All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Compassion—how much do you have?

Matthew 9:35-10:8
June 18, 2017
Bonnie A. Perry

“When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them…

Tell me about your compassion?

How much do you have?

For whom do you have it?

The ones for whom you have compassion—do they know it?

“Miracles happen, transformations take place when we care,” That’s what my spouse Susan said to me, as we were discussing our respective sermons for this morning. She said, leaning on her ever-present crutches, “Miracles happen when we care.”

To which I said, “How? When? You can’t just say that stuff. You have to back it up with something real.”

To which she replied, “Lisa Roan, (her therapist) she took me seriously. She listened to me and it completely changed my life.” Then pausing for just a moment, “ Then there was Maria Harris, (one of her professors in seminary), Susan said, “When I was ready to drop out after I’d been mugged she too listened to me, believed in what I might do, saw what I might be capable of, acknowledged my pain, and pointed out my gifts, that set my course, academically and emotionally. She believed in me when absolutely no one else did.”

Then she crutched off, saying as she left,

“Need anything else from me?”

Compassion? How much do you have?

How much do you care?

The Greek word for compassion used in the original text, is translated, “to be moved in the inward parts, to moved in one’s bowels” for it was perceived that deep care—the seat of one’s ability to feel intensely was lodged in an individual’s guts; deep down inside. So that true-biblical compassion is gut wrenching.

Author and practical theologian, Frederick Buechner, describes compassion as, “The fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside someone else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy for you too.”

Theologian Henri Nouwen, takes it farther, he says, “Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless.” (Christian Century)

So he sent them out, Jesus sent them out, for he had compassion for them, harassed and helpless they were…go to the lost sheep of Israel, proclaim the good news, ‘the Kingdom of Heaven has come near, cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons…”

I wonder, in addition to and beyond our families, how might we do this?

How do we do this?

Who, my friends, are we taking seriously?

Who have we passed by?

I think of the teachers who changed my life, the adults, who when I was a child, the ones who took the time to learn and care, the ones who showed enough staying power that I was willing to tell them significant portions of my story.

I think of the physicians who have cared.

The Friends and colleagues who have just produced what I needed, when I had no capacity or ability to ask.

Who has shown you gut-wrenching, life-altering compassion?

Compassion—it is not to be undertaken unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently and deliberately; for taking the time to care, is sacred, vulnerable, holy work. And it is the work of miracles.

For whom do you care?


Copyright Bonnie A. Perry June 2017

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Weekly Message for January 14

Weekly Message for January 14

Dear Friends,    

I hope you can join Susan and me for dinner this Saturday, January 13, at our home (4550 N. Hermitage Ave) from 6 to 9pm. We’ll have awesome food, created by Joe and David Wernette-Harden, lots of wonderful beverages, and free childcare if that will be helpful! This annual January dinner is a great time to hear about the vestry’s plans for the upcoming year, meet new people, and have a tasty dinner at my home. Please do come!
Sunday, January 28th we’ll have our Annual Meeting at 10:00 am. At the meeting we’ll have brunch (again lots of beverages) and our annual slide show. We’ll elect vestry members and diocesan representatives, review our budget for 2018, and honor several wonderful volunteers. On that Sunday, we’ll only have an 8:00 and 9:00 worship service. There will be NO 11:00 service.  
Emily is preaching this Sunday, I’ll be celebrating and our choir and Colin will be creating some great music. Stay warm, hold your loved ones near, and reach out to everyone in need.
All my best,
Please let me know if you are interested in serving on our vestry (governing council) or being a representative of this congregation at or Diocesan Convention in November.
Bags for RCS

Bags for RCS

We're running low on paper and reusable bags for our Tuesday night pantry. Please bring us your extras! 
We will be taking donations on Tuesday evenings, M-F 9am-4pm, and on Sundays during church services. Look for the bins by the doors. Thanks for your help!

