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


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Dear Friends,

Tomorrow afternoon I'll hit a milestone that astonishes me. I'm honored to be officiating at Kate Gannett and Jamison Merrill's wedding. Katie was one of the five or six little ones who were here at All Saints when I first arrived almost 25 years ago. She was five years old... Now she's working on a graduate degree at Johns Hopkins. She and Jamison met while working in South Africa.

So much has changed since then and yet this community of faith, although much bigger (and heaven knows our building looks much better), retains the same "let's just give this a try and see what happens" spirit. Back then we had Clyde Propst and a few dedicated church school teachers who were willing to give their time to be with our young people and let them know that they mattered. Today we still have Clyde Propst, and more than 10 other people, working with and serving our young ones. In addition, one of the little ones from back in the day, Hilary Waldron, now facilitates our incredibly active 7-12 grade youth group. Taking young people seriously can make a huge difference in their lives! I am so grateful to our nursery, church school teachers, and youth group advisors. Thank you for all that you do and give.

This weekend, in addition to Kate's wedding, I'll be getting my sermon ready for Sunday and anticipating our amazing end-of-the-church-school-ice-cream social. 

Colin and the choir will be creating some lovely music and Emily will be catching some time away after an incredibly packed Spring!

I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday!

All the best,


The last few Sundays of our church school year are quickly approaching:

Sunday, June 18th - The Annual Ice Cream Social when church school hosts coffee hour and what's better than ice cream! There will be a variety of ice cream flavors and many possible toppings for do-it-yourself Sundaes served on the lawn in front of the church. Children help with set up serve (and eating!) ice cream, and clearing away the debris

The rest of June and July - Although Sunday school classes do not meet at 10 during the summer, Atrium I will continue to be open during the 9 o'clock service until the end of July. Atrium I children who attend the 11 o'clock service will be welcome in the nursery during the service.

At 10 o'clock children are encouraged to come help water, weed and harvest vegetables from the garden we're planting to support the Ravenswood Services Community Kitchen.


redbirdUnderstanding Vocation in a Complex World

Parishioner Liz Futrell and her colleague Kate Rademacher both work in international public health with a focus on trying to increase access to contraception for women in developing countries. Both women feel a sense of vocation in this work. However, with birth control remaining a controversial topic in the political and religious landscapes, understanding this work as a vocational calling can raise challenging questions. Liz and Kate will talk about how their work intersects with their faith. Kate will read from her new memoir about her recent conversion to Christianity, and Liz will read from a piece about her career path that's been included in a new anthology of women's stories.

Discussion will take place Sunday, June 25, during coffee hour. There will be time for open discussion and the group will be invited to share their experiences and thoughts about discernment and understanding vocation.


revelationsMonday nights at 7:30, Beginning July 10

Bible study is back! If the current U.S. presidency and administration is causing you to wonder if we're living in "apocalyptic times," then studying the Book of Revelation is perfect for this summer's Bible study! The Monday nights for this, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. (6 to 7:15 p.m. for dinner beforehand at O'Shaughnessy's), are July 10, 17, 24 and 31.

Your "tour guide" on this journey will be parishioner Jerome Wilczynski. Jerome holds a Master's degree in Systematic Theology and New Testament from Catholic Theological Union, and a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. He is Associate Professor/Core Faculty in the department of Counselor Education and Supervision at Argosy University, Chicago. The point of our study will be to de-mystify this all too often misunderstood text from Scripture. The main commentary Jerome will use to assist us in unearthing the rich symbolism of this book will be Wilfrid Harrington's Revelation from the Sacra Pagina series, in case you want to buy it—but don't feel you have to.


Summer Lineup Selected
The All Saints Book Club met on May 11th and decided on a lineup of books for the next year. The book club is open to anyone who enjoys reading. The meetings start at 7:30 PM usually at the home of a member. The locations and further details are on our Facebook page
Here is the schedule for the next several months:
  • July 13 -  "The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson
  • August 10 - "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" by John Berendt
  • September 14 - "Operation Breadbasket" by Martin Deppe
  • For additional information, contact Mike Burke (


    Individual Actions Towards Racial Equality

    Volunteer Opportunities, Events, and Recommendations

    (re)imagining: Racial Justice Summit Sponsored by YWCA Evanston/North Shore:

    Thursday, April 6 from 6 - 8 pm
    Friday, April 7 from 9 am - 4 pm
    Unitarian Church of Evanston
    1330 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL
    Goal: "To bring people of all ages and demographics together to deepen their understanding of their own racial identities, develop skills to work for change, formulate action plans and engage with others."

