All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

You are the essential Ingredient

Matthew 5: 13
Bonnie A. Perry
February 9, 2014

Na CL—Sodium Chloride.

Salt: historically a substance so valuable that it served as a currency, influenced the establishment of trade routes, and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires and inspired revolutions—thus says historian Mark Kurlansky in his book Salt: A World History.

Salt. Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth."

Michael Ruhlman, a writer and Culinary Institute of America trained chef says, "Salt is a fundamental ingredient in understanding the history of civilization precisely because it enabled us to preserve food,
thousands of years before refrigeration and transportation made food so accessible. It allowed food to travel long distances... Salt was once more valuable than precious metals; men were paid with it. Salt: the only rock we eat." (Ruhleman's Twenty p 18.)

Ruhlman, in his really cool, technical yet accessible cookbook, Ruhleman's Twenty, offers 20 key techniques placed in his perceived order of importance to cooking. The second entry in the book, right after the piece entitled "Think," is the chapter called, "Salt: Your most important tool." For him, learning to salt food is the most important thing a cook can do. (P 18) "Working properly with salt is what makes a cook," says Ruhleman.

"You are the salt of the earth," says Jesus.

The heart healthy gang, over at the American Heart Association, might have wanted him to use a different image, but processed food, and resulting high blood pressure was much less of an issue in those days...

And as all the trendy Sea Salt websites will now tell you, there is a substantive difference between unrefined sea salt in its very many shapes, textures and colors and processed Iodine infused table salt.

But let's go back to what Jesus might have been thinking. Because even though he was the son of God he did not have access to, nor did he read the New England Journal of Medicine.

"You are the salt of the earth."

He says this in is his inaugural address. He has just finished calling his disciples. He has healed some people, and done a bit of road-side preaching. Now, after climbing the mountain, he sits down and he is
laying out his blueprint for our world to come.

He says,
Happy are, blessed are the people who are hopeless
because the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Blessed are people who grieve,
because they will be made glad.
Blessed are people who are humble
because they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are people who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
because they will be fed until they are full.
Blessed are people who show mercy,
because they will receive mercy.
Blessed are people who have pure hearts
because they will see God.
Blessed are people who make Peace
because they will be called God's children.

He lays out his view of how the world can now be and then he says, to everyone on that hill and to us, here and now.

Blessed are you. You are the salt of the earth. The essence, the rock, the mineral that matters more than most anything in this world of ours, you are the salt of the earth.

You are the essential ingredient to embody this hope.

You. You. You.

You are called, you matter, you are made in God's image and likeness. You, beautiful you. Your essence is ultimately what is needed to change this world. To no longer accept this world as it is. You, you you are needed.

Here is the point, hear the point:
God created you, you, you, look in the mirror you are needed to add flavor and hope to this soup of our world, this stew of creation.

Do you have any idea how essential and amazing you are? God does. Jesus calls us now, as we are, to be the key element and primary ingredient to bring hope to the world.

You are the Salt of the earth.

But if you, if we fail to recognize our essentialness, our primacy to God's hope for our world—then what?

Theologian Jurgen Moltman says that the death of the church and I would say of the world is when we succumb to cynicism. Our death, the death of our spirit, happens when we give into cynicism and just accept whatever is—regardless of the consequences.

We will have lost our saltiness, our amazingness when we say in word and deed, this is just the way things are so we might as well just get used to it.

The Beatitudes, call us to envision something more, to see something more, to long for something more, to work for something more.

This work and vision need not be anything more extraordinary and outrageous than realizing again this morning for the first time: That we are Salt of the Earth, we are the essential ingredient. Discovering, honing and using our unique gifts will enable us to be that mineral in the soup, the seasoning in the sauce that makes it sublime and transporting.

We are the Salt of the earth, the essential ingredient to move our families, our communities, our world to places of healing and hope.

You—you are the salt of the earth. The essential ingredient God needs to change it all.