Evening Prayer at The Breakers

Evening Prayer at The Breakers

 Sundays at 2pm

breakersbibleWe are very excited to announce that every Sunday at 2:00 pm, All Saints' offers something new at the Breakers - An Evening Prayer Service! Our first event was Sunday, December 4th, and went marvelously well - we had 13 attendees! Folks are very pleased that there's a Protestant service being offered in addition to the current choices (which are Catholic and Moody Bible.) The Prayer Service itself is printed in large print and in bulletin style with scripture taken each week from the Common Lectionary.

The weekly service starts at 2:00 pm, upstairs on the second floor Meditation Room, and lasts about 15 minutes. Please contact Paul Mallatt if you have questions, or comments at 773-860-4649. When you can, stop by the Breakers (5333 N Sheridan Rd) where the parking is free (for 2 hours), the coffee is hot, and the folks are friendly!


Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

Tuesdays 6:15-8:00pm 

RCS is looking for help serving and cleaning up after dinner on Tuesdays from 6:15-8:00pm.

If you're able to volunteer, contact Emily or Operations Manager Parker Callahan, or call 773-769-0282.

New Opportunity: Hospitality Ministry

New Opportunity: Hospitality Ministry

helloDo you feel called to create an open, welcoming, hospitable environment at All Saints? Do you like meeting and connecting with people? Join the new Hospitality Ministry! Members of the Hospitality Ministry will help the clergy and vestry create a welcoming culture by greeting new members, engaging new faces at coffee hour, and helping connect new members of All Saints with our various programs.

Interested? Contact Diane Doran or Michelle Mayes. Include "Hospitality Ministry" in the subject line.

Join Our Member Directory!

Join Our Member Directory!

Our new Associate Rector, Emily Williams Guffey, is enjoying getting to know everyone in our congregation. Help her put names and faces together by adding yourself to our online directory!

If you are a member of All Saints' and haven't already registered for the directory, please contact our resident web guru Jim Crandall at and he will send a user name, password, and instructions.

Love on a Plate

Love on a Plate

Join the All Saints' Care Ministry! 

casseroleThe Care Ministry at All Saints' is a quiet one, simply providing meals after a new baby arrives, after surgery, during an illness. Because when life gets complicated, dinner is often the last thing on our minds--but sometimes a meal and visit from a friend is exactly what we need!

If you can provide a meal, give someone a ride, or run an errand once in awhile, please email You'll be contacted when a need arises and you can sign up to help at your convenience.


Donate to The 1883 Project

Donate to The 1883 Project

Please consider supporting the restoration project of our historic building. To make a donation, click here

1883 Construction web 

Fixing This Old Church

Fixing This Old Church

Here is a collection of photos of the progress of our 1883 Project. Here is a collection of bell tower photos. Check back often for updates.

Sunday Service Times

8:00 am Inclusive Language Eucharist
9:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir
10:00 am Children's Church School
10:00 am Coffee Hour
11:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir


Contact Us

4550 N. Hermitage in Chicago, IL 60640 (Directions)

Phone (773) 561-0111


Information about pastoral care.



Bonnie on Huffington Post

Occasionally Bonnie's sermons are published on the Huffington Post. Here are some links.

Pain. Change. Hope.

November 15, 2015

What Does St. Francis of Assisi Have to Say to Us Today?

October 4, 2015

Wake Up Calls

September 6, 2015

Christmas Reminds Us That We, Like God, Are Human, Too

December 24, 2014

The Deep Sleep of Racial Oblivion: One Pastor's Sin of Omission

November 30, 2014

Pulpit Swap

The Pulpit Swap between St Thomas and All Saints is part of our ongoing effort to bring our parishes closer together as we engage in a conversation about systemic racism and how we can work together to forge new possibilities and outcomes.

Going Home—Changed

Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Bonnie Perry of All Saints Episcopal Church on October 16, 2016.  

When Prayers Go Unanswered

Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Dr Fulton L Porter celebrating at All Saints Episcopal Church on Oct16 2016.