    For Information and Registration, click here

    "The Scottsboro Boys" at Porchlight Theater through March 12th
    A musical production that is getting rave reviews, "nominated for 12 Tony Awards, and presented in the style of the notorious "minstrel show", this true-life story of nine African American teenagers accused and put on trial in Memphis for a crime they did not commit is one America's most notorious episodes of injustice; inaugurating a wave of social changes leading up to the modern Civil Rights Movement."

    For information and ticket prices, click here

    Suggested reading, non-fiction: 
    Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson, January, 2017

    This book has been described as "...a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted."

    Recommended as a "companion piece to the film rather than a stand-alone book." One reviewer recommended "seeing the film first, and then using the book for meditation and revisiting afterward."

    Volunteer opportunity: GROWING HOME "We have a vision of a world of healthy people and communities. Everyone deserves to have a good job, and everyone deserves to eat well." Since 2002, Growing Home has trained and employed and, most importantly, given a second chance to people with employment barriers. You may be familiar with their Wood Street farm in Englewood. Their farms are the first and only USDA-certified organic high-production urban farms in Chicago, and because they strive to also feed their community well, all their produce is grown, harvested, cleaned, and sold within a 20-mile radius. Read more at

    Volunteer opportunity: Non-profit Reading In Motion has successfully refined its mission over its 30+ years to help give kindergarten and first grade students foundational reading skills they need to start on a path for lifetime learning. They partner with public school teachers and have been extremely successful in making a difference in children's lives. Click here for more info.


    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!

     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!


    Jeff Lee
    Dear Polly and All Saint's Kids,
    I am writing to you from a meeting of the board of Episcopal Relief & Development in Bogota, Columbia. We are meeting here to visit some of our partner ministries with people in need. I have seen the amazing results of this year's bake sale (in fact, I'm looking at photos of some of the cakes - wow!), and you have reminded me that we don't have to travel to Columbia or South Sudan to make a huge impact for the good of God's people.
    I am so proud and grateful for you and the work you do. You guys are heroes. Our friends in South Sudan will be blessed by your effort.
    In Christ,
    Jeffrey D. Lee
    Bishop of Chicago

    Sundays at 10am

    The phrase Imago Dei means the Image of God. Specifically, the image of God as it is found in humanity. The image of God in us - it is what makes us spiritual people - valued as whole and complete. What does it mean to creatively live as whole people? How do we live in relationship with others - respecting and sharing one another's security and one another's discomfort?

    Join us on Sunday mornings between services as we figure out together how to help one another take practical responsibility for living in this world - especially as racial and spiritual beings.

    True - our time will be uncomfortable because it will mean talking about race, violence, personal helplessness, and personal failure. Also true - this will be comforting and supportive because it will mean getting to be honest, practicing together, and caring for one another.

    Every week we will ask one another "What have you done in these past 7 days with who you are and within your sphere of influence when it comes to the realities of race?" the answers will be different for each person and it won't be a competition. We will be lifting up the everyday choices we make and don't make. Sometimes we will like what happens and sometimes we won't.

    And - we will be doing it together.

    The Middle Eastern refugees and immigrants served by the Iraqi Mutual Aid Society were deeply moved by the notes of welcome from All Saints. We shared them at our community lunch on Thursday, and now they will hang in our conference room to remind people of your warm welcome in the days to come. Thanks!

    Laura Youngberg

    breadbakersSignup online to bake for a month

    Calling all bakers! If you love the smell of fresh-baked bread filling your kitchen, please consider signing up to bake communion bread for our services. This involves a one-month commitment that you'll share with another baker, and you can do all your baking at once and add to the reserves in our freezer.

    Signing up is easy, just click here for our page on Signup Genius and reserve your favorite month.

    Contact Jennifer Simokaitis, or Anne Ellis if you have any questions.

    Yard Signs Available 

    Grow Community has created yard signs for anyone who would like to display support for our local public high schools. Signs and sign holders are available in the Reading Room.



    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.


    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.

    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.

    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.


    tinaParishioner, Tina Tchen, accepts Bishop Maryann Budde's invitation to preach at the National Cathedral Sunday, May 8. Click here to see the video.


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

    1883 Construction web 

    This week’s stories of the bell tower: The beams and posts in the bell tower are being filled with epoxy and fungicide to prevent future insect damage and to restore their strength and integrity. Here are some photos of the work currently taking place. Everywhere you see white is where the post or beam is being rebuilt, restored and protected.
    The blue hue in the photo is from the tarp surrounding the bell tower enabling Ron Young and his crew to continue working in the dropping temperatures.

    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.


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    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.