- Woke up around 5am unable to sleep (I normally rise around 7am) so did Sunday's diary entry.
- Then read the second half of the Rule of St. Benedict in the bath.
- Out the door a little after 7am to go visit a friend dealing with a recent tragedy.
- Into the Office.
- Spent some working on research for the diocesan Commission on Mission & Development I serve on.
- Worked on the bulletins for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day then sent them off to our local printer: Swift Print. I normally don't do the bulletins as that's the realm of our Parish Admin. Roberta but during a short, hectic week I'm glad to pick up some tasks to lighten our Staff's load. We typically print in-house but, for weeks with four services, farming it out is way easier. And again, it allows our staff to truly have time off and not just double their workload before the days off.
- Pastoral Care Updates: each Monday I check-in with our Pastoral Care Team to get updates on folks and then coordinate visitations for the week. Our Pastoral Care Team consists of me, our Deacon Bill Pelnar, our two "Deacons Emeritus" Marlyne Seymour and Mary Misner, my wife Tammy, Pat Leverick, Terry Cummings and Pat Benson. These are our folks who always know how our flock is doing and often make visitations of our sick and shut-ins. So thankful for each of these dear souls and the ways they are the heart and hands of Jesus.
- Check-in with St. John's in the Wilderness, Elkhorn's Vestry (Leadership Team). This Fall I was appointed Vicar of St. John's by Bishop Miller. While I don't lead services there on Sundays (due to my responsibilities at Christ Church) I give them oversight by meeting with their Senior Warden and Vestry, provide pastoral care and respond to emergencies, and am working towards offering non-Sunday worship when I can.
- This congregation does amazing outreach: for Christmas they provide Christmas packages (which include gifts and clothing) for about two-hundred families and do similar outreach at Back-to-School; just to name a few things. I'm very eager to work with them to expand the great ministry they currently do and discern with the Lord together what their future holds.
- Worked on customaries for Sunday Dec. 29th & Jan. 3rd (little "cheat sheets" with the page numbers in the Hymnal, Bible and Prayer Book for Sunday morning). Why? Because one of the new policies I instituted when I arrived is closing the Office so our Staff can have off the week after Christmas and Easter. They work so hard and regularly go above and beyond the call of duty that after are two busiest weeks of the year I want them to have some well-deserved time off. And one of the Office Staff's major tasks are our Sunday morning bulletins. Creating, printing, collating, stapling, etc. Labor intensive. So... for two Sundays we're doing it "old school" from the Hymnals, Bibles and Prayer Books. Again...it's not really time off if you have to double your workload just to be gone. And I want to make sure they truly have time off.
- Home for major house-prep for Tammy's family to come stay here for Christmas + 3. I can't wait. Looking forward to lounging in pajamas with my in-laws and playing board games whilst munching on Christmas cookies and being zany with my nieces and nephews.
- Into the Office. Needed to make last minute revisions to all the aforementioned bulletins.
- Various administrivia in preparation for Christmas Eve & Day.
- Off to Elkhorn to drop-off copies of The Purpose Driven Church for my Vestry in Elkhorn at the lovely framing shop of Mike and Sue Bell: Bell's Under Glass.
- Pastoral Visitations. Over to Walworth to see Deacon Mary and Dan Misner. Mary shattered her ankle in September and has been immobile since. We had a great visit and I got to show her and Dan the new website.
- Over to north Delavan to visit Mariann Stewart and bring her Communion. She is 98 and is one of the most prolific crochet-ers I've ever met. There was an article this week in the Shopper (local paper) about the history her families farm, that her daughter / parishioner Mary Stewart still lives in. Their family arrived in Delavan and bought that farm in 1837 and a member of the family has lived their every since: four generations for 178 years. Awesome.
- Over to visit Dorothy Brown and her daughter and son-in-law Vito & Liz Episcopo. Dorothy turned 100 (one hundred) last month. She is such a beautiful lady, gushing with kindness, joy and trust in God's goodness and care. And Vito and Liz always make me feel so welcome and loved when I visit (Vito makes the best martinis!). I'm always so encouraged by them.
- The Missus was sick today (boo!) so we had eclectic fast food dinner and watched Home Alone. And now I am going to eat some peanut buttercup custard from Culver's (one of the many hallmarks of the great State of Wisconsin: frozen custard) and watch the Office with my Love.