All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

God’s Good Time

Genesis 12 & Genesis 15

February 24, 2013

Africa Bake Auction

Bonnie A. Perry


May the God…

Please be seated.

Good Morning.


Have you noticed 

        how long some things take?

Have you noticed

             change is slow-going?

Perhaps God’s promise is worth waiting for

           —but seriously when?

God’s own good time—

                     means what? When?


There are times, nights –

          its always at night 

especially Saturday nights 

when I wonder,

 when I find myself

 sitting on my window seat

 in the front of the house—nights—

when I’m the only one up-

nights when I find myself 

wondering when you all

 will you tire of something.  

When you will say—

Oh God—not that—again…


The bake auction for instance:

 this morning’s bake auction 

we’ve been doing 

one version or another of it

 for at least 15 years now. 

 So when I approach these days

 I find myself wondering

 if this is what 

we should still be doing? 

 Are we making a difference?  

Is what we are doing—does it matter?


For those of you 

who may not have the background—

let me give you a bit of history.  

About 15 years ago 

one of our young people Hilary Waldron,

 came up with the idea 

that we should have a bake sale. 

(Hilary now 27ish Masters Social Work Tulane)

Bake to the bake sale 

But not just any bake sale—

a bake sale on steroids—

a bake auction. 

 She envisioned us

 baking cakes and then 

auctioning them off 

and the church school kids—

her peers would then 

give the money to Heifer International:

 the non-for-profit

 that gives animals to people 

in developing countries. 

That’s one version of how this event started. 


 Time went by—

and the bake sale/auction

 became something of a competition.

 Particularly when James Mattson

then in 7th grade 

made his first Chocolate Granache cake

 from scratch a

nd his father Mike

 made the mistake of saying 

out loud that James 

dearly wanted him

 to buy it back

 so their family could enjoy his labors.  

Well that comment cost Mike and Helen about $205.  


Then about 10 years ago Connie Wilson

 came to me and told me the story of Elizabeth Lueth 

who was the niece of a friend of hers

 from Seabury-Western Seminary. 

 Elizabeth was a 12 years old 

living in war torn Sudan 

and she needed help,

 she was sick, needed surgery. 

Might we use the bake auction

 to raise some money.   

We asked the kids

 and that year we raised about $7,000.  A record.


A couple years after that 

there was Morgan Mankowski’s cake. 

 Charlie Simokaitis

 got into a bidding war with Connie Wilson 

and as I recall ,

to everyone’s astonishment in the room, 

that cake sold for $1075. 

 Four years later both Connie and Charlie

 were in Sudan filming 

and documenting the spirit, faith, and hardships

 faced by the people in Southern Sudan.  

Who knew buying a cake could get you to Sudan?


In the last five years

 we’ve raised more than $100,000 in our bake auctions.

 And I think hen its natural to say—

well heck that’s a lot of cake, a lot of money. 

 Is it helping? 

 How long are we going to be doing this?  


Which reminds me of 

God and Abraham.  

God calls Abraham, 

promises him the world, 

or if not the world, then descendants 

as numerous as the stars and land—

a promised land.  

Yet that was chapters ago—

and in today’s reading Abraham

 is still tapping his foot 

waiting for God’s promise to be a reality. 

 Abraham is at this point in time

 not particularly overwhelmed with God’s timeliness.  


“Ahhhh—Gracious God

 I did what you asked—

packed up my people—

left my home—

had quite the time convincing my wife—

but here we are.  

Years later—

I’m still without one heir much less countless ones.


God replies, 

“I brought you out of the Chaldeans

—I am the Lord.”  

That’s nice for you O Lord—

but seriously how am I to know that this will be?”


Twenty four years later—

twenty-four years later—

things began to look up.  

After things looked really bad. 

   Sarah at 90 is pregnant and glowing….


The long-haul 

is what  I take from this.  

God and Abraham

 and I hope all of us—

we need to be in it for the long haul.


I’m here to ask you, 

all of us,

 to keep on going

 and slowly moving toward

 the vision of what could be.  

Much has changed in Sudan.  

Elizabeth Lueth—

who we raised money for a surgery, 

sadly, she committed suicide a few years ago.  

She believed she was too sickly for anyone

 to ever want to marry her.  

We weren’t able to fix that.


Still strides have been taken, 

a new country formed, 

schools rebuilt and hopes lifted. 

 Yet it is a place still afflicted.


In the diocese of Renk, 

Bishop Joseph and his people

 are overwhelmed

 with the number of returnees

 streaming to his city—more than 200,000—

heck these folks 

barely had enough resources 

to care for themselves

 before they were flooded with returnees from the North

 and thousands and thousands 

of  displaced persons from—t

he Nuba mountains, South Kordofan, Abiyah.


Abiyah—a border city—

where the oil is in the soil.  

It is a city, not too far from  our friends in Renk, 

where disputes still roar

 they have not yet be allowed to vote—

which of the two countries South Sudan of Republic of Sudan

—they wish to join.  

In the meantime the city has been bombed,

 clinics, schools and places of worship destroyed.  

