played a little Rusted Rood on guitars.

Then a little work:  Worked on the curriculum for our new Adult Ed Class:  The Festival of God and His People.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Friday - The Wedding of Michael Palcic & Tanya Dennis

  • Into the Office at 9am today
  • Created Wedding Customary for tonight
  • Preparation for Tuesday's Vestry Meeting & today's Senior Warden Meeting
  • Miscellaneous administrivia
  • Monthly lunch meeting with our Senior Warden Ashley Renz
  • Phone calls to check-in with Parishioners
  • Worked on current sermon series:  "Being the Church"
  • Prepared Sanctuary, Altar, etc for Wedding

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rules To Live By...What's Yours?

After a 14 hour day yesterday, today's a half day.

I have a Rule I try to follow which my wife and I agreed to early in our ministry. It's the "Two Blocks A Day Rule".  We (try to) only work two blocks out of three each day. The idea being that a working day breaks down into roughly three blocks:  Morning (8am-1pm).  Afternoon (1-5pm). Evening  (5-9pm). So, if I work three blocks one day (like yesterday), I try to only work one the next (or another day the same week).

This reminds me of another good Rule my friend, another fellow Church-planter and candidate for Bishop in Dallas, Fr. Mike Michie kept. "The 12 Hour Rule":  Whenever your last appointment ended you schedule no appointments until 12 hours later. This one can be tougher to keep, but a good goal nonetheless.

Why do Clergy especially need such Rules? Because if we don't spell it out we can easily work 12 hours a day 7 days a week.

Here's how I see it. You are the only one who can be your kid's Dad / Mom. You are the only one who can be your Wife's Husband / Husband's Wife. However, if push comes to shove anyone can be your Church's Pastor. Don't mix up the priorities. And coincidentally, you'll do a better job at all three.  

To quote my dear friend and mentor the Rev. Toby Carlos from Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church in Bloomington, IL:  "First God. Then Family. And then the Ministry." 

  • 8am meeting with the husband and sons of our parishioner Helen who passed away Monday. She and Emory have been married 65 years! Glory to God and bravo to them!
  • Dunkies run.
  • Worked on Funeral details (scripture, music, servers, etc).
  • Invited local diocesan clergy to a Summer Bible Study on 1st & 2nd Timothy.
  • Lead worship, Preached and Anointed with oil the good people at Vintage of the Ponds Nursing Home. No musician today so I lead singing acapella and boy these folks SING! Always a blast with them. The first time I went I anointed everyone and now I do each time I go. Preached from John 3  "Believe in Jesus and Pray For Others To Do The Same." Ironically, when I approached one gentlemen who was sitting "on the sidelines" and offered to anoint him he told me succinctly "I don't believe in any bullsh*t".  Needless to say we just shook hands. And the 40 other people are probably all praying for him now!
  • Back to the Office for Music Planning meeting for the next few weeks with our keyboardist Susanne. 
  • Reviewed Funeral Bulletin.
  • 1pm - this little priest is D.O.N.E. for day. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

First Day Back - Wed June 10th

Today is my first day back after two weeks of Vacation. (Funny to wake up eleven months into my first year and realize it'd probably be a good idea to take some time off!) Mostly stay-cation but it was capped off by an absolutely fantastic time "Up North" in Minocqua as guests at the cabin of our dear friends the Adams. Lots of pine trees, loon calls, amazing night sky, bass fishing, eating yummy food, kid's laughter, friendship-in-Jesus and God's goodness.

So what did I do on my first day back?

  • Morning trip to Dunkies (a.k.a. Dunkin Donuts) for much-needed caffeine. 
  • Early 8:30am meeting with a parishioner to handle loose-ends for their Wedding this Friday.
  • Replied to two weeks worth of e-mails and returned phone-calls for the rest of the morning.
  • Prepared next week's 1 Year Bible Reading Plan.
  • Taco Bell for lunch. Don't judge me.
  • Went out to the car to go to Willowfield to discover a dead battery. My Parish Admin Roberta kindly loaned me her wheels. 
  • 2pm - Celebrated the Eucharist, preached & made pastoral visitation at Willowfield Nursing Home.
  • Prepared this week's News from the Red Doors (e-news).
  • 4pm - One hour drive to monthly Commission on Mission & Development. Stopped at Dunkies. Had a great conversation en route with my dear brother Fr. Brendan Kimbrough, we were fellow Church-planters in the Diocese of Dallas. 
  • Dousman Farmer's Market was at St. Mary's. Bought pottery from the Director of our diocesan Haiti Project.
  • 5-9pm - Commission on Mission & Development:  I love the work we do. Looking at how best to equip, support and grow congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee. Great people. Great ministry. 
  • One hour drive home listening to 1st and 2nd Timothy. Good to be reminded of my calling as an elder / presbyter / priest. 
  • Longer day than normal but a good one.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Red Door Diary

With a hat tip to Bishop Dan Martins of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield I've started this blog to serve as my Daily Diary. There are three reasons why:

1)  I've found reading Bishop Dan's to be helpful simply seeing how an experienced Minister of the Gospel spends his day, organizes his time and how he prioritizes. Being able to read it has been a gift and an encouragement to me.

2)  It's  helpful for those who may wonder, "What exactly does the Pastor of that Red Door Church do?" Well, now you can know.

3)  Simply as a diary. A way for me to record / process / debrief my day.

We'll see how it goes. I'm primarily doing this for myself. If it's helpful to others even better.