December 2014

December 1
Early morning workout. In the evening Kyle, Katie, Betsy and I attend the an interfaith service at Millsaps for National Aids day. The service and preaching are very moving. After the service Betsy and I take time to observe the Aids quilt. I was really touched to see a panel in memory of the son of deceased parishioners from St. Columb’s.

December 2
Traveling to New York with Kyle for the new bishops and spouses meeting with the Church Pension group. I’m told this is an excellent and informative event. Kyle and I are able to enjoy a show together. Lots of fun!

December 3
In New York for meeting but find time in the morning to catch up on some work including emails and phone calls.

December 4
On our way to the pension group meeting Kyle and I are distracted by about 100 Santa Clauses who are picketing in herald square with signs reading #baconforsanta.  Turns out a simple Twitter message from me with that hashtag will feed 10 hungry people during this holiday season. I quickly tweet the message after taking a selfie with one of the saint nicks. After that we take a detour in order to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller center its really striking and beautiful. The Pension group meetings start with lunch at noon during which time I meet several other new bishops. It’s nice to meet some of the folks who will be in my college for bishops class. The meetings are a tidal wave of information … Wow! The evening ends after a reception at the presiding bishop’s home and then supper at the Yale club. We get back to our hotel just before a protest rolls through in response to decision to not indict a local police officer involved in the choking death of a suspect.

December 5
CPG meetings in the morning and then to the airport for flights home. Again it’s a tidal wave of information. An uneventful flight home with no delays. It’s great to be home!

December 6
Katie and I enjoy an easy mid morning workout. Errands around the house before settling in to watch the SEC championship game. My wife is elated that Alabama defeats Missouri to win the SEC title and in all likelihood a berth in the first CFB playoffs. After the game I leave for Ocean Springs where I will preach, preside and confirm at 2 services. I arrive on the Coast well after 10:30pm.

December 7
At St. John’s in Oceans Springs I preside at 2 service and confirm 2 new members. I also meet with the Rev. Jim Lancaster for his annual visit. After services and a reception I spend time with an aspirant for Holy Orders. It’s a great visit. St. John’s was one of the 2 parishes where I practiced my ministry as newly ordained curate. It was nice to see so many people who were integral to my formation. On the way home I stop by Singing River Hospital to make a pastoral call.

December 8
Day off! Morning workout.
Lunch with Kyle.

December 9
Staff meetings followed by a luncheon and meeting with the Standing committee of the Diocese. Afternoon meeting with the Rev. Penny Sisson for her annual consultation.

December 10
Early workout.
Busy morning! Early meeting with the Rev. Jamie McElroy. After meeting with Jamie I met with the Very Rev. Robert Weatherington for his annual consultation. The morning concludes with the start of the Deans meeting.

In the afternoon I attend a reception honoring the ministry and work of the Rev. Dr. Ruth Black at University Medical Center. Ruth has given so much for Pastoral care department at UMC. The Interfaith Chapel is dedicated in honor of her ministry.

After the reception for Ruth I head to Hattiesburg for confirmations at Trinity Church. While en-route I have a phone meeting with a colleague from another diocese. At the service I baptize 3, confirm 6, receive 2 and bless 1. The blessing was over a companion dog who showed his appreciation by licking me on the face! The evening concluded with a reception at which time they presented me with several gifts including a Smoothie King gift card! On the way out town I bought a smoothie for the road.

December 11
Pre-work meeting at Starbucks for coffee. The couple I’m meeting with informs me that they met while attending the walkabouts during the Bishop search process! Wow.

I continue my morning at Allin house for a meeting with Bishop Gray after which we head to St. Andrew’s Cathedral for a meeting with the Diocesan finance committee. After the finance meeting I returned to the office to finish paper work and other projects.

December 12
Early workout.
Meeting with the Rev. Sam Godfrey rector at Christ Church, Vicksburg for this annual consultation. After meeting with Sam I rush downstairs for a meeting with George Penick and Bishop Lloyd Allen from Honduras. This is my first meeting with Bishop Allen. Following this meeting we walk over to the Cathedral for lunch and a meeting with members of the medical mission. I learned a great deal about the medical mission at that time.

