Not a lot to report today. We observed the principle of sabbath rest, so the only plenary gathering scheduled was the 10am Eucharist. I got a hard walk in between breakfast and then. The weather is noticeably cooler today, but for most of us, it's still warmer than home. After the liturgy, we sat for a retreat meditation from the Bishop of Nebraska, Scott Barker. The theme for all the meditations is from Psalm 137, "singing the Lord's song in an alien land." I could identify with much of what Bishop Barker had to say, as Nebraska, like central and southern Illinois, suffers from a slowly-unfolding demographic crisis, with the demise of the family farm and the depopulation of small towns. But in order to "make room," I suppose, for the retreat meditation, there was no homily at the Eucharist. I felt a little deprived by this. The gospel readings for Lent in Year A are of such uncommon power and compelling clarity. It was by means of these narratives that the ancient church took the hands of catechumens and walked them through the mysteries of baptism and eucharist. My heart wanted to hear the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well be broken open once again.
I took part in two voluntary but substantial meetings during the afternoon. One was among those bishops present who are also trustees of Nashotah House. While the campus community seems healthy and well-behaved, there have lately been some atmospherics among some off-campus stakeholders, so it was good for those of us who are here to take counsel together. The other was with the Communion Partner bishops who are present. We discussed possibilities for a meeting with our Canadian counterparts, and the potential for sponsoring a major conference on mission in a post-Christian environment.
After dinner, I floated between two other impromptu (more or less) meetings: one to further discuss the work of the Task Force on Marriage, and the other comprised of bishops who are seminary trustees. Tomorrow we're back to a rather fuller schedule.