A Prayer Map

We have a prayer board in our church that hangs in the hallway near the bathrooms, where people can write the names of people they love and are concerned about. Then we put the names in the Sunday bulletin for a few weeks and we have a special prayer group that prays over the names […]

The Sabbatical

In mid-August, I’m going on sabbatical. St. Benedict, Adam, and I have been preparing for almost two years for this time. A team of lay leaders and I wrote and won a grant from the wonderful Lilly Foundation to pay for some exciting opportunities for me, Adam, and the congregation, including a priest who will lead worship […]

Living By The Word (article link)

Friends – I just realized that most of you won’t be able to read these, since they’re behind a paywall – my apologies!  I published two lectionary reflections in The Christian Century‘s last issue (June 25, 2014) for their series “Living By the Word.” Below you’ll find a few opening sentence/s and links! Sunday, July 6, 2014,  Romans […]

The Lonely Old Sugar Maple

In 1820, before any Europeans had settled down in Barbers’ Corners or anywhere around here, Illinois was about two thirds prairie land – no trees, just miles and miles of waving grasses. Trees could be found in small groves around rivers, streams, lakes, and isolated places here and there. But by 1900, the prairie had almost entirely been plowed […]

12 Steps for Clergy Recovery

Clergy have one of those fuzzy, slippery jobs – a job where nothing and everything is in the job description. Also, because being a pastor is essentially relational, there’s an emotional subtext to almost everything we do: from presiding at a funeral, to the look on our face while shaking someone’s hand or giving them communion, to what we put in the newsletter and […]

The Most Colorful Kneelers in the Chicago Suburbs

In some ways, St. Benedict is like most newer churches built in the exurbs. It looks a bit like a medical office building. We sometimes wonder if people driving by even realize it’s a church if they don’t see the sign (not shown here). We have a simple, mostly unadorned interior. Even on Christmas Eve, it’s got […]

My Suburban Congregation, 2014

Photo taken on Pentecost Sunday, 2014, in beautiful reds and oranges!

Spring Garden Tour

Beautiful “golden” sugar snap peas with purple flowers! They’ll grow to be six feet tall – whew! Not sure the peas we’ll harvest this summer will finally cover the cost of my sturdy “pea fence”. But maybe next year. Sheesh. Lovely little radishes. Delicata Squash seedlings peeking through their black plastic blanket! (Absorbs heat, which squash needs and keeps […]

Mother Heidi

It’s a strange thing not to have children, as a young couple. It’s even stranger when you have a house in the suburbs, flexible work schedules, a dog, and you generally like people and children. But Adam and I have decided not to become parents. We discovered we weren’t able to conceive a few years […]

Elegant Little Things

Every home has a miscellany of elegant, useful objects that make life better. I don’t mean big stuff, like a hot water heater, refrigerator, or sectional sofa. I’m talking about little things – often inexpensive – that enhance our everyday lives because of their simple but elegant practicality or beauty. St. Benedict says, “regard all utensils and goods of the monastery as […]