The inhabitants are fleeing.  Many wind up in Renk.


Bishop Joseph needs us.  

Our partners in Geiger—

we helped build their restaurant.   

We bought the water pump for the garden.  

They need money to finish building the fence

 to enclose that kick-ass garden of theirs.

  $6000 gets them a gorgeous fence

 that keeps out the goats and cattle and other hungry critters.   

 $6000 keeps them fed 

and gives them food 

to cook with at the restaurant. 

 $6000 makes it sustainable.


Then there is 

$3000 for the mid-wives to continue with their incredibly important work

$ 5000 in scholarships for the scripture union kids Sudanese refugees in Uganda

$3500 for Dr. Paul—the medic in Renktown.


That’s $17,500 for the long-haul.  To make a difference.  




Bishop Daniel—the Archbishop said this of his new country,



“I dream of people 

no longer traumatized, 

of children who can go to school, 

of mothers who can attend health clinics

 and the end of poverty and want.”


That’s a dream and a vision

 I want to be a part of.  

Let’s make their hopes, 

    and God’s plan, a reality.




May it come soon

to the hungry

to the weeping

to those who search for your justice,

to those who have waited centuries

for a truly human life.

Grant us the patience

to smooth the way on which your kingdom comes to us.

Grant us hope,

that we may not weary in proclaiming and working for it,

despite so many conflicts, threats and shortcomings.

Grant us a clear vision

that in this hour of our history

we may see the horizon,

and know the way on which your kingdom comes to us. Amen


Copyright Bonnie A. Perry 2013


  1. This Week
  2. Services Times
  3. Contact Us
  4. Sermons
Annual Meeting Jan. 28, 2018: Rector's Address

Annual Meeting Jan. 28, 2018: Rector's Address

Here is a link to download Bonnie's address.

Weekly Message for February 18

Weekly Message for February 18

Dear Friends,    


How much longer will the killing continue? 
Here are some groups and activities you might consider supporting with your time and your money: 
  • The IL Council Against Handgun Violence 
  • Moms Demand Action 
  • Gabby Giffords' PAC 

  • And here's a list of congressional representatives who have received the most amount of money from the National Rifle Association. Apparently they are all praying for the people in Florida directly affected by our country’s latest mass shooting. I invite you to pray for their souls and to drop them a note wondering if God is answering their prayers. Will it make a difference? I don’t know. But, being held hostage by a diabolical association that has convinced our elected officials that it is the God-given, constitutionally-sanctioned right of every American to wander around with a semi-automatic rifle is absurd. Seems like all of us ought to start loudly pointing out this insanity.
    I’ll be at the Moms Demand Action Lakeview gathering on the 24th of February. Let me know if you’d like to come with me. Please let me know what other courses of action you plan to take to end gun violence in our country.
    This evening, All Saints’ will be hosting a gathering for the friends, family, and neighbors of our long-term neighbor John Vanzo at 7:00. Tomorrow morning at 10:30 there will be a visitation in the sanctuary and a memorial service at 11:00 am. All are welcome. 
    I’m super excited that we will finally kick off the All Saints’ Youth Group with an overnight this Saturday. Please RSVP to Hilary Waldron if your 7-12 grade child is planning on attending. 
    Following the 11:00 Worship service we will have a Newcomer’s Brunch at O’Shaughnessy’s at 12:15. Please join us!
    This Sunday, Emily will be preaching, I’ll be celebrating, and our choir will be singing some wonderfully moving Lenten music. It seems like the right time to be praying and repenting. So please come and join me.
    All my best,


    Memorial Service for John Vanzo

    Memorial Service for John Vanzo

    AUGUST 13 2013 11The memorial service for our friend and neighbor John Vanzo will be held at All Saints' this Saturday the 17th, at 11:00 am. There will be a visitation in the sanctuary prior to the service, beginning at 10:30am. All are welcome. 

    On Friday evening, the 16th, we will host a time of conversation and story telling for John's friends and family. All are invited from 7 to 9pm to share a drink, and hear and tell a favorite story of the very many sides of John.

    May John's soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


    Lenten Evening Prayer

    Lenten Evening Prayer

    On Thursdays, February 15-March 22, brief services of Evening Prayer will be offered at 7:00pm, with scripture, poetry, and song. Come find rest for your souls.

    Inquirers’ Class

    Inquirers’ Class

    On Thursdays, February 15—March 22, the Inquirers’ Class will take place in the Reading Room next to the sanctuary. Designed especially but not exclusively for those new to All Saints’ and/or the Episcopal Church, this 6-week series is an exploration of adult spirituality through history, prayer, scriptures, theology, church polity, and more. If desired, it may also serve as preparation for the rite of confirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church in May or June.

    The book we’ll refer to occasionally in the class is called Jesus was an Episcopalian (and you can be one, too!): A Newcomer’s Guide to the Episcopal Church by Chris Yaw. If you’re interested in joining the class, consider getting a copy to look over.

    Contact Bonnie or Emily for more info.

    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!

    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.

    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.