Later in the afternoon I met with members of St. Mary’s in Vicksburg. That meeting was followed by a meeting with a couple friends who I’ve known for a while from Camp. My day ends with a phone meeting while heading home.

December 13
In the morning I attend the Day on Diaconate at Grace Church in Canton. Great attendance! I’m really impressed by the commitment of the leaders and those interested in this program. In the afternoon I enjoy some quiet time at home.

December 14
A rare Sunday morning without a visitation! I’m not sure what to do with myself. The girls and I take our time waking up and then attend services at St. Christopher’s in Jackson. It was a lovely service with a really warm spirit! After church the rainy day keeps me inside watching football. In the evening I attend the POC supper and gathering at Gray center.

December 15
Morning workout. Day off! Kyle and I systematically do our Advent decorating and find a tree! After lunch I learn that the Rev. Hunter Isaacs is in serious condition at Singing River Hospital in Ocean Springs. Early in the evening I receive word that Hunter has died. I will miss him. He’s such a warm and kind soul. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

December 16
It’s a busy day in the office. Much of the morning is spent in staff meetings. Later in the morning I prepare for a meeting and gathering with the executive committee. After meeting with the executive committee I meet with the Diocesan treasurer Fred Page. After meeting with Fred I join Bishop Gray for a meeting with James Lueth the worship leader for our Sudanese ministry. On the way home I stop to buy some Christmas gifts.

December 17
Early morning workout. Things are moving slowly back home with both daughters suffering from the flu. I get to the office later in the morning and deal with a variety of phone calls. Including discussions about the funeral for Hunter Isaacs. In the middle of the day I rearrange meetings in order to go home to help my sick children. In the afternoon I’m back in the office for a conference call and meeting with board for All Saints school in Vicksburg.

December 18
In the morning I manage to do a little more Christmas shopping. The staff Christmas party and lunch takes place at noon at the Capitol club. It’s a lovely gathering. Many thanks to Bishop and Kathy Gray for hosting this gathering. Following lunch David Johnson and I leave for a meeting with the Vestry at Christ Church in Bay Saint Louis. I return home to later that night.

December 19
Flu like symptoms! I skip workout and call the doctor. Tamiflu is prescribed …

In spite of not feeling well I attend a graveside funeral for Eddie Demiller. Eddie was 97 years old, the son of a priest and a long time member at St. James, Jackson. A great guy and really faithful Christian.

December 20
I think I started the tamiflu at the right time because I feel better!

December 21
I leave the house really early in order to Celebrate and preside at St. Pierre’s in Gautier. This is the first Sunday since the death of their vicar, Hunter Isaacs. The mood is very somber. The Rev. Chris Colby preached a great sermon. After church I meet with Mission Committee and then head home.

December 22
I’m following doctors orders and skipping working out today in order to get over the flu and finish my prescription. I spent most of the morning driving to Gautier for the funeral service for Hunter Isaacs. I arrive in time in spite of traffic and a big pile up on the interstate. It’s a beautiful standing room only service. Prayers remain with Cissy and their family. Rest in peace my friend+.

Most of the afternoon is spent in the car driving home. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook “Unbroken.” I can’t wait for the movie to debut on Christmas day. Supper at home with the girls.

December 30
In the office for staff meetings. After the staff meetings I spend time with Bishop Gray and Canon McCormick. It’s strange to look around Bishop Gray’s office and see the boxes that are being packed in preparation for his move and subsequent retirement.

Later in the morning I meet with the Rev. William Ndishibandi for his annual meeting. William has so much energy and passion for doing

December 31
Early morning workout.
Spent the morning working at home on various projects. Began some early brainstorming for my address to council. In addition I was able to catch up on journal entries. Also, found time for several phone calls. As I finished my morning I recieved the formal notice that the Rev. Melanie Lemburg was called to be the Priest in charge at my former parish St. Columb’s. I am excited for Melanie, her family and for the people of the parish.

In the evening I quietly ring in the new year at home with Kyle and a couple good friends.

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