Course Salt—less moisture sensitive, resists caking easily stored, best ground
Finishing salt—moist crystals or delicate flakes—strong crunch and burst of clean, mild, flavor
Fleur de Sel—Caviar of salts—young crystals form of the surface of salt evaporation ponds—weather must be just right to form—only once a year—in the summer
Himalayian pink,--"white gold" together with pure spring water this salt provides all the natural elements exactly identical to the elements in our bodies
Hawaiian sea salt –red clay gives the salt a more mellow earthy taste than regular Black Hawaiien sea salt—activated charcoal—salient flavor enhancing characteristics also helpful in detox diets—looks cool on the table too...
Grey salt—moist unrefined salt—Brittany region—velvet grain perfect for sprinkling over popcorn


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Weekly Message for December 17

Weekly Message for December 17

Dear Friends,    

Tomorrow is our long awaited and much anticipated #HamiltonMeetsJesus Christmas pageant. As I write this note, I remember Fonzi and the writers’ of that beloved 70s TV show, Happy Days, and conclude that this year’s pageant may truly have "jumped the shark." That said, our young people have spent an inordinate amount of time working on this year’s production. Tomorrow you will see that the camel and sheep legislators are busy amending the celestial republic’s founding documents, the shepherds are trying to figure out their new tax bills, the innkeeper offers Joseph some sage advice, “Smile more, talk less,” Mary is adjusting to a new donkey, the archangels have an opening rap that really puts some flesh on the notion of the virgin birth, and King Herod is quite sure that the immigrant Wise Men will be back. All of which is to say, it’s pretty much business as usual for the All Saints’ Christmas Pageant which will be premiering at the 9 and 11 o’clock worship services. 

In the midst of the Hamilton hoopla one truth I hope to offer to all of us is that God, in the infant Jesus, came into this world to show each of us the unending power of love. While Alexander Hamilton and the founding parents of our republic took a step toward liberty and justice, I invite you to remember and hold dear that the real revolution, the true up-ending of our world, comes not through government policy, but through our ability to live our lives in such a way that the love of God is made real in all we do. Please let that revolution begin.

To avoid donkeys, camels, and chaos, attend the 8:00 service and then return for the absolutely amazing Advent and Christmas Lessons and Carols that our choir will be offering at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon. To end a long day at 5:30 we’ll all journey to the back room of O’Shaughnessy’s Pub for Beer and Caroling! At noon—we’ll be serving a light lunch and transforming our sanctuary from Advent austerity to Christmas greenery. Please come and join in any or all the activities that may feed your soul in this season of expectation and birth. 

All my very best to you on this my MOST FAVORITE WEEKEND of the year,


Working Against the Virus of Racism

Working Against the Virus of Racism

kellybdWe are very excited that the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas will be spending a weekend with us this fall, September 23 and 24. Kelly was formerly the Canon Theologian at our National Cathedral. In the fall she will become the first Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School, now located at Union Theological Seminary. We've invited Kelly to spend the weekend with us so that we might again return to our work on confronting racism. Kelly is an amazing preacher and theologian and we are beyond honored that she is making time in her incredibly busy schedule to be with us. Look for more details in the next few weeks on the spirituality and theology that we will be exploring together. 

In the event that you find yourself looking for some interesting summer reading, here are some books she has suggested we investigate: HomecomingThe Color of Law, and one by Kelly called Stand Your Ground. She also suggested that watching 13th on Netflix would be helpful.

Racism is an issue that we are called to confront and challenge and end. It is not something that will just die a gentle death. Our hope is that with our time with Kelly and one another, we may again return to this important work. 

All Saints' Book Club

All Saints' Book Club

midnightFall Reading List Selected

The All Saints Book Club has defined its reading list through the fall. 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:

  • August 10 - "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" by John Berendt
  • September 14 - "Operation Breadbasket" by Martin Deppe (meet in the Reading Room at the church)
  • October 12 - "Saints and Villains" by Denise Giardina
  • November 9 - "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson
  • December 14 - Pick your own poetry book and share favorite poem(s)

For additional information, contact Mike Burke (

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 

This OLD Church

This OLD Church

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